“Two-Wheeling,” Robert Vaughan

by MP

“To the top of Park Lane,” Dad cautions. My neighbor pals and I cycle furiously up the hill. “Stop in front of the Eckbergs,” Dad yells. He’s huffing, puffing, too fat. We stop, wheezing at the top. Turn our bikes to face the hill, traffic whizzes behind us on Penfield Road. The Eckbergs aren’t home; probably at church. We wait for Dad to catch up. “Watch yourself on the way down,” Dad cautions. “Danny, it’s your first time.” “I know, Dad.” I start first, push, roll, pedaling. Rush past the Fabers, zoom past the Whitmores. My raccoon streamers fly horizontally from my handlebars, my Tony the Tiger seat groans. I hear Brad at my heels, so I pedal, pedal, pedal. We zoom closer to our
house at 76.

Mom’s on our porch, and I glance up as her hands fly to her face, see a car pull out from a driveway. I swerve to avoid it and crunch smack dab into our mailbox. Up over the handlebars I go, somersault through the air like an uncoiling slinky, a gymnast, collapsing down in one big clump.

Dad probably said, I told you so. He might have said idiot about the neighbors. I don’t remember. My head swelled into a grapefruit. No broken bones. Through the blood, I said, let’s do it again.