The Bicycle Race

Jim Meirose

The green summer apples litter the grass within the long U shaped driveway, all loose gravel, all dirt and stone.  Off you go in the sun, four of you racing around the gravel driveway, cutting in and out, sliding the corners, pedaling fast. Gravel is flying; dust kicks up; slamming slapping spinning sliding wheels. Fast, faster. At once the wheels tangle; two bikes go over in the curve of the U.  You’re thrown off; over the handlebars; your face hits the gravel; your face slides, slides. You stop, roll over and lie there. The jagged frame of your broken glasses juts into your brow. Bloody; bloody. One side of your face is ripped bloody. You stumble home—you are alone. In the snow white bathroom, you stand, bloody; bloody towels; bloody rags, red; all red. When Father arrives, you come out in the kitchen. Your good side is to him.

“Hello,” he says, taking off his coat. You turn slowly around, and he sees; seeing, his eyes pop wide, wider—he says “Jesus Christ, good God, son, what—what’d you do?”

A pause; locked eyes; more words; he yells with fists clenched; his eyes.

“What, in God’s name, did you do?”