the last time i rode bicycle was when i was in 7th grade. i remember everything so vividly. so visibly clear that sometimes im amazed at how my memory houses things i no longer want to remember. things i no longer have. things i can never have.
it was a secondhand bicycle. yellow from head to toe. so yellow that one could vomit at first sight. the yellow similar to that vomit. ugly yellow. the ugly yellow bicycle one could easily feel embarrassed of riding to school.
back in school at the cycle stand it would be the first one to catch everyones attention. among all those similar colored bicycles i fail to recall now. they were all same. or looked same from afar. thats what singularity does to you. your flaws scream from distance. youre made to look distant. youre made to look different.
and it wasnt just its apparent ugliness. it was awful. it was terrible. it was awfully terrible. many a times i had to walk back home because of its punctured tire. many a times because of its broken chain. thats what secondhand things do to you. they make you feel deprived. of newness. they make you comfortable with the feeling of being deprived. my parents thought it was perfect. prefect to them is when things serve their purpose. irrespective of the circumstances they put you in.
it has taken me to several places. apart from school. to a friends house. to market. to wherever i wanted. it was the first freedom i had. my first autonomy. it would take me to places my friends waited for suitable time and someone to take them to. it became everything my friends waited for. my commute. my suitable time. my defense. my comrade. my someone.
sometimes i would buy myself ice cream on my way back home from school. sometimes i would change my routes. often to save time. at times just to linger a bit more. my body got accustomed to it. it was conditioned to it mechanically. it feels its absence now. and its a different kind of absence. the palpable sense of emptiness. of detachment. and disassociation. tinged with grief and bitterness of the years i dont want to look back at.
the first thing i have planned to do once i leave this place is to buy a bicycle. and ride it. to compensate all the years i couldnt ride. that has become my freedom prayer. my wish list and everything i plan to give my life for. i reckon i attach sentiments to things i know wont last. but thats how i create space in my heart. i keep putting things inside of it to make it learn love without giving up. without asking anything in return. that creating space is the only way i can occupy myself. its the only way i can fill all the gaps and holes in me.
my ugly bicycle shockingly is one of the childhood remnants i still have. though rusty by the appearance now. a metaphor in its entirety. i have learned that things have their value in their absence. when theyre dying. when theyre lost. when youre lost in your loss. i cant decipher if its the nostalgia that forces me to feel the absence. or my undying love for riding. or the loss of both. that every time i enter the storeroom i see my ugly bicycle resting im reminded of my loss. im reminded how much i loved cycling. how much i loved that freedom. that autonomy.