17 September 2009

Kid's Bike

I saw this bike outside City Hall which seems out of place for a kid's bike. When I was a kid we had a purple girl's bike with a banana seat and the seat had flowers painted on it. I think there was also a basket in front with plastic flowers on that as well. We lived in a big townhouse complex and I rode the bike all over the place, often with my little sister sharing the seat with me since she didn't know how to ride a bike yet. I attached playing cards with rubber bands so it would make a motorcycle sound when the spokes rubbed the cards. That's what separated the cool boys riding girl's bikes from the uncool boys riding girl's bikes.

So there I was, riding a purple girl's bike to see Stephen (rhymes with "Geffen") and Dominic, my childhood friends. Stephen was my best friend but his family moved to California. Dominic had a big afro for a little kid. His older brother had an even bigger one. Sometimes I wonder what happened to those two and I wonder if they sometimes wonder what happened to me.

Before Stephen and Dominic I lived in Kenya and when I was just barely old enough to have a friend I became chums with a kid across the street named Samir. We played together all the time. Then my parents came to America and I forgot all about Kenya (including the Swahili I once spoke) pretty quickly. But I had relatives in Kenya and when I went back to visit them 10 years later as a teenager they told me stories about crazy things I did when I was a kid and how I always played with Samir. They actually tracked his family down and I went over there for lunch. His parents sent him to school in England so he acquired polished manners and an English accent. He didn't seem at all excited to see me again and we didn't have anything in common.

My parents sold that purple bike when we moved into a house. Somewhere in Cincinnati a girl rode it around to see her friends and I wonder if she now thinks about what happened to the friends she rode her purple bike with.

I don't remember Stephen's or Dominic's last names and I doubt I ever knew them. But if I did I'd probably look them up on Facebook. If I had a children I would definitely write down all their friends' names. It's never too early for networking in the 21st century.


Radarman said...

Good reading, Westender. Thank you.

Mark said...

As much as I enjoyed reading this, I worry that a teabagger will track you down through some Kenyan connection.

liz said...

kenya? purple banana seat bikes? stephen rhymes with geffen? this all seems fake.

WestEnder said...

We also liked to build "forts" in the woods out of garbage.