Hand Helmet / Bike the Block

by Helen E. M., 17

Dedicated to Angel Ruiz 

Helmet first or bike first? Left or right pedal first? 
What if my laces interweave with the chain? And if the wind blows the wheels away? helmet first, left pedal first, take your laces off, you’ll have to walk home 
Your response made us both chuckle as we continued our journey East. 
introduction to hand helmets 101 was written on your left hand with black pen. Hand Helmets, you said, was one thing: 
ride your bike with no hands, hands on helmet. 
I placed my hands on my head trying my best to balance on the wheels that hadn’t been blown away you’ve got this, keep going! you’ll make it! 
We rode our bikes until seven hit, the tower lights were on and you had to go home. Let’s bike the block one more time, I yelled into the silence. 
There was silence for a longer time than I expected, and I watched you leave in the darkness.

Santa Ana, California