The companion piece, Back to You, is now live!
An undiscovered back road stretches out in front of me. Dead leaves and melting piles of snow outline my twisting route leading me deeper into the woods. The Scout’s tires eat up the cracked and neglected asphalt. My helmet’s sitting on the back of the bike. I should be wearing it. I know I should, but I want to feel the wind’s fingers in my hair, want to smell the gasoline off the bike.
The first warm day in weeks woke me up to all the possibilities of spring. My leather jacket isn’t zipped up, and the wind whooshes in and around my body. In its holster, my gun tap tap taps against my ribcage, as I shift into second gear. The bike flies past the aspen and pine trees. I want more than a taste of spring. I need this weather to last all week.
The bike shudders when I shift into third. I ignore it, give it more gas, and curse under my breath as the bike coasts to a stop. The forest goes quiet around me, as if the creatures living in it hold a collective breath. I get off the bike, thinking twice before kicking it hard. The whole thing topples over into the dirt.
“Sure, Rosa, make it worse.”
For an hour, I vacillate between walking up and down the road trying to get a signal on my phone and tinkering with the bike’s metal parts. Rust and grime cover my hands, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got streaks of the stuff across my forehead. Elías will kill me for taking the bike out before we finished restoring it, but living through another of Papi’s benders wasn’t gonna happen.