Thursday, July 06, 2006

Broken Bike

It had started as one of those arguments about nothing. There really wasn't much arguing, just stony silence. We had just gotten off the middle shift (11 pm) and downtown Minneapolis was buzzing with activity on a warm summer evening. We got on our bikes, and took off for home. She had a thing about going down Sixth Street- it was not as busy as Fifth, but I thought it was a drag- cobblestones, poorly-lit and prone to visits from the "children of the night"- the vagrants and winos who crave the darkness. She veered off, I continued to Fifth.

I had gotten about three blocks down Fifth, approaching the bridge over the railroad tracks when I looked back. She wasn't there. Then I heard the sirens. I turned around and backtracked to Sixth. She was lying on the pavement, her bike lay near her with a twisted rim. The Ambulance had already pulled into the street, a Police car was parked diagonally on the cobblestones- over a mammoth pothole which was probably where she spilled. She was conscious, although dazed, the attendants led her into their vehicle and they were shutting the door as I shouted her name. She looked in my direction but did not connect. I spoke with the officers, they said she would be at HCMC for observation, she could pick up the bike at Police headquarters.

That might have been the beginning of the end for us. I wasn't allowed to see her (we weren't married) and the next day when I did pick her up I could feel the chill. We got the bike, I fixed the wheel, but what little rapport we had in our relationship dwindled. The quarrels and resentment grew too- birth control, a disastrous trip to England, and finally nothing. I thought I'd try my luck elsewhere, and eventually she did leave, at my request.

I thought I could be her man. I never knew what she thought I could be for her. A broken bike, with a bent wheel, going nowhere fast.

By Professor Batty


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