Birthday 7 haunts me like the bzzzzz of an angry dentist’s drill.
That day’s dream was a red bike with handlebars like a Texas longhorn.
That day’s truth was a backside whuppin’ for a now unremembered 7-year-old’s stunt.
Remembering the whuppin’, that’s the easy part, a broad, strop-like belt
Artfully wielded over my underpants clad bottom,
Accompanied by screaming and anger and searing emotions.
Other birthday memories have come and gone from those early years
But none remain where I can reach.
I got the bike. But, birthday parties fade only to that single day in May.
The reality of the bike’s ride was as good as I’d dreamed.
And ride I did throughout the town and into the places I didn’t know
Where I found that the going was better than the getting there.
And…oh, I discovered the coolest thing ever, adrenaline.
On a sunny day, less than a month from the infamous birthday,
I was reaching new heights of airborne prowess and speeds
Previously unknown or even imagined in my adrenaline soaked brain.
Suddenly in mid-jump, my bike betrayed me and went in a direction
Quite opposite of where I’d intended while my body stayed obediently
Ballistic stopping abruptly on the edge of a newly poured concrete curb.
And then, I discovered pain. Pain like no other I’d known and without end or ebb.
Gathering up my wounded bike I sobbed my way
Through neighbors’ yards telling them all was okay and my arm was not broken.
All night I lay in agony with the throbbing, searing pain
Bemoaning the betrayal of that evil red Schwinn and wondering
How I could modify its obviously flawed design
Into something worthy of my derring-do.
Next day’s doctor’s visit
Added a plaster cast with metal brace, and,
A story to my life.