Just Like Riding a Bike
Here’s my latest little ditty I created for the writers’ group. The challenge was to write a story about something funny that’s happened to you.
It was a perfect day. Blue skies, mild temperatures, the sound of a soft breeze in the palm trees, and the vibrant scent of orchids—a beautiful Florida afternoon. My parents, sister, and I were enjoying our vacation thoroughly. It would be the last vacation with just the four of us before I got married in a few months. Melissa, my older sister, had been given a free week at a timeshare resort in Orlando and wanted to share it with the rest of the family. …So there we were, relaxing at this large, hilly resort filled with condos.
The property offered lots of activities for its guests. Swimming, tennis, walking trails…and biking, among other things. “Hmm,” Melissa and I mused while deciding how to spend the afternoon. “How about getting a couple of bikes?” she suggested. Sure, why not? I thought. It’ll be fun. We haven’t ridden bikes in years, but how hard could it be? Just like riding a bike, right? I chuckled inwardly at my own wittiness. As we chose our bicycles from a small supply outside the main lobby, I could already picture Melissa and me, gazing at the trees and plants along the bike path, riding gracefully.
There was one problem with that picture: The resort had no bike paths. In reality our ride would meander through the narrow roads of the property, lined with cars in parking spaces next to the three-story buildings. “That’s okay,” I said with a carpe diem attitude.
“You ready? Let’s go.” Melissa was pedaling, and I hurried to mount my bike and follow her. The ride turned out to be just as pleasant and fun as I’d pictured, only with towering buildings instead of towering trees. The wind in my face and hair was refreshing, and it felt good simply to be alive. I took a deep breath and smiled.
Then we gained speed as we headed down a hill. Just then, my eyes suddenly came into sharp focus. Melissa, looking like a Tour de France rider, made a skillful, last-minute right turn onto a side street. She quickly disappeared from sight, assuming I was behind her. I jolted to attention and scrambled to follow, leaning to the right as much as I dared.
Bonk! It was too late. I rebounded on my bike as my front tire ran perpendicular into the front tire of an SUV. I blinked in surprise. …The SUV was expensive. The SUV was running. The SUV was occupied, waiting to turn onto the road we’d been following. Stunned but not hurt, I sat on my bike and stared at two sets of eyes staring back at me, about three feet from my face. The eyes’ owners were a middle-aged man and one who appeared to be the man’s son and about my age. I was speechless and mortified. The car engine’s humming filled the silence.
Finally, the man turned and said something in Italian to his son. The son had an annoyed expression on his face, but he slowly slid from his seat and came around the front of the SUV to me. I was desperate to not look as ridiculous as I felt. Luckily, my shock led me utter brilliance. Shifting into the mindset I’ve had after car fender benders, I blurted to this guy, “Are you okay?” –Like my innocuous bicycle could inflict bodily harm through the armor of a car. I cringed at my words and turned crimson. The Italian son stifled a smile and said nothing. I settled on rolling back a couple of feet, and we looked over the SUV. No damage; the car would live. Unlike my dignity. We all muttered some sort of farewell, and I wheeled toward where I’d last seen my sister.
Seconds later, she glided up to me. “Where have you been?”