I stand up and stretch my back. It’s sore from the weight and how I’ve been bent, scrambling up the steep pile of rocks along the side of the mountain. For the first time, there are no trees behind me and suddenly I feel vulnerable. I turn around and the world lays itself out in front of me, with rocks and mountains, trees and silver streaks that cut through it all. A lake nestled between two mountains. The world disappearing into the sky.
“I don’t eat ice cream,” I say to the an behind the counter.
“That’s okay,” he says. “God made all the kinds of people, and I made all the kinds of ice cream.”
He hands me a cup with something vegan inside.
The inheritance came through. I thought about tithing it. I knew I ought to. Ten percent to a charity–to help people the way she helped people. I could invest the rest, have savings. Selfishness, fear, took over. My minimum monthly loan payment dropped from $650 to $450 with a few transfer agreements of things that never seemed real.
This is what death looks like.
“My kid’s birth date. That’s what they all are, my kids’ birthdays in binary.”
“Do they like them?”
“Each one is in their favorite color, and they helped me pick the typeface. They think it’s cool.”
The above conversation took place at 7:53am, between strangers, on bicycles.
Thoughts on a solo bike-a-thon.
Asking a volunteer to pin my number on to the back of my dress.
Balancing my bike against one leg, using an arm to steady it. The other foot holds down the air pump, which I work one handed.
Leaving my bike on the grass, thinking no one will steal a bike with a number.
Hearing the pollen fall.
The rolling cycle of intense emotions and understandings that come with being alone, alone with nowhere to be except your physical space and inside your head, for hours.
Going home without a photo at the end of ride.
Leaving when I am done.