They work on their bikes more than ride them. He feels safe here. Outside the woods are falling asleep. Trying not to expect too much.
Fall’s his favorite, from the first time he dove through a pile of leaves and heard the rare sound of his mother’s laughter, and now this.
The girls are coming later. So what? he says. You know you like her, Mike adds. Common Oz, its okay to like her, Steve laughs. Isn’t it?
He loves the dirt bike’s elegance, loves that he can repair it. If the shed were school he’d get A’s. No one there knows how to grade him.
The bike is finished, night birds soft on the radio. Wood stove, ember sounds, outside the wind, inside they talk. Could this be home?
Tomorrow they ride, ride the wind. Trails full of leaves, protecting. Its fun to crash, laugh at death—teenagers—feeling as if he belongs.
You need a seat for two, she says. He looks at the gas tank, face on fire. I guess, he mumbles, gunning it for the fields, heart pounding.
Never saw the rock. Never saw the sky spinning, heaven and earth. Never heard her standing over him, sobbing, black umbrella in the rain.
© 2010 Derek Osborne