I wheeled it out of the garage and took a long look at its cushy black seat and banana handlebars. I ran a hand over its shiny basket.
It was dusty, and a tire was flat.
There were some scrapes on its pink body, and the rims of the tires were cracking.
It was the bike I rode the year I lived in Arizona.
That was the year I learned to be me.
That year I rode it miles and miles between home and campus. I rode it to yoga school. I rode it to eat pita bread and feta at my favorite restaurant. I rode it when I didn’t know a soul but was hoping to change that.
I rode it to classes on Shakespeare and short stories and Paradise Lost.
I rode it to new friends’ houses, and parties, and my boyfriend’s house.
I rode it during rain storms and the hottest summer you’ve ever seen.
I rode it past palm trees and road construction.
I rode it while I learned to make a community of people from a group of strangers.
I rode it while I learned to be independent. How to take deep breaths when I needed them. How to take care of myself when I was alone.
Once I rode it while crying. Several times I rode it while laughing.
I rode it while figuring out that how a man looks on paper has nothing to do with what kind of person he is. That a long list list of credentials has no sway on whether or not he’s going to love you.
I rode it while I figured out (joyfully) that the one I’d loved all along really was the right one for me.
And then I graduated. And I packed up my things and tied my tired pink bike to the top of my car and drove home to the snow, and hills, and David. And it has sat for 6 years.
David bought me a new bike for our neighborhood. It is smooth and fast and dreamy as an orange soda in August. It has gears and strong tires. I ride it very fast and smile every time I do. And even though my pink bike has sat alone, I just couldn’t let it go.
Yesterday I learned my neighbor needed a bike. And I knew it was time to say goodbye.
Yesterday I gave my old bike away.
And as she wheeled away that year of history and growth and tears
(can you blame me?)