Back in the 7th grade, living in the bad part of town, I was affiliated with a group of kids from school colored bad all around; the kind of kids that weren’t better off at all; the kind of kids that you see wandering the malls for the better part of the evening looking for an arcade to pass the time. It was another form of day care for their parents, if they even had any.
“Look what I got,” announced Samson, showing off the watch that illuminated from his wrist. We hung out at the soccer fields after school lying about the girls we’ve kissed and hearts we’d broken. I had convinced everyone once that I had a girl back in Paris that wanted to get married. I left her waiting for me at the train station though. Today, it seems, we were having a competition to see who stole the coolest thing. “It’s my older brother’s watch but he thinks he lost it. I’ma pawn it later for some cash.”
“Well check this out,” steps up Mario, “A 2L pop I just stole from the Domo gas station!”
“Oh yeah, look what I got,” David called. We all turn our heads to see him with an old lady walker. “Some lady hurt her ankle and fell over leaving this unguarded. Best part is she couldn’t even stop me from taking it from her. Now all my weight rest solely on my arms allowing my legs a break from gravity’s dominant reign.” Like I said, bad all over.
“You got nothing right?”
“Not again! You’re lame!”
“Oh I got something!” I fought, looking around for some ideas. Then, like heaven sent, there it was, lying by the white painted goal post, a yellow bicycle, ownerless, lockless. Out of all the soccer fields in all the world, it had to ride into mine. “That bicycle right there! I’ma steal that!”
“Yeah! Do it. Do it!” My people command me!
I walk up to her, still shiny and new. “Hello there, what’s your name?”
*bicycle bell rings*
“Isla? Well that’s a pretty name. You wanna go for a ride with me?”
*bicycle bell rings*
“shhhh. speak not of your past. Let’s just focus on you and I, now.”
And away we went; the yellow bicycle, me and the wind in my hair. I didn’t wobble once and for a while there, I thought this two wheel contraption was built for me and no other. I mean, sure it belonged to someone else before, but if they thought a lock was a poor investment for a beautiful thang like this, then they don’t even deserve her! Isla was mine now! My friends praised me. I was on top of the world. I was becoming a man! Yeah right…
What defines a man? Is it based on the opportunities he's willing to seize? Or is it also the opportunities that he's willing to pass over. Think about it.
“That’ll be $35.95 please.” The cashier took my life savings and in return I got $4.05 in change and an unbreakable bike lock.
Down on one knee, I look up at Isla and fitted the lock around her frame. It was the happiest day of my life. “With this lock, I promise never to look at another bike again, let alone ride one. You are my transportation, my support, and my friend. Will you be mine forever?”
*bicycle bell rings faintly*
“You hesitate?” I reach out to give the bell another ring hoping for a cheerier response. Still faint. I can see that her mind was far from here, maybe thinking of her previous deadbeat owner! Or maybe the owner was an innocent soul, too poor to afford a bike lock. And it hits me.
“Samson, what time is it?” I asked.
“Sorry, pawned that already man. Remember? You doubled me there.”
“Sigh...useless!” I find out from a random jogger that it has been 4 hours since I first laid eyes on Isla. 4 fabulous hours.
Swiftly we rode back to the field, with the sun almost gone. I jump off her seat while momentum was still high and watched from the ground I landed on as she ghost rode back to the very spot she was resting earlier. Bike lock and all. She looked so beautiful with that yellow shining in what light was left of this world. Then suddenly a figure emerged from beyond the street light running happily up to Isla as though they had been searching for days.
“Here’s looking at you bike. We'll always have those 4 hours,” I whispered and turned to Samson. “Samson, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
“Shut up you pussy!”
Kenny Vasoli, lead singer of The Starting Line once sang, "He loves you? Who loves you more to let you go?" This of course, refers to a love triangle, two men fighting for one woman. The question is who’s love is strong enough to realize that all parties are suffering here? Who's man enough to make the sacrifice? Sometimes a man is defined by the opportunities he chooses not to take. Heck even Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman to get on that plane with her husband and Humphrey was a playah! Now that’s a real man right there.
Nic Cage as the "Maggot Brain" Cover Model
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