All I ask is that you trust me.
Because the thing is, I am very good at this. I am an artist, a genius. I can calculate the trajectories of bent-necked chemistry students with their noses touching their phone screens, of rubber-necked French tour groups, of stiff-necked moped drivers buzzing through campus, all at once. I can weave through crowds and trees and parked cars like the Knight Bus, except I’m not magical. I’m just that good, and I’ve only got two wheels.
But it all falls apart when you don’t trust me. It falls apart when I am pedaling like it’s the Tour de France — three minutes left until class starts — and you choose that moment not to trust me. You have to understand — our paths were determined long before either of us were even born. The tracks we make through this life, the revolutions that we turn around one another, all of this was charted when the universe began. Natasha Bedingfield was wrong. Nothing is unwritten.
So when I see you walking — you sweet pedestrian — I know where you are going. I know what I need to do to get around you. As you make your way from Pimentel Hall to Lewis Hall, your thoughts on your sorority invite or your physics midterm or even the Meaning Of Life Itself, I will whizz behind you like a satellite in the night sky, and you will never even know that I was here.
Unless you look up from your phone. Unless you lock eyes on me, ascending the hill like a centaur (except instead of half-human, half-horse, I am half-human, half-bike — do you see what I’m getting at here), and you freeze. You don’t trust me, you don’t trust the wisdom of the universe, and you instead choose this moment to try out being a human statue. And then everything falls apart.
Suddenly, as you stand there, you decide that the wisest course of action is to play zone defense on me. Suddenly, we have become engaged in a high-stakes, bike versus human game of Frogger. Your eyes are wide and filled with terror. You shift from side to side, strangled by indecision. And I — two and a half minutes left to go now — must come to a halt and utter the words that I have done nothing to deserve: “I’m sorry.”
And you apologize too, and you scurry off on your predetermined path. Really, you have done nothing wrong here, and really, I will now only be 30 seconds late. But as I cycle on, I think about you. I think about me. I think about the universe. I think about how if we all just trusted each other a bit more, if we trusted that everything would happen as it should, then we could all run together smoothly, seamlessly, like the chains on my bicycle. We could turn and turn into the future together at the speed of light.
Erica Hendry, bicycle commuter
Erica Hendry is a staff writer for The Weekender. Contact her at [email protected]