Let me set the scene for you:
I’m eight and a half. I have just successfully learned how to ride my bike. Older Brother wants to test my skill by having us ride to the school (which was about a quarter mile from our house).
To get to the school, we took the back roads; on the way there, there was a lot of uphill riding. Except for when you got to the school.
Then, there was a big downhill.
Older Brother informed me that “it was really, really fun to coast down”. I didn’t know what “coasting” was. Besides, I wasn’t that good at riding my bike yet.
So, we set off. Older Brother reassured me the entire time that it’d be fine, once you learned how to ride a bike all the other stuff came naturally. Besides, I had already ridden down the little hill by our house.
(It was hardly a hill. It was a slant. A slight variance from the level ground immediately following it. It wasn’t a HILL. Thanks a lot, Older Brother.)
So I was hyperventilating with anticipation of this big hill, and gasping for air with all the uphill pedaling we were doing, and trying to block out Older Brother’s “reassuring” chatter that was only managing to make me more and more nervous.
We ride across the upper parking lot.
The hill is getting closer …
And closer …
Even closer …
We’re at the hill.
I pull up short, my fear making the hill look like a cliff. If I drive off of that, I’d be committing suicide!
Older Brother cruises down the hill, laughing maniacally. “Come on!” He crows. “Don’t be a sissy! Come on down the hill, it’s fun!”
I set my jaw. I refuse to be outdone by HIM, of all people. And I most certainly am not a sissy. I push off and start down the hill.
The pedals are going too fast! I can’t keep my feet on them!
Somehow, in my terror, I manage to keep my balance as I lift both hands off of the bike handles as I wave them in the air, screaming.
I hear Older Brother yelling something in the background; probably “Turn your bike!”
He was probably yelling that because I was heading straight for the exterior wall of the school.
I don’t register what he’s saying. I keep screaming and waving my hands in the air, sure that the rapidly approaching school wall will be my death.
I’m about three seconds from impact … two … one …
The bike stops and tips over sideways. I get up, brushing myself off.
Funny. It didn’t hurt so bad.
“Are you okay?” I can hear Older Brother trying not to laugh.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” I brush the gravel off of my hands and knees.
Older Brother starts laughing. I join him.
“I bet it looked weird,” I say in between giggles.
“Your … ha-ha … you were waving your hands in the air … he-he … and screaming … !” Older Brother is in a fit of laughter.
As soon as we stopped laughing and got our breathing back to normal, we started back home.
I walked my bike down all the downhills.
It may have looked funny, but it did kind of hurt.