Chibimagic's Weblog

Green shirt

Posted on: December 27, 2013

I catch him, by accident, out of the corner of my eye. At a stop light a car honks at me to move so it can turn right. I glance around, catching a flash of green, but there is nowhere for me to move except into traffic, so I hold my ground. When the light turns he gives me a nod of acknowledgment and zooms off in front of me. Neon green cycling jersey, real bike, bulging calves: he’s here for some Serious Biking.

At the next light I pull up beside him. “Nice bike,” he comments, eyes darting down. “It’s cute.” I smile in response, unsure of what to say. It is a cute bike. Pastel pink with flower decals. Folding bike; 16″ wheels. It looks like a child’s bike. In my purple flowered helmet, running jacket, high school gym shorts, and pink Hello Kitty messenger bag, I probably look like I’m on my way home from school. He asks me questions while we wait for the light to change: what do I do; how far I’m biking today; where I’m from. This time I size him up. He doesn’t look like an engineer. Indeterminate age, probably early 30s. He’s decked out in cycling gear, but this is a strange street to be biking on. There’s too much traffic. If he were really serious he would be 3 miles west on F St. with its protected bike lane, few traffic lights, and rolling hills.

The whole interaction has me off guard, so I’m relieved when the light changes again and he once again darts off before me, this time with a wave. Within a block or two he disappears from sight, zipping through a yellow light that’s red long before I reach it. A line 2 bus passes me, making me perk up. Now I have something I can actually race. Depending on traffic, lights, stops, and handicapped passengers, I can generally keep pace with the bus for most of this street. I weave around cars left and right, concentrating on beating the bus.

To my surprise, a few miles down the road, Green Shirt passes me on the left, calling out a hello. He must have stopped somewhere. I catch up with him again at the next light. We’re both going to R, where I live and where his parents own a grocery store. He’s from S, and planning to circle around across the bridge. I try to calculate how far that is in my head. Must be 40, 50 miles. Maybe he’s more serious than I thought. Again the light turns and again he zooms off.

The next time we meet at a light, we exchange names, and I promptly forget his. B? M? This time he holds back, letting me set the pace. I wonder if it’s boring for him, to bike so slowly. He is a fountain of questions and anecdotes, keeping the conversation going. Something about Christmas deliveries; his brother’s wife’s brother; how it must be nice to work in software. It’s refreshing to talk to someone so full of words that they bubble out endlessly with the slightest provocation. I forget about the chill of the wind on my hands and neck. We bike together until I hit my street.

He asks me for my number. A for effort. We pull up onto the sidewalk and I end up missing the cross signal for another two rounds of lights. He disappears down the road once more, headed to see his family.

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