there are a lot of things that can happen on a bike.
Need. A short story.
"then it's going to get warmer", she said.
his smile said, "i hope so" in a half-believing way and his posture bent itself forward in an awkward, "have a nice day."
he walked a crooked line across the snow, dodging nothing on the ground and everything in his head.
upon reaching the street, he turned south for no apparent reason. he passed the man selling mangoes, nodded at the girl from his painting class two years ago, and narrowly avoided collision with a shoulder-full of tommy hilfiger pomp. collision...
it was friday afternoon, just before four o'clock. the wind in his face, he was pedaling hard, determined to make it to work on time. passed the car. approached the box vans unloading another load of rice and fish for a diet he knew well. pedaled harder. he began to ring his bell as he passed the first truck. the ringing gave sound to the otherwise white noise of an everyday commute. it's wind in the ears and an occasional horn. he passed the second truck still ringing his bell. what a beautiful red blur he must have been.
"it's not your fault, and i just wanted to make sure that you knew that."
"yes sir." that's what his mouth said, empty of saliva and belief and emotion.
"so i hope you can still enjoy your holidays..." was followed by a longer stream of apologetic and unknowing fare-thee-wells from a stranger who didn't know how to help a man who'd lost his...his...
what's the word?
fresh and green, that traffic light was waiting just for him. he accelerated past the back of the third truck, wondering futilely how much one of those crates of rice must
no more than a second in the air. the man was still breathing, but he was bleeding from his head and his mouth and his hand and why didn't anyone speak english or call an ambulance or do anything other than cluck and chatter and watch the boy struggle?
"SIR! SIR! SIR, ARE YOU AWAKE? SIR! CAN YOU HEAR ME? SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE! SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE!"
he apologized for being late to work, explaining that he had had to walk there after being involved in an accident. yes, he was fine. no, he didn't need to go home. the bike? oh, the bike was still up there, locked to a post just north of dundas, the front wheel too bent to ride and the heart too...
he went away for the holidays and that night, in his parents' home in the country, the phone rang from across innocence and any semblance of belief.
some officer is on the phone. some man just died. some man just became...what? those questions, those emotions, those things to be written in a journal shared with the therapist, they never came. four words came, though, hot in concept and branded on unfeeling skin:
i killed a man.