March 28th, 2004
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the olmo

it was my mom’s bike. as a child i thought it was rather uncool. when you sit on it you feel very upright. it is the most comfortable bike in the history of bikes. everyone who tries it says so. and i encourage everyone to take it for a spin. ‘you won’t believe it’, I say.
riding fast down hills, letting gravity take over, wind grabbing my hair and pushing it back off my face. the world rushes by and i laugh at how free i feel. i am a child again.
it holds so many memories this bike. there is a scrape on the right hand grip where my mother had a fall while riding down a hill. an early sign that her illness was starting to take over. a bloody scraped up leg. a deep pain in my gut. when i run my hand over the grip now i remember it all. many things i did not understand then.
a child with a mother. a summer at the beach, skin peeling, alive, with an appetite that only comes with days spent in the sun, running and swimming. summersaults in the water, around and around. ‘watch, i can do it backwards!’ ‘no wait, i’ll do it better this time.’ cups of sand falling out of a bathing suit at bathtime. sleep so deep. in bed you fight to hear mothers laughing and telling each other stories late into the night. angry stories about husbands, funny stories about flirting, secret stories about sex, painful stories about cancer. many words i don’t understand. murmurs. petty fighting. girlfriend love.
i see her riding the bike down the road waving. smiling. there is a towel in the basket, and a nectarine. she is not supposed to drive so she rides instead. nothing will stop her, not even death.
now it is me riding. waving. smiling.
basket full of food making it hard to take turns easily.
now it is me staying up, laughing into the night with girlfriends. telling stories. girlfriend love is eternal.
I am the luckiest girl on the earth. I have many mothers.
but i miss her.

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