Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Origin Story

At Saint Andrew the Apostle the bells ring first for those with bikes—it's 2:50—I vault across the playground to the rack and swiftly pull my ten-speed and hop on and head southwest to the exit and hang a sharp right onto Arcola Avenue and here's the first hill in the sun past the woods on the right and I pump hard and climb toward the energy-leveling-off point that I must keep for the mile home the woods on the right blur and at the crest I smile because the first downhill comes now zooming past houses and quick looks right and left fly over Orbaugh past the sign for the Wheaton Regional Park district and I know behind there back there is Lee Middle School but I can't think of girls now I'm head-down and pumping as Arcloa levels out and it's a pretty straight shot now past the weird color-block mod Goodman homes on the right and the sun's pretty hot now and I'm sweating and shoot past Channing Drive and the trees begin to shade a little and Nairn Road approaches and the cool dark of the Wheaton Regional woods the swallowing dark but I can't think of that now because the second and biggest the mythic hill the Mythic Hill approaches now at the intersection of Arcola and Nairn and here's where the bit of danger comes though I don't think of the word danger just a cold splash in my chest I shoot a quick glance left and man I hope there are no cars I've got a record to beat and Arcola's clear so I swing the bike across the street and back onto the sidewalk to take on the hill and I pump and pump head down and hit the top leg-tired and huffing past Susan J's house but I can't think about her now because I'm almost home and best of all? I'm at the top of The Hill and now it's a fast glide down to the bottom past the weird garage mechanic's house with the half-assembled cars out front but I can't think about that now because at the level-out I've got a little more to go and there I swing a hard left onto Amherst Ave and it's one two three four houses and I'm home and down goes the bike in the front and I run inside into the air-conditioned cool dash into the kitchen check the clock—2:58—not bad and it's downstairs for Captain 20 and cartoons and here really is where it all began: challenging lonely journeys from A-Z.

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