Bicycle, 04

When I was younger, my mom had a bike. I thought it was even cooler than Dad’s. Bright blue with yellow and orange on it. Whenever I was allowed to ride it, I felt so cool. I felt like I was the coolest kid around.

Over Thanksgiving of 2010, I worked on that bike. Weeks ago, I saw the same frame and realized it was a Peugeot–a name that I had come to recognize meant “good bike.” Dad and I mounted it on a stand and cleaned it. We got rid of the years of dirt and oil. We sprayed fresh, slick oil on the chain. We raised the seat and the handlebars. We retrued the wheels, tightening spokes and loosening others.

Mom came out and looked at the bike. She then told me the story about when she got it.

Not long after Ida became a wife and Peter became a husband, they became parents. Nine months after their wedding, my brother was born. Their wedding had been spawned not by the pregnancy, but by a desire to have a family.

Mom had written on her calendar “Mom’s birthday.” She meant her own mother, but my dad misunderstood. He went out and bought her the bike.

“When you find someone like that,” Mom said to me, looking at my father, “keep him.”

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