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Still my favorite ride

by FabihaNeera


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 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 I’m complaining. two years ago, my life completely changed as I had met someone of 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 center of it, the epitome of how we had met. She was the saviour that 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 she 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, 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 alright 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 of my body. 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.

“No, this can’t be happening. Why her? WHY?” I'm still alive, though I can see every moment spent with Maria flashing before my eyes. "You abandoned me... We were supposed to be a perfect family."

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 selfish even through 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 still stuck with me even now. I feel a slight smile touch my lips before my eyes finally give in to the dark void that lies within.

__________________________

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 stayed 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 I 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 had 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. Whatever I do will never bring the past back - the only thing 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 considered giving the bike away; perhaps that would relieve me of the agonizing pain in my heart. But I still can't bring myself to let it go.

Is there such a thing as wanting to forget and keep these 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 - as if she isn't the cause of our widening gap. To the rest of the world but myself, the bike would still be my favorite ride. Once the bright dots of light peek through in the sky, my bike and I join together - sitting within the pool of darkness to finally hide away our pains.


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Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:21 pm
jster02 wrote a review...



This is certainly one of the sadder pieces I've read. Kudos to you for making me actually feel something while reading a piece. I sense the bike has some symbolism to it, which is always cool to see. My interpretation was that the bike represents hope even in the darkness. It's repair means that the protagonist has a chance to fix their own broken life.

I liked the changes in tenses halfway through from past to present. It felt sort of like the speaker was thinking about all that had lead up to that point, (and thus, wasn't focusing on the road, which caused him to wreak).

There were a few minor things I came across while reading this that might help improve it should you choose to go back and edit. (It's up to you whether you decide to heed my advice, of course. It's your story).

I noticed a few instances where you could have removed words from a sentence without it changing the meaning. For example:

I couldn’t say that I had a great past,


Could read,

I couldn’t say I had a great past,


Removing words in this way helps the sentence flow better, allowing the reader to read it quickly and move on. I noticed a few other similar instances, such as:

two years ago, my life had completely changed


and

But, all relationships are never perfect



One other thing I saw. As much as I liked the last few lines, (It was a really cool image), they confused me a little. I don't know if I'm missing some symbolism, (If I am, you can just ignore this part of the review), but I was rather confused as to what was actually happening. What were the bright dots of light peeking through the sky? Was this something physically happening or was it just another metaphor?

Anyways, that's all I saw. You've done well with this piece, I really enjoyed interpreting it. I hope to review one of your works again in the future!

-Jster




FabihaNeera says...


Thank you for taking the time to review! I have made these edits :D
And yes the "bright dots in the sky" is meant to be a metaphor for "stars". Sorry if this wasn't written clearly enough... but thanks again!



jster02 says...


You're welcome :)



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Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:40 pm
JabberHut wrote a review...



Hello!

This was such a sad piece. Very emotional. You wrote this extremely well 'cause it captured my heart the whole time. The narrative was beautifully somber and matched the story it was telling. Really just a heart-wrenching piece.

I must say that I was worried at a glance this would feel like an info-dump, but you just wrote this so well. The narrator was engaging enough to keep me interested and hooked through the piece. It was clearly about him and the blessings and curses that came with this bike, the lessons he learned because of this bike, the memories he'll always have because of this bike.

There was a small snippet of dialogue that sounded a bit dry. In fact, I don't think the paramedics would be shouting at him to wake up. Then again, I've never been in either position. I feel like though they'd just get right to business to verify he's still alive and get him medical attention. Being awake isn't entirely necessary. But the thoughts the narrator had seeing Maria's corpse also seemed contradictory. His "I'm sorry" seemed rather random after the desperation and anxiety he was thinking before it. Then again, perhaps it's the overuse of ellipses too. Save the ellipses for the pause before "I'm sorry" and just use normal punctuation for the fast-thinking, rushed, anxious thoughts before it.

I got confused at the mention of his wife. I guess I didn't realize they were married? Unless it's a different woman. There's no way he got married 3 months after the accident unless it was one of those whirlwind Vegas marriages. Even still, if he's talking about Maria, I didn't realize their last ride was the result of him dragging her onto the bike. This could result in a huge gut-punch for the reader -- which is good! I'd simply suggest ensuring the impact of this information hits much stronger than it does now. Right now, it just confused me how that all worked. Perhaps another hint or two in the beginning half to clue us in better as to how argumentative these two could be and how the bike seemed to always calm things down.

This was such a dramatic piece. It really was, and I can't help but feel heartbroken and reflective because of your writing. Your style here is just so beautiful, and it all seemed to work so well. I could follow his train of thought as he narrated the story. You did an excellent job!

Keep writing!

Jabber, the One and Only!




FabihaNeera says...


Thank you so much for the feedback and kind words! I'll make sure to keep these details I missed in mind.




You cannot have an opponent if you keep saying yes.
— Richard Siken