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Role Models #3
I had returned to New York, eager to feel in community again about music and art. At the time, I was working on a film and thought making documentaries might be a satisfying career. I turned towards friends who created their own space, who built community, who blended worlds in their pursuit of beauty. I had begun the practice of sensitizing myself.
I remember one moment vividly: my very first time biking across the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, toiling in an uphill climb, I was greeted with a vision. Her eyes were closed, her ears tuned in to music, her arms entwined together reaching up to the heavens. Even the glaring floodlights of the bridge softened to frame her aura. She was the moon personified, immersed in her rapture, and for a brief moment I was flying with her, unencumbered, luminous. She glided down towards and beyond me gracefully and just so, the moment passed.
Years later, I began to practice biking without using handlebars. I’d hover my hands over the bike, building confidence and ease with the risk of it, feeling progressively more steady until one day I could drop my arms to my sides and glide, in my own way. I cherished this skill, feeling a sense of thrill and freedom as I maneuvered city traffic, shoddily paved roads, and grooves in the ground meant for trams. I experienced my own rapture, my own escape.
When I fell off a city electric bike and broke my front two teeth, I wasn’t using handlebars. I had swerved out of control and my mouth broke the fall. I was told this is a common occurrence with those bikes, though I’d been riding them for ten years without incident. It was humbling — running away didn’t feel so fun anymore.
These days, I am biking again, though I grip the handlebar firmly as I make my way around. I’m still sensitive to beauty, and I’m also a little more sensitive to danger.
I wonder where she is now.
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