No Hands

confident child riding bike or bicycle

Here is the  possible beginning of a novel i have been working on, though this part is very rooted in my reality.

I’m flying!

A ten-year old cruising down the hill of State Route O in Cosby, Missouri with no hands on the handlebars is flying.

I was free. I didn’t feel that much in the city where I lived, but life in tiny Midwestern town with my grandparents was another world.

Limited control. Approaching intersection. The possibility of wiping out. Speed. Wind. Momentary, total freedom. My tweaked out Schwinn beneath me. My little gang of friends on their bikes beside me. I was flying!

One of the best things about the no hands stunt was the sense of danger that stemmed from very real possibility of wiping out, especially, since I had indeed wiped out in a really big way in the previous year.

Back home in the city, I was cruising hands-free down an even bigger hill that was, unfortunately laden with potholes. I must have I hit one, and was thrown off of the old Schwinn, hitting my head on the black top. I laid there in the street unconscious for an indeterminate amount of time. Probably, it was just minutes, until I was spotted by a compassionate driver who scooped me up and asked where I lived. Though groggy, I was able to feebly indicate which house was my home.

Mothers are masters of the art of overreacting. My mom was in a high speed wobble when the kind man delivered her crumbled son to the front door. My face was a mass of abrasions, and we later found out that the orbit of my right eye was fractured. All I wanted to do was sleep. All Mom wanted to do was keep me awake. She knew that much about concussions. I was getting a little pissed off about the whole thing, until she promised me a bottle of soda pop.

I wound up in the hospital for two days, as my injuries were assessed. I couldn’t believe my face when I looked in the mirror. It was bad. The abrasions turned into scabs. But the big bike wreck had an upside because I looked tough, battle-seasoned. Now I had a really good story to tell to my buddies.

I went on to wipe out a lot in life. When I look back on the series of totally unforeseen personal disasters, it’s hard not to start swearing at people and asking God some pretty intense questions, but I digress. When I was ten, when I was in Cosby with my grandparents, I was free as a bird.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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