The chain came off my bike. For a few seconds the pedals spun furiously and I moved no where, then fell to the ground.
I was young enough that a mile from home still seemed like forever. I stepped down from the banana seat and saw my hope just dangling there. It never occurred to me that the chain would just fall off. I had ridden this route to town a million times. My mom was at work. I didn’t have any change for the payphone. I would have to get my hands dirty.
I secured the kickstand. Fumbled with my chubby fingers. It was greasy. But soon it became clear where it needed to be. Both hands black now, I navigated the pedals with my left and reached the chain with my right. Pulling. Reaching. Sweating. I wiped my brow. My forehead now blackened too. And then it clicked. Dropped into place. I looked around as if to say. “Look! I did it!” No one was there. I was still happy.
I didn’t ride straight home. It was just too thrilling to be moving again. I serpentined slowly through the streets. Gentle breezes whispered, “There, there…” Peace. Freedom. Joy.
I suppose adversity always comes with a bit of surprise, a bit of a mess. But I know I, we, have been given the tools, the strength, the will, to keep pedaling. I brush off my knees. I smile. Hope dangles beside me.