There is so much humanity to
His rear light flashes cheerfully as she steadily overtakes him. As his shape comes more steadily into view with each stroke of the pedals, the details began to clarify: fluorescent Velcro around his ankle, blue raincoat striped with reflective tape down his arms, Keen tennis shoes, red helmet, long lender legs to match the elevated seat (raised at least six inches from the frame), black handlebar wrap, black gloves, stray black curls escaping one by one from the helmet.
The light in front of the two riders slowly turns yellow as the pedestrian counter numbers slide to a halt. With a screech of brakes very audible in the still, dark air, grating and shrill, they slide to a synchronistic stop, and she is able to wonder more actively. The slow nape of a neck, with a lone freckle in the middle- are there more on the other side? One elbow bent, the other straight. Left foot up, right foot planted on the ground. Half grounded, half in flight, a body in motion. Does this reflect the brain’s mentality?
As she peers around the ear, visible under curly hair, she catches a glimpse of glasses frames, briefly, before the light turns green and they’re off to the races yet again. Hmmm…intelligent? Bookish? or just a sign of a struggle to read street signs?
Her thoughts echo the rhythm of her legs in motion. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. She begins to construct what she may say to this unknown face at the next light- “Hey! Nice bike!” or “Aren’t you glad it’s not raining?” or “Nice night for a ride, huh?” or “Hope you don’t have too long of a commute.” But before she can construct the perfect opening line, they’re confronted with a series of green lights that they speed through one after another, wheels whirring noisily against wet pavement, rocks flying this way and that as they’re dislodged from their path. The wind whips coolly in her face and she can feel her fingers numbing slowly as they hug the brakes in reassurance.
Light after light, they continue their chase, until the unexpected happens in her constructed perfect future: he makes a right on 13th and she continues straight. As he veers off onto his own homebound route, she catches a glimpse of a long, straight nose under the equally long bill of his helmet. And he’s off, melting into the dark street. Only the rear light which had blinked so cheerfully before, can be seen in the dark puddle of night to her right. If this dog was anything like his owner, they were both speedy, hurrying off on their own agenda.
And then she is again wrapped in her solitude, comforted, padded, soothed, lulled as she pedals the last few miles home. Streetlights guide her way with their soft pools of light spreading out in a marked striation of illumination. Light, then dark, on and on. Shops are closed, asleep.
And then she is alone here with her questions- the “what ifs,” her wonder, her fascination, her curiosity. Who are these people that brush us so briefly, and will they, if ever, return?