A New Year's Walk - A Little Revelation

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“Speaking of which, why do you like biking so much?” I ask, she piqued my curiosity, some frail looking girl, biking this early in the morning, kind of unusual isn’t it?

“Well I like to see the sights, no matter how boring they are” she finishes her pancakes with a final bite and clutches her, probably barely warm by now, tea in her dainty little hands. I’ve finished my waffle earlier, like, by the time she was halfway through her food.

“And it feels good, I feel free, the wind, the sun, the sights and smells of it all” she adds

“Besides…” her tone lowered, and she started avoiding eye contact all of the sudden, she instead decided to look out the window, in to the streets which were starting to fill with early morning commuters.

“I- I…” I feel bad about bringing this up

“I don’t feel so alone when I bike”

Oh dear.

“Umm, if you don’t mind me asking, why is that?” I dare ask, I was in too deep. Go big or Go Home assholes.

“Well…” she sets the cup back down after a sip and starts her story. For some reason, I found myself, rather, interested.

“Back- back then I was a bit, sheltered. My parents, were over protective” she said, she sounded down, I don’t know why I’ am asking her this, I feel terrible.

“Uh, I’ am sorry about bringing this up, let’s just-” I attempt to change the subject, but she cut me off.

“I’d rather say it, I want, I want to get it off my chest.” She answers, I respect her decision, and so I let her proceed.

“I was frail, and clumsy, I could fall over while standing still” she wraps her arms around herself, perhaps she was trying to comfort herself.

“They rarely let me out the house, and on the times they do, it was only for school or social gatherings” she says “So I never really had friends, except for a couple of family friends”

“They had a lot of work too, so I was usually alone at home, with a sitter, she was my one and only friend for a good while. She kept me company, she told me stories about all the things I couldn’t do, when I was nine she taught me how to ride my bike but then…”

Oh shit

“But then she died, I was eleven, and my parents thought I was old enough to be by myself, I wasn’t. I had accidents, lots of ‘em, cuts, bruises, burns, and broken limbs. It was an awfully boring experience too…”

She looked somber, I never could have imagine a bright, cheery girl could be this sad. Her face says it all, she was holding back tears.

“Books never caught my attention, nothing but television, usually on documentary shows, I’ve watched shows about Annie “Londonderry” Cohen, the first woman to bike around the world, back in 1895.”

I’ am starting to see where this is going.

“Are you ok?”

“Ye-yes, I think so” she wipes her eyes with her hand, and picks up her cup.

“Anyway, after that, I found my old bike in the garage, it was broken and basically, you can’t even ride it anymore. I found an old handyman’s book, and I fixed it up, got it running, and snuck out.”

“You what?”

“I snuck out, my parents wouldn’t have me biking all over the place. I’d make alibis, I’d go out at five to five thirty, and I’d say I was taking a bath. I’d bribe our neighbor to tell my parents that I was sleeping or studying, and they never figured is out, or maybe they did.” She said with a giggle, I sure hope she was back to being happy, she looks pitiful when she’s sad, as if being sad was already ingrained upon her pretty, fragile little face.

“But in those years, I’ve never felt as alone as I did in my home…” she looks out the window once again, and I can see a single tear roll slowly down her cheek, I follow her gaze.

An empty street, at this time, there should be people, but there isn’t any, it felt, just that, empty, just the two of us, and Mike, if he’s still there, but I’ve never felt this tingling sensation, some sort of warmth.

Perhaps it was sympathy, but then again, maybe not.

So I do the only ethically correct thing, I picked up a napkin, and wiped her face.

As if by reflex, she jolts and reaches for my hand as soon as it touches her face, she then looks at me with a surprised look on her face, I think she looked surprised, or maybe scared, or creeped out, I don’t know.

“Wh-what are you-”

“Relax, I’ am just wiping it off”

She clutches my hand tight and looks away. “I- I’ll get it” and then she swipes the napkin from my hand, she wipes her cheek and crumples the tissue, and puts it aside.

A few moments, a few silent moments have passed, and I don’t know what to do. Should I offer her more food? I dunno.

“You want to eat out the sad?” I ask her, perhaps food will cheer her up, it always works for me.

She quietly nods and I stand, and walk to the counter. With no Mike in sight, I gently call for him.

“Mike! Get your ass out here” Subtlety is one of my strong points. After placing my order and Mike actually working, I get the food and walk back, after talking him into leaving it on my tab, which has probably racked up a huge amount by now.

She was staring blankly down at the table, I’ am not sure if she was crying while I was gone, but she certainly didn’t leave.

“Here” I set the plate in front of her, she looks up at me and nods.

She was silent, after a few moments however, she breaks the silence herself.

“Uhh, sorry about that, I think I needed to get it out of my system”

“I think there might still be some left”

“Yeah, there’s still a bit left.”

She leans on her elbow on the table, she looked more bored than sad now, but I can’t help but feel sad just by looking at her expression.

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