A bicycle ride

I stared at the old, black and white photograph of my older brother and me with a feeling of loss and grief. It had been years since I had flicked though the photo albums neatly stacked in the attic. However, today seemed like an appropriate day to reconnect with these fond memories.

The memory appeared more and more vivid as a strained my aged eyes for a more meticulous look. Yes, everything was crystal clear, the shrubs of the front yard, my favourite red outfit and Michael’s blue bicycle. Dad had attached the training wheels especially for my first ride on the bicycle. I was both ecstatic and anxious as I stumbled onto the bike, seating myself comfortably on the blue cotton seat. I had watched Michael and Dad ride a bike several times and knew the basics. I placed my foot on the pedal, however, it slipped, and I let out a high squeal.

“Sarah, you needn’t feel frightened. I’ll be right here by your side,” said Michael soothingly as he held me close.

I gratefully thanked him and attempted it again following his advice. Excitement gleamed through me as I pushed my foot down and felt the rotation of the pedals moving me forward. I was riding a bicycle! Walking now seemed so insignificant and slow as I cycled are the yard showing off my new-founded skills. Mum and Dad had been observing my progress from the front porch and beamed as they walked towards me cheering me on. Dad rushed into the house to obtain his new camera. Dad was obsessed with photographs and was intent on compiling albums to preserve all our childhood memories.

“Give me a big smile. Come on Sarah,” said Dad smiling encouragingly. I had never really been fond of taking photos; the flash of the camera temporarily blinded me. Anyhow, this was a memory I was glad to keep. Michael had his arms around me protectively as I sat on his bicycle and grinned broadly.

In the old days, this reminiscence has made me feel both lonely and blessed. It was only an hour ago when I delivered my eulogy for my dearest Michael. He was eighty-five when he died last week. I miss him dearly but we all must part someday. I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was now completely white and I had given up on using hair dye. My time was soon to come. The end of my life.

I glanced back at the photograph. I looked at my brother’s arms around me in the photo and I recalled the protective feeling. I sat down and stared at the photo and from behind, I could have sworn that Michael’s arms were around me as he whispered, “I’ll be right here by your side.”

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