Dan bought a bicycle when he moved into his apartment in Pismo Beach. It made it easy for him to get around the little town. He even road it to our house in Grover Beach once. (He said he would never do that again. There is a hell of a hill to climb between here and there. )
It wasn't anything fancy. A three speed with upright handlebars so he didn't have to bend over. It was a cool lookin' bike.
Except that he looked anything but cool on it. (I can hear him scoffing at me. "What's about cool? I don't have to look cool. **huff, huff**)
Dan was quite tall. The bike was a bit short. So he stuck out.
I mean literally. He was all knees and elbows.
You recognized him from half a mile away.
Flannel shirt, cowboy hat or trucker cap, knees and elbows sticking out everywhere.
It was a glorious sight.
He didn't care what he looked like. He cared about getting around and having fun doing it.
Yesterday I was driving home and, as is usual in San Luis, there were bicyclists riding on the same road. There are bike lanes and everyone shares the road here. So I normally don't notice anything unsual.
But yesterday, yesterday I almost stopped the car.
I was coming up behind him. The flannel shirt was flapping in the breeze. He was thin. His knees and elbows stuck out from a regular sized bike. He wore a straw cowboy hat.
My heart almost stopped.
And my first, my very first thought was, "He came back".
Then reality hit. And I kept going.
I didn't look at the man's face.
I want that man on that bike to be him. And if I don't look, if I don't look, if I don't see that it is not him, then I still have that fleeting moment when, for me, he was back.