Column: Ride of my life

‘A win-win if you ask me.’

The thrill was too good not to indulge in. 

The cool breeze swimming between the strands of my hair was refreshing against the beads of sweat trickling down my face. The fiery red sun left a red hue on the land around me, creating a breathtaking view of the fields covered in dead yellow grass.

I would’ve enjoyed the scenery under different circumstances. 

Circumstances that didn’t involve me being propelled through the air. 

As a tradition for the Fourth of July weekend, my family used to stay at the house of my dad’s long-time friend. At Tony’s house, we would hang out, ride his motorcycles and eat an unhealthy amount of barbecue. 

The rural area where his house resided with little-to-no reception was my favorite childhood vacation spot for the summer. I loved traveling there, so much so that I would hang up tons of handwritten posters around the walls of my old house stating “TONY’S FOR 4TH OF JULY” with little fireworks decorating the background. 

I’d beg and plead till my parents’ eyes rolled into the back of their heads. That was my specialty for negotiation in order to go to his house. The annoyance that dripped off their faces left a smug smile on mine. 

One minute I’m rolling on the floor, in hysterics, then the next minute I’m riding in the back seat of our royal blue PT Cruiser with my flavor blasted xtra cheddar goldfish in hand while watching the trees go by as my dad drives us to Tony’s for the weekend.  

Nothing could ruin my fun.

Closing my eyes and relaxing into the car’s cushion, I can practically hear the roaring engine oozing off the motorcycle. I can feel the cold metal of the bike pressed against my tiny 8-year-old shins.

Giggles erupt from my mouth as Tony drives us around the field. The sheer force of the wind blowing through my hair makes me feel like a supermodel. I can’t control the adrenaline coursing through my body. Time seems to move at the speed of light until suddenly I—

Upon arriving, my family headed straight to Tony to give him our hellos and hugs. All of the adults were deep in conversation, but my attention span was dwindling. On the brink of boredom, I swarmed through all of the giants until I came across one bleach blond individual: Tony. Doing what I do best, I begged him to let me ride one of his motorcycles. While he was tied up, my dad offered to give me a few quick laps around the land since the sun was about to set. 

My heart starts to pound. My blood pumps like crazy as an award-winning smile is plastered on my face. This was it, I was finally getting to ride one of his motorcycles. The rumbling ruckus coming from the purple bike shook the ground. I’m practically jumping onto the seat while my dad gets settled behind me. His arms wrap around me, gripping the handle bars to barricade me, and we’re off.

After a couple of easygoing laps around the field due to our lack of helmets, I can’t help but want to bask in the cool air that danced across my cheeks. Without a second thought, I lifted up my arms like people do on rollercoasters and waved them around with all of my bottled-up excitement.

However, the bike starts to get a little wobbly. My dad tries to get my attention over the booming engine, but I can’t make out what he’s saying. We’re approaching the turn around the house that leads us into everybody’s view, though I’m starting to get a little nervous because of my dad’s serious tone. 

What’s happening?

Oh! He’s telling me to put my arms down.

But it was too late.

My dad wasn’t able to see since I was obstructing his vision and the next thing I know, I’m lifted off the motorcycle as the gravity of the situation begins to finally take its course. 

I’m scared.

It all happened so fast. 

I believe Isaac Newton said it best though: objects in motion will remain in motion, unless acted on by an external force. In this case, inertia was not on my side.     

Everything came to a halt once my body hit the ground, head hitting the only rock in the field. My vision grew hazy almost immediately after the impact while the commotion around me faded into white noise. 

Abruptly being picked up with a massive ache in my head, and my dad sporting a worried expression was the only recollection something was wrong. Faced with dozens of flashlights pointed at my face, blinding my eyes and irritating my head even more, leads me to believe that not only is something wrong, but something wrong with me. As I’m placed into someone’s arms, I spot my mother among the swarm of people. In a blink of an eye the relief that fills my body when I see her begins to drain the moment I focus on the tears streaming down her beautiful face while staring at me. 

My heart starts to pound again, but this time it’s for all the wrong reasons. 

Everyone is still crowded around me when my dad comes rushing toward us again, now with a first aid kit. He starts to clean up the bloody mess I’m beginning to feel drip down my forehead, the adrenaline slowly wearing off. 

My eyes start to droop and my body becomes relaxed in this person’s arms I’m still in. The only thing I can register is my mom shouting at me to stay awake.

I just wanted to have fun.

The commotion ringing in my ears is unbearable, unable to shut out the noise. The party’s obviously over now, so it’s time to go to bed, right? 

Once the panic started to settle down, my parents placed my exhausted body onto Tony’s couch, watching over me in case anything happened. The cushions were too cozy and the air vent was right above my head, blowing cool air onto my heated skin. I couldn’t help but drift to sleep after that whole experience, it was a total buzzkill. 

As a new day began, the once thrilling vacation got cut short because my family went to the hospital that afternoon to make sure nothing was wrong with my head. While the trip wasn’t the most pleasant experience, I’m glad I got to spend some time with everyone and I even got a gnarly scar from the accident. 

A win-win if you ask me.