The moment I saw the prompt ‘ride’ a memory from my youth came to mind, and as I continued reading Feve’s words, a second memory came to mind. Of course I have to share both with you, and maybe more!
Ride a bike
I was fourteen when I sat on a bike for the first time, and essentially, also for the last.
My next door neighbor back then just had a new boyfriend, Paxton. She was two years older than I was, and Paxton was two years older than her. Now Paxton was certainly not a young man who would’ve made my head turn twice, was it not that he had a motorcycle. It intrigued me, and I wanted nothing more than be able to go for a ride on it. Paxton might have been a bit too interested in me, seeing that my neighbor was his girlfriend, but I didn’t mind, because after some weeks he invited me for a ride on his bike. I eagerly accepted, took the helmet he gave me, and hopped on the back. Oh gosh, the feeling of power between my legs when he opened the throttle wide and sped down the road. Incredible. That was the first time I saw the ugly side of jealousy, as that girl was not impressed with him and me taking off like that.
Some years later — by now I was seventeen — I got a scooter. Not a bike, but still two wheels. Not much speed, but it got me where I needed to be. It also got me into hospital once. Three times, at exactly the same point, a car (not the same one) bumped into me. It was a strange point where two roads got together and drivers frequently didn’t see cyclists or scooters. The third time I was bumped off my scooter, I had a hole in my knee and called my mom from the hospital. Thankfully not long after that I bought a car, mom taught me how to drive and two months after my eighteenth birthday, I got my driver’s license.
When I moved to the Netherlands and didn’t have the money to buy a car, I bought a scooter again. That thing brought me where I wanted to be, but it also frequently didn’t bring me anywhere because of mechanical problems. One day I drove to work in the snow, and as I rounded a corner — carefully — the scooter slipped under me, fell to the side and on my foot. God, it hurt like hell. I was up in seconds, struggling to lift the heavy scooter on the icy road, but I did. I could barely walk, but the shame of falling and maybe someone seeing me was much stronger than giving in to the pain. Oh the stupidity…
After that, I decided to keep to cars.
Ride a horse
I vaguely remember that in the time we lived in Namibia — we moved there when I was 10 and left when I was 14 — I sat on a horse, but the memory is not clear.
What I do remember clearly is many years later, when I lived in Cape Town, that I wanted to go horseback riding with a colleague-friend of mine. I went to the stables with her, and stood watching while she got the horse ready. We were there for about ten minutes when I told her I wasn’t feeling well and will be waiting in the car. Half an hour later I told her I think I need to go to the doctor. She abandoned everything and off we went, to the doctor, where I ended up with an oxygen mask because of an asthma attack. Huh? I never suffered from it ever before.
Two weeks later I went to the stables with her again. She wanted to cut a bit off the horse’s tail, and I watched as she did. By then I was already feeling shortness of breath, but trying to ignore it (yeah, dumb). Suddenly my one eye started itching and withing seconds it was so swollen that I couldn’t see through it anymore. She took me to the ER and once more I ended up with oxygen, and they removed a hair from my eye. Apparently from the horse. They told me to stay away from horses, as I am very allergic to it.
I did as they said, but she my friend still visited me when she came from the stables, and every time I had to go to the ER, get oxygen, or take the emergency meds they had given me. I asked her to stay away, or at least go for a shower after she had been at the stables and before she visited me. From then on, I never went close to horses, and it’s a good thing I didn’t. In November 2019 I had allergy tests done, and had a severe reaction to… horses.
So much for my fascination with horses and wanting to go for a ride…
© Rebel’s Notes
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