Literature

The Red Bike Encounter

The typical school day had come to an end, and it seemed auspicious for me to return home. As widely tired (not to mention hungry) as I was, I had declined the friendly invitation of my usual companions to hang out after our lessons were over. An act that, although unusual, they decided not to argue against. And off I’d go, with only the wind and the sun as my present companions.

Back in the day, I used to ride my elder brother’s bike to pretty much everywhere. It was this sheeny crimson thing that he hardly, if ever, had bothered to ride himself. So I took it upon myself to give it some use, even if I had to “borrow it” under sketchy circumstances.

It was worth the hassle though, for the piece was kind of a looker. At least that’s what I thought given the couple of heads that’d turn whenever I rushed by along the streets. Or was it me and my ridiculous pedalling that made them have a second glance? I shall never know.

It’s not like I cared anyways. What mattered to me was going places, and my loaned friend got the job done. It also helped that being on a bike gave me a bit more freedom than hopping in a regular transport did. And this freedom I used to feel my surroundings, allowing nature to open up to me and giving myself room to get lost in thought.

But being pensive isn’t good when riding a bike, and I’d learn this the hard way.

Suddenly after, my pedalling came to a halt. I stood in shock for a couple of seconds before regaining my composure. Only after a brief pause did I realise what happened: I had hit something.

I sheepishly hoped for it to be anything but a person. People are just too complicated to deal with, and I knew that none of the arguments I could give would favour me in this situation.

Then I saw him.

Tall. Brunette. Black hoodie and matching trousers. Eyes closed. By book definition: a young man.

But not any kind of young man. This was a guy who had most likely been walking peacefully along the street without expecting to be hit. And now here he was. In front of me. Laying down in what appeared to be an unconscious state.

Naturally fear arose, but I knew better than to go around panicking. I was now responsible for this person and, letting go of my mount, I rushed out to his aid. Carefully, I approached him. To my fortune, he looked fine. Or as fine as someone that was just hit by a bike can look. But I couldn’t risk it. I knew looks can be deceiving during accidents, and the fact he had not opened his eyes just yet was particularly concerning. Thus, I tried to get a better view of the fallen soldier.

Although the lesser the distance, the higher my anxiety, for this presently knocked out guy was quite handsome.

My inspection began with the touch of his forehead. No signs of fever seemed to loom about, so I moved on to his chest. I nervously placed my ear over his heart area and heard the calm beatings of a healthy organ. This gave me a little more comfort to keep on looking at him. And the more I saw, the more assured I became of his recovery. But I knew I had forgotten something important: checking out his respiration. This omission that had been intentional though, because I didn’t want to get that close to his face. Yet I knew I’d have to at some point and, by now, it was time.

So there I was, face to face with this guy. My lips just a few inches away from his. My natural shyness inciting a blush. But just as I was about to contemplate his breathe his eyes bolted open, revealing in the process the greenest eyes I had ever seen.

We gazed at each other in perplexity, letting the moment abide in silence. But soon enough he’d break that spell and, in a quick forward movement, he stole away one of my kisses. I allowed his lips to tenderly play with mine until it dawned upon my judgement that I should stop. And pulling away, I stood up.

“Aww,” he coyly said, “didn’t like it?” “No,” I replied a little irritated by his question, “I wasn’t expecting a kiss from someone I just hit.” Standing up and dusting himself off, he said, “It was unusual, yes. I’m sorry.” I warmed up to his words, and, smiling a bit, consented to his pleas by means of a handshake.

His hand, albeit shaky, had a firm hold. He was now looking like the fit young man he was meant to be. I took this as a hint that I should leave. After all, I didn’t want to cause have any more issues involving this boy. But his stare appeared to be hesitant in allowing a premature departure. And so he said, “I know this might sound weird, but would you like to hang out?”

I was a bit shocked that he had asked that. Maybe something had really gone over his head and now he was babbling nonsense. Yet, something about the way he had asked this made it feel genuine. And I guessed that hanging out might help to put this whole first meetup behind us. Thus, I agreed.

He pulled out his phone and asked for my number, only remembering to ask me for my name after pressing the last digit. “Carrie,” I said, to which he responded with a whispered beautiful. “I’m James,” he revealed right after, “and I must tell you, it’s the first time I meet a girl like this.” “Oh, really? I’m afraid that in my case you’re the third boy I ran into this week,” I teasingly remarked.

We laughed for a bit and then waved an awkward goodbye. We sort of wanted to keep on talking, but considering the situation, it was best to let go. It seemed that we’d get another day to properly talk anyways. And hopefully no red bicycles would get involved once the time had to come.

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