I had just gotten my banana seat bike for my birthday. I was six years old, this 27th of March, in Minnesota, but the excitement of a new year, a new bike, a new freedom, was enough to cut through the still winter cold. I rode the most beautiful thing on wheels that I had ever seen down the hill. Past Norton’s. Into the “North End.” It sounds more mysterious than it really was, this undeveloped part of VanDyke road. But being a brand new six, on a brand new bike, riding in this uncharted territory was as close to being an astronaut as I would ever come.
There was no sense of time. I spun the tires in the gravel. Raced through rocks and grassless paths. Past barren trees. Over half frozen mud. It was glorious. My only clock was the sun, and it was telling me to go home. I heard a faint call in the distance. Louder as I got closer. It was my name. She was calling my name. Standing frantic at the end of our driveway, her hands raised in the air when she saw me. I’m not sure if I got off of my banana seat bike, or she pulled me off, but I was suddenly in her arms. So tightly held in her arms. I had been gone much longer than I thought. I hate that I had worried her, so I held on too. For the first time I remember letting go first. She was still hugging me. What a glorious feeling. Hugging me with a love, that I somehow knew, no matter where I ventured in this world, would never be lost. Feeling that, it’s my birthday, every day!