Bike Ride

By Ethan Joella

October 24, 2016

Bike Ride
I don’t remember if I wrapped my hands around my father when he let me ride on the back of his yellow Schwinn or if he gave either of my brothers a turn or what the air smelled like, or if his faded plaid summer shirt flapped in the wind, but I do remember he placed a pillow on the luggage seat rack and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. I do remember watching the beach rental disappear behind me as he pedaled away. I remember wondering if he saw the potholes in the dirt road. I remember fallen pine needles on patio umbrellas and in the water of bird baths. The soft squeak of the bike brakes, the movement of the chain, his long legs going in circles, his muffled voice in front of me commenting on a house’s roof or the brickwork of someone’s patio. I remember trees over our heads whose branches joined each other across the road and the dim evening sky. I remember not caring if we ever got back to the house because my dad never rode bikes, and I was never alone with him like this, and I never talked the whole time because I liked the sound of him, of summer crickets, of the tires over pebbles and sand. The ground that day was so far away when I looked down, no belt or strap to hold me in place, but never, never did I think of falling.


Comments (10) - Post a Comment
Beautiful. I was right there. Nicely done, Ethan.
Ryder Ziebarth at 8:38am EDT - October 24, 2016
"...branches joined each other..."; yes, they did. Moving echo of the central image - a very evocative essay.
Scott Savage at 9:07am EDT - October 24, 2016
I rode every inch of the way with you. I used to put my currently 46 year old son on the back of my bike. I wonder what if anything he remembers. Thanks Ethan. Your beautiful thing is truly beautiful.
Claudia Geagan at 9:12am EDT - October 24, 2016
I barely breathed while reading this. It is glorious. Thank you.
sue granzella at 9:28am EDT - October 24, 2016
Rebe at 9:33am EDT - October 24, 2016
Exquisite imagery, Ethan, that creates an incredible intimacy for the reader to fall into so smoothly. And this: "I was never alone with him like this, and I never talked the whole time because I liked the sound of him". Thank you.
Leah Silverman at 10:06am EDT - October 24, 2016
The pacing is great breathless, full of emotion. What a wonderful, evocative piece!
Katherine Gries at 11:51am EDT - October 24, 2016
Thank you all for the encouraging comments. You made my day.
Ethan J. at 10:13pm EDT - October 24, 2016
Very nice imagery.
Autumn Shah at 2:18pm EDT - October 25, 2016
Ah, that last line. Lovely way to wrap all of this together.
Kathy West at 6:43pm EDT - October 25, 2016

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