I remember a time when moments were simply taken for granted. From the eyes of my teenage self - witnessing, for the first time, what would become both my best friend and worst enemy throughout the years. A sleek, red motorcycle - I could feel a gentle breeze upon my face just thinking about it. I couldn’t say that I had a great past, and this motorbike became my only escape route - and it has been with me ever since. Of course, life also keeps moving forward, and before we know it, we’re forced to settle down and create our futures. I wouldn’t say that I’m complaining. Two years ago, my life changed completely, when I met someone to whom my motorcycle could not compare. Maria, a beautiful woman - graceful, gentle, caring and trusting. Together we created our future--and some of my happiest memories. The motorcycle was the centre of it, the epitome of how we had met. She was the saviour who I had so desperately needed. And yet, the one fate wouldn’t allow me to have.
I remember the many late-night rides we took. Breezing through seemingly everlasting roads - with blurred scenes speeding by in our peripheral vision. There were times when we both had scratches from being distracted while riding. I always felt terrified about the possibility of losing my only family, but Maria always laughed it off. I didn’t realize until later that the biggest mistake I ever made was laughing along with her. But at the time, it was just us three against the world. We were a powerful trio - unstoppable in how far or fast we rode. But, all relationships are never perfect, and I could never forget the many arguments we had over stupid things that I never wanted to admit were my fault. The motorcycle was supposed to make everything right again - bringing us closer together through a soothing ride to let us stitch up our differences and start over.
So, why is it different this time?
My mind drifts from earlier memories to the sounds of reality - sirens wail as I feel something heavy being lifted off my body. Voices shout at me, and my body responds to the calls telling me to “wake up!” My bleary eyes open into thin slits, taking in the commotion of people attending to something before realizing what it actually is. At that point, my eyes widen in stark horror as I see the love of my life covered with a white, linen sheet, shielding her motionless body from the outside world. The only part of her left that I could see are her dark brown locks of hair, hanging still over the edges of the cot. What were once vibrant with life were now dull like the blackness above.
“No, this can’t be happening. Why her? WHY?” I'm alive, though it still seems like every moment with Maria flashes before my eyes. Her stark, blue eyes fill my vision, always searching my gaze for an answer to anything. Now, I so desperately wanted to search hers. "Why did you abandon me? We were supposed to be the perfect family... I'm sorry..."
I try in vain, to scream, to shout, to do anything that would free me from the immense pain that feels as if my lungs are squeezing shut. My meek apologies reach no ears, because who would listen to me now? I'm still stubborn even to the ending of my happy days. All I can do now is stare and listen to the increasing palpitations of my heart. One of the paramedics' notices and reacts quickly to steady me, but my mind is already deep into a world where nothing else matters anymore - until I lock my gaze on my now broken friend that has stuck with me even now. I feel a slight smile touch my lips before my eyes finally give in to a dark void.
Flecks of dust dance across my eyes with the sun’s rays, and I stare blankly to let the time pass by. This has become my daily routine now. Ever since I lost her, my mind stays in its own dark place - refusing to listen to me. I turn my head towards the corner of the room, and my eyes glaze over as more painful memories, that I’m trying so hard to forget, flash through my head. My red motorbike leans against the front door, newly fixed, though it’s been sitting there untouched for a long time. After being released from the hospital three months earlier, I came home to my bike waiting by the front door and broke down in tears. I remembered the last angry words I'd spoken to my dear wife and how she'd responded with a tired gesture. She wanted it to end, but I didn’t let it go. We avoided each other for some time, refusing to talk to one another until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had dragged her to my motorbike without any words, wanting desperately to mend what I had broken and thinking that this ride would solve everything. Of course, she never lived another day to find out if it had. Since then, I've left the bike untouched.
This is how quickly life can change, whether in a good or bad way. Nothing I do will bring back the past. All I can do is move on. But, how could I ever move on when she was the only person who let me believe that my life was still worth living? Now it's just me and my motorcycle, and I have never felt more alone. I've considered giving the bike away; perhaps that would relieve me of the agonizing pain in my heart. But I couldn't bring myself to let it go.
“Is there such a thing as wanting to forget and keep memories alive at the same time?”
For now, I have to endure the pain until time allows it to subside. It's the only way I can move on. The sun is setting. Its warm rays cast shadows over my bike. I'm reminded of a time when things were simpler, just me and my ride, until she entered my life. Now I could only pretend that all was right between the two of us and that she isn't the cause of our widening gap. To the rest of the world but myself, the bike is still my favorite ride. Once the bright dots of light peek through in the sky, my bike and I join together within the pool of darkness that would finally hide away our pains.