The sidewalk was a blurring collection of ivory, thin black cracks, and occasional light where the sun kneaded. Her glances darted down to make sure that it wasn’t sudden gray road, but her head fixed on a point between the middle of appearing houses and ground. That addictive, honeysuckle-fed air tasted and felt magnificent. It was here that her thoughts about which game to rent next, why her grandmother was ailing, and how to apologize to her sister could float unhindered by the immediacy of the situation. Also, the wind bore her body gently as if to say, “Nothing is more important than this.”
Rapid patterns of color whisked by the corners of her eyes, heightening the experience to summer-charmed bliss. In her direct vision lay the quiet ripple of suburbia. She knew most of the inhabitants of each house, dogs napping on porches, and peers lounging on the couch in air-conditioning or already at the park’s blatant sunshine.
It all fell apart on one crack.
She felt the initial jostle and it shook her core, snatching her balance and charging her forward. And with hands failing the handlebars, the bike was pushed away by her body weight like a baseball player sliding into home. Wild and helpless, she put everything into her knee to avoid destroying her face or much softer stomach. It took time to register the unruly pain while she whimpered in a fetal position right in front of the Tuckers’ house.
There would be no glance this time, for the sight of real blood made her head hurt. Instead, she breathed slowly in and more slowly out and started yelling for help. As it was right before lunch and in the dead of vacation season, not many neighbors were home.
What should have been two hours were merely two minutes before Mrs. Tucker peeked outside, then ran. She stood over her in perfumed radiance, stroking her shoulders and letting her know it would be fine once consciousness and emotions were evident. Quickly lifting her up, the older woman aided her limp into the house for washing, disinfecting, and wrapping. During the healing process, she peeked at her wound which was broken almost to the bone. An entire chunk of her was gone, damaged and awaiting repair. She learned to limp with the bandage quite nicely, once her mom appeared.
“My baby! Thank you, Mrs. Tucker!” The two women chatted very amicably for more minutes, and she was brought home for TV and rest.
Gazing out of the window and stroking her new puppy, she cried softly at the lingering pain and also the fact that she hadn’t broken anything. Her skin had exploded onto the pavement, digging out these fears, and also making her life strangely beautiful.
“This is only a taste of what’s to come,” her knee whispered in black and dark red mixture, covered by ointment. She fell asleep to the sound of her radiant, speeding wind and dreamt of adventure.