It happened like this: David and I were walking down my favorite-est street in San Francisco. Valencia has the cutest little stores with homemade stationary and organic cotton t-shirts and super neat people. Just walking into their shops (I have no idea how they made enough money to pay the rent) made me feel almost “cool.” There were stores with handmade jewelry fashioned out of Legos and rainbow-colored, hand-knitted scarves and coffee shops that also sold used books. One of my favorite used bookstores was on Valencia and there was an alien cat that greeted all the patrons of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy bookstore. It is also where 826 Valencia calls its home. 826 Valencia is a pirate store, equipped with traps, glass eyes, and frolicking fish. It also is a writing, tutoring, and publishing establishment, created by the geniuses behind Believer magazine.
I’m getting a little side-tracked. Anyways, David and I were simply relishing the eternal fall of SF when we happened upon a sidewalk sale. And there it was. Practically glowing amidst the discarded clothing and VHS tapes was a metallic blue bike that looked like it had time-traveled from the 60’s. It was in perfect condition except that one of the tires was flat. I oo-ed and ah-ed, but when David asked if I wanted it, I said no, no. I just couldn’t. It was too much money.
We walked half a block away when David stopped and told me to wait. He then walked back, haggled over the price, and bought the bike then and there.
After much consideration, I named her Polly.
Polly and I have been on many adventures. She took me flying down the SF hills. I walked her up those same damn hills. My calves grew strong and hard. When I was with Polly, I felt free and alive.
Of course she came with us to Chicago. The winter was hard on Polly. She got rusty. She lost some of her shine. But I still loved her.
Last week, someone saw her locked behind the apartment. Who knows why they did it. Maybe they felt the pull that I did. Or maybe they just wanted to see if they could get away with it. But what I do know is that they couldn’t break the lock so they broke the fence to get to Polly. They rode her away under a cover of darkness and out of my life.
I only hope that they treat her well. I hope she doesn’t get dismantled and sold for parts. I hope that maybe, someday, she will make another girl as happy as she’s made me.
P.S. After two days of scouring Craigslist, we found a new bike for me. Her name is Tilly.