It’s true, I had an interest in speed. To see how fast I could go. I was no daredevil but neither was I a Nervous Nelly or Timid Timmy.

Gavin, my friend that lived on a lot behind our house on Fir, in a house trailer with his single mother, had a bicycle. I thought it would be a fun thing to race his bicycle down the hill beside our house. We could take turns, I would go first, to demonstrate my skill. His mom was over visiting my mom so Gavin and I were just hanging out while they sipped coffee and visited, both talking at the same time, the way that women do.

Gavin thought my idea was a good one and even though the bicycle belonged to him, he agreed that I could go first. I hopped on, pushed down hard on the peddle to make the gravel spit out beneath the back tire and off I went. Of course I was an expert cyclist, having once bought and paid for my own bicycle from my Star Weekly earnings, when I was in the fifth grade.

I wheeled out of our driveway, hung a left onto the top of the hill and cranked hard on the peddles. Down I sped, faster and faster, the wind in my hair as I leaned forward over the handlebars like a speed racer. On one side was Mr. Bunker’s yard (my shop teacher) and on the other was the wooden pole fence that kept a neighbors animals penned in. The road was a bit bumpy but reasonably well kept. I was preparing to slow as the bottom of the hill approached quickly when the front tire grabbed hold of an unseen rut in the road, halting progress instantly and launching me over the handlebars like a human projectile. I bounced and tumbled and slid along the gravel and pebbles, shredding my favorite blue beachcomber pants and inflicting excruciating road rash on half my body. After coming to rest and realizing I was still alive, I righted myself, lifted Gavin’s not too damaged bike onto its wheels with one hand and with the other tried to hold together my shredded pants as I made my way manually back up the hill to home.

I was cut and bruised and must have looked like a squashed raspberry as I clung to my bottoms trying my best to cover my exposed underwear. I explained my calamity to my mother, as I sought her medical assistance. Gavin’s mother, inexplicably thought my predicament was funny and she laughed at my misfortune, humiliating me even further.

Gavin and I remained friends and were even allies in the Pinecone Wars, which I will tell you about later.

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