It was my favorite color of blue, that robin’s egg blue, but it was the basket on the front that got me excited. I saw myself riding along the boardwalk, stopping for a sandwich and couriering it away in that handy basket. I pictured the blue bike resting against a big rock and me perched on top, my feet dangling over the side, the ocean spritzing my toes, eating my sandwich and watching the big boats glide by. Or else I’d find a grassy dune, drop my bike in the sand, spread my jacket out like a picnic blanket and lay on my tummy. I’d nibble my sandwich and watch the sun sink like it was movie night in the park – I went to one of those with Eleni and Mel. We brought wine and drank it from coffee mugs! Eleni brought a baguette and cheese and sat there pretending we were French as anything even though the the movie showing was “Jaws.”
I pictured myself peddling along with a bottle of wine in my basket. A bit of wine by the sea is romantic… but not a whole bottle to one’s self! I’d be likely to wake up face down in the sand, a team of shirtless boys poking me with sticks, hoping they’d found a real dead body. I’d stick to the sandwich and maybe ride back to the rental shop with some found treasure in my basket; a conch shell for my bathroom or a nice piece of drift wood for the bookcase.
In any case, they wouldn’t rent me the blue one. The kid who worked there told me, “That’s a man’s bike. Take the yellow one.”
“What makes it a man’s bicycle?” I asked.
“Guys have a straight cross bar. Girls ones go down.”
So I took the yellow one without the basket. I didn’t get a sandwich and I didn’t stop along the way. I rode one way for a half hour, got too hot in my jacket and came back. That was that for Newport Beach.
Story by Kathleen Phillips
Nancy felt the need to document everything. She would take notes all the time, everywhere. She got really good at hiding it, abbreviating long sentences into just a few letters – she created a sort of code. She seemed embarrassed by it, but it never bothered me. I knew it was for something. I never thought she was ignoring me or life around her. Rather, it felt like she was fixated on remembering it.
But, it looked stressful, like it was taking her away from life. The worry of writing something down, presumably before she’d forget it, was maybe ironic. If she is so distracted, how can she really experience anything?
On this day, we were going to hangout, and I was thinking about how to make it more enjoyable for her. So, I got her a camera. I hoped that the photos could replace the notes. She could quickly snap a photo and go back to whatever was happening. As they say, a photo speaks a thousand words.
When I pulled it out of my bag and said it was for her, she looked excited, but also relieved. She’s not a particularly artistic person, so she might’ve caught on as to why I bought it for her. Although, it didn’t feel awkward or tense. Like I said, she was relieved. I also had planned for us to go on a bike ride – so many things for us to see, so little time to focus on anything else.
Before hopping on the bikes, she immediately wanted to use the camera and snap a photo of this moment. So, she asked me to stand before the bikes. I thought it was sweet that the first thing she wanted to capture was me. Then, of course, before I could even take a look at the photo, she had already written something on it.
“Well,” I thought, “at least she is enjoying herself.”
Story by Oliver