Today I got on my bicycle barefoot, angry.
Barefoot because one of my Birkenstocks is missing, and because I only have one pair of shoes. If you live on Hawaii, you get that.
Angry because I was chasing someone and time was limited. I took off, out my driveway, the bottom of my feet cutting on the sharp pedals, my whole body racing down Kilauea Road on the bike path, passing the horse pasture, the goats, the horse with one brown eye and one blue eye.
The male horse who always kisses my left breast, the white horse who is indifferent to me.
I blurred by them.
What would I say to the person I never met before – , if I even caught up with him?
I WOULD catch up. I would find his truck with two trailers that went by my driveway and all the kids so quickly it was like a flash of lightening. Eighty in a 25 mile per hour zone.
Carrying two trailers with equipment and a Mercedes.
Past children on bicycles, past thumb suckers and hunger and dogs off leash, past Nene birds and Shama birds and a school.
I pedaled toward his truck, now seeing it just outside the gate of Sea Cliff, waiting for the gate to open. That wealthy community that is never happy with their homes – hence all the trucks. I pedaled into the speed of our lives, into Covid, into my brother who had a Ford Mustang in 1975 and almost killed us all in it by passing on a curve with a school bus filled with children coming the other way.
I pedaled into my fear that some mother fucker doing 80 in a 25 zone might T-bone my daughter and my grandkids pulling out of my driveway some day. Or some drunk driver will cross the line.
I pedaled into the edge of our humanity, into a country that is fourteen years old, a country that refuses to mature. Into all the grief caused by all of us moving too fast.
Too fast causes clogged arteries.
Too fast and our third eye shuts down.
Too fast and our feet forget to thank the earth.
Too fast and we forget to arrange flowers for our kitchen table.
Even twenty five miles per hour feels fast in this time of Covid, when we are being asked to slow down.
I brought all my fear and frustration to his driver window, which was shaded so he could see me and I couldn’t see him. Instead of rolling down the window, he opened his whole door and turned to me. And there, in the driver’s seat, was a beautiful Hawaiian man, and he said….
I must have looked like a crazy, wild haired middle aged woman, sweating on a white bicycle, shoeless into the all of the all of it.
And I looked into his eyes, and he looked into my eyes, and my anger went from a river to a stream, to a cup of water I wanted to share with him. In seconds, with a simple…
Yes is an invitation. His brown eyes earth-like.
I said I was afraid from my family pulling out of the driveway, for all the kids on the bike path, and I had seen his speed and I came to find him to ask him to slow down, that with two trailers he could never stop in time for anything.
And he paused and looked out his window – perhaps into his own fear, his own life, his own flaws, and then he looked back at me, and he said I’m really sorry, I promise I won’t speed down this road again.
Then there was a pregnant pause, both of us in our flaws, our humanity. And he said, I love my family, too.
And there it was, the thread that keeps us all together. It’s really about love, in the middle of bombings in Beirut, the shit show of an election, the death of real journalism, our democracy that maybe never was, and now we get to look at all of that, finally.
Thank you, I said, thank you for hearing me.
Thank YOU, he said.
And then I pedaled back to my home, slower this time, stopping to see the horse at the fence that likes my left breast, and he kissed it, again, and I pushed him away, again, and stroked the side of his face, laughing, pulling some guinea grass he couldn’t reach.
At home my daughter and my grandkids were waiting, and they said, what happened?
What happened mom?
What happened grandma?
And just like, we all slowed down.