it was exactly one week ago from today. a sunday mornin with light cloud coverage on the west side, and a few drops of dew drippin from the leaves of fall. my alarm sounded as usual, and i decided to hit up a few more seconds of sleepersesh. a usual custom as to the days work, and a common man made error. three hours later to the sound of traffic,kids shouting, and the guns n roses famous hit, sweet child o mine, which was playin in the department next door, i was awoken from my slumber and jumped outta bed, realizin i was rollin late for church. my companion was already up, cookin a bowl of cereal over the lattern.
" whats goin down noble steed?" i toldhim as i walked over and sat at my desk.
"basic 27 " he replied.
hmmm...must be some kind of code forsomethin, i thought. i opened my mail box and looked out the window next to the microwwave. there were two birds fightin over a piece of bacon. strange times i said to myself.
the following ocurrences are based upon true reckonings that took place in the west side village, a town settled just outside of the north end near the east mountain thats situated under the rather slightly sloped narrow bridge on the south north tip of town.
i was a young lad, and the high school atraction wasnt callin myname. i found fame in the rather simple things of life. fishin near the canal, skippin stones, and readin the stock pricings from the last weeks daily newspaper. a simple life to lead, yet rather difficult to sustain.
thats when something happened that would end up alterin my lives story for all time to come.
this particular day,i decided it would be better to grab my bike and roll down to the dock to see how the fish were doin. but instead of goin to the dock, when i reached the pathway to nells street, i kept goin straight. i was pedalin and gainin momentum, weavin in and out of the rush hour traffic that seldom marksi ts path on the curvy roads,and somethin caught my eye.
it was an old school beach cruiser bike. nicely polished w chrome wheels parked neatly next to a bench in the park.
dang, i said to myself, thats a shredder bike. i wondered who could be the owner of such a cool lookin bicycle? as i went closer to get a better look, i noticed that sittin in the grass, takin pictures of the times, was a girl. hmmm...the bike is prob hers i thought. i decided itd prob be a bad idea to steal it, so i turned to go. and right as i turned to bail the scene, the girl turned to me and said,
" good day friend, how art thou? "
it was about 2 weeks ago to the day and hour when i awoke from a restless night of tossing and turning on my partially deflated air mattress. i realized at that moment that i had grown tired of the bitter winter of this small town and desperately needed to escape. i threw on my clothes from the previous day that laid balled up next to my night stand and slightly smelled of grocery bags and desperation. i quickly threw the essentials; money, passport, camera and some beatles cds into a small bag and stormed outside only to be greeted by the biting cold that was driving me away. i ignored the numbness that took over my finger tips and nose and jumped on my bike. i wasn't sure where i was headed, all i knew was that there was something bigger waiting for me than this small forgotten town. my mind was in such a trance that all sense of time or presence of fatigue was lost in the scenes of wilderness and city that sped past me. i don't know how long i peddled or how i got to this particular destination exactly; all i knew was this was where i needed to stop. as i slowed my pace and came to rest in the grass of a near by park the sounds of unfamiliarity filled my ears. the warmth of the sun which i had missed so dearly greeted me like an old friend and embraced every inch of my pale exposed skin. not only was this tender warmth unfamiliar, but the noises which surrounded me as well. while listening closely to the passerby's exchange friendly conversation i was able to to pick up on a few words which i recognized as spanish from my younger years of attending language classes at the academy. as my soul was filled with excitement and wonder, i was overcome with the need to document my peculiar surroundings. i had not been photographing the area more than two minutes when the sense of me being watched entered my overwhelmed mind. curiosity forced my head to turn and my eyes quickly fell up a young man who could not be much older than myself. he too look as if he had embarked on a long journey that fateful day. as my eyes fell upon his face i was immediately taken back to my previous life when i inhabited the densely populated desert of chandler arizona. "i know this fellow" i thought to myself and he turned to depart from my sudden realization. "good day friend, how art thou" i said aloud to the familiar stranger, wanting to explore my past in conversation.
..."good day friend. how art thou?" the girl said to me.
at first it caught me off guard. i hadnt suspected such friendliness from a stranger, and the voice sounded familiar unto my recolection.
i stuttered to reply, " im rollin fine. thanks, and you?"
as the words flowed from my mouth, i came to remeber the face, and the memories rolled into mind, takin me back a few years in time.
i was a youngin in my days, and just droppin out of school. there was a girl in my math class that sat a few seats down. her name was jackie francois. she was the only person i ever talked to , cause to me, the rest of the fools were all lost in other worlds. it was only a hello and good buye, but she was always cool to me. the semster before, in the academy, she had helped me with a spanish exam, which was the only class i got through with an A. the memory rolled back clear as the day it happend.
"jackie," i waited for her in the hall after the bell rang.
" how art thou jon?"
"jackie, i gotta tell you somethin." it was tough. i was always weak on words, " im bailin the academy..."
the young man turned at my apparently unexpected greeting to face my wondering expression. "i'm rollin' fine. thanks, and you?" he managed to get out with realization entering his now blank face-it was as if he was taken back in memory to match the face with a long lost memory that had been pushed to the corners of his mind with each year that had passed. as he became more lost in his thoughts, my mind began to wander and brought to my remembrance a simpler time during our last encounter at the academy. "jackie." he called me by name as the students filed passed us after going through the motions of another monotonous day. "how art thou jon?" i questioned the worrisome looking boy-my attention was immediately called to the anguish which engulfed his once friendly face. "jackie, i gotta tell you something" he struggled with the words he so desperately needed to say. "i'm bailin' the academy." were the only words he managed to utter before he swiftly flung his leg over the motorcycle and kicked the roaring engine to life. in a cloud of dust and forgotten school papers he vanished. i was flung to the present time as questions began to overflow my mind. "jon, where hast thou been for these countless years?" i asked the question that my mind so deeply yearned to be answered. he thought for a minute longer, as if trying to find the words to best describe the journey he had embarked on. "when i left my home and my family i was no more than a boy in the company of strangers, in the quiet of the railway station-runnin' scared."
"when i left my home and my family i was no more than a boy in the company of strangers in the quiet of the railway station runnin scared..." i started to retell the times as they had passed, "i was lookin for the path to glory in this life of distress. i figured the best hope would be to bail the old and to create new in a different stage of life. that day when i bailed out of the academy would end up bein the begginin of a new tail. i thought i had destroyed all hope of a better existence. i road where the wind took me. spendin nights under the stars sleepin in the open air. money bailed out faster than it rolled in, and had no use in my life. i spent endless hours learnin the true greatness of the good times. i was stoked, but somethin was always missin..." i paused, floatin off into the memories.
i became entranced by the tapestry of words that were woven as jon began to tell the story of his life after the academy. the stories that were conveyed unveiled a life that had thus far been filled with adventure and enlightenment. this particular way of life seemed so intriguing to me - this was the very thing that drew me away from the monotonous life that i had so recently abandoned. i was caught of guard suddenly at the mention of something missing from the life he led. "what could possibly be missing from a life that was spent rockin' in the free world" i contemplated to myself. "if it isn't too much trouble, maybe i could accompany you while you explore the vast lands of this strange place. maybe i may be of some assistance in discovering what may fill that void." no matter his reply, i knew that this very day i had begun my own journey of adventure.
i looked jackie in the eyes, " for real? youd be down to roll out into the life of the unknown?"
she grabbed her camera and bag, and rolled her bike over to the sidewalk, " where the wind runs north, may the sun set be our destination..."
wow i thought, a true free spirit. the lyrics rang through my mind...free like a bird...( i forgot how it goes jackie, so youll have to finish it up)
eb turned to face me at my request to accompany him, "for real? you'd be down to roll out into the life of the unknown?" without a hesitation i gathered my bag, kicked up the stand to my cruiser and joined jon on the sidewalk. "where the wind runs north, may the sunset be our destination..." i replied to him. at this instance only the lyrics to the song "free as a bird" by the british rock group the beatles could describe how i felt. the words "free as a bird. it's the next best thing to be, free as a bird. home, home and dry...like a homing bird i'll fly as a bird on wings. whatever happened to the life that we once knew? can we really live without each other?" rang through my head as if the beatles themselves stood directly in front of me reciting the lyrics to me. i knew then that the long days of bagging groceries and meeting the demands of the walking corpses that inhabited the small town that i fled were over. i was free to go wherever the black plastic peddles of my bike desired to take me.
so the two of us rolled out in the sunset into a chiller life of greater ambitions, and cooler times...the end