This bike was worth the world


There it was.

The ultimate bike.

The shiny, illuminating spotlight magically appears when looking at it: blue bike.

It is all I wanted since I first saw it. The Ultra Terrain 300 taunted me from the window.

Day after day I would stare at it, hoping someone would see me and take pity on the depressed boy with a glint of deprivation in his eyes.

Then one day, my wish came true. I was walking home from a wretched day at school—learning about multiplication and commas—and I took my usual pit stop by the bike store. The real bike store with all of the adult bikes.

I noticed it right away. The spotlight was gone, my heart was ripped out of my soul, and I didn’t think it would ever return.

I raced into the shop and, at some point in my dash, my featherweight backpack slipped off and landed in the middle of the street.

The first time I ever actually entered the shop I started yelling, screeching in the ears of all the innocent bystanders, screaming for the bike to come back. A tear rolled off my cheek. The first tear in four years. The first tear since my aunt had picked me up. The first tear since I gave up crying. The first tear since I was informed my parents were dead.

All over a silly little bike.

But to me, it wasn’t silly.

It was the precious, award-deserving blue bike. It was my only acquaintance that didn’t hate me. It was the only thing that didn’t whisper behind my back. It was my only friend, and I didn’t even own it.

The store clerk kicked me out, yelling at me to never come back to his store. He said if he ever saw me in the vicinity of his shop, I would never see the light of day.

All I could think of when he did this was what he kept repeating. The stares of everyone else didn’t even seem to bore into me like normal. Just the word. The one word.


The first tear since I was informed my parents were dead.”

Seemingly an insult, I couldn’t help but think of it as something positive. Despite him dragging me from my collar and throwing me out onto the sidewalk, I thought he was praising me.

“Gremlin” isn’t an insult. The jerks at school insulted and made fun of me every day. “Stupid.” “Outsider.” “Freak.” Those were insults. Those were what built up my emotional strength. By now, they are pebbles that bounce off me like I am a trampoline.

After my tears dried from a hurricane to a creek, I picked myself up, found my backpack, which had been thoroughly crushed by numerous cars, and I stumbled home.

It had gotten dark and gloomy by the time I saw the yellow shack that my aunt and I called home. The light was on in front of the garage, and my aunt was standing there waiting for me.

That’s when I saw it. The bike was floating in front of the garage, but instead of the magic I might have seen, it was floating on a thunderstorm, but instead of rain falling, daggers of rocks fell.

I wiped my creek away, pasted a smile on my face, and ran to my aunt.

She gave me a big hug. “This is from your parents, they wanted me to give you something on your tenth birthday, and I thought I would give it to you early.”

Then she handed me a letter. A letter in my mom’s handwriting.

Darling Alex,
We are sorry we can’t be there with you on this monumental day. Ten years. Wow, our little boy is growing up. Anyways, this is causing me great emotional and physical pain so I will keep this brief. I want you to know that we love you. We love you with all of our hearts. And we can’t wait to see what amazing things you will accomplish with your life. We will be watching with pride no matter what you do. Anyways, happy birthday my darling Gremlin, and please continue our birthday tradition of watching you and your father’s favorite movie. We love you.

Mom and Dad

P.S. I told your aunt to get you something amazing, I hope she listened.

Just seeing the word “gremlin” in my mom’s handwriting sparked thousands of memories in my head.

I only realized I was crying when a splotch hit the letter and added weight to it. The hurricane returned, but this time it was silent. This time it was valid. This time my aunt was there to comfort me.

The bike was finally mine, but that didn’t matter. I had my family again, even if it was a letter, it was new and brought me closer to the aunt who treated me as her son. It led me to the life I live now. It let me move on.