It’s a hot summer’s Saturday; My M.O. is staying inside bound to my room, listening to my “prize” stereo system. The 1990 school season had just begun and I was not at all excited about returning to middle school for another year. Saturdays were mostly boring for me, as I had no close friends, or places to go. I did have a couple “friendly” kids in my neighborhood who would talk to me outside of school, but at school treated me like a stranger. I wanted to go for a ride on my bike, but needed a destination, otherwise, what would be the point. I knew of a boy near by, TJ Greene, who was harassed, and neglected at school. One of the lowly types, an easy target you might say. I confirmed with my parents, retrieved my bike from our super cluttered garage, but the front tire was still bent from a previous bike accident. We didn't have the money to fix my bike yet, dad was always sure to tell us exactly how much we didn’t have at every meal. Then, I looked on and saw my dad’s bike, an 18 speed mountain bike, 18 gears, chromed, with red accent. From riding his bike before, I knew the brakes were not that good, so I decided to fix them. I grabbed tools from my dads tool bench at the front of the garage, removed both tires and chain, greased it up, reassembled the bike and fixed the brakes. I’m OFF! Off to seek out a great adventure with a boy I didn’t really care to be around, but it was better than staying at home alone. I zoomed in and out of winding road corners and down roads as fast as I could. One corner in particular had a dip at the intersection that was fun to whip in and out of. My visit with TJ was short; we played for only 15 minutes before he was called inside. Back home would be my new destination. A block from TJ’s house there was a pot hole that was just right to pop a wheelie over! I lifted the front end of the bike to make my debut as a daring stunt man, then it happened. The front tire did not lift with the rest of the bike. It was even rolling down the road ahead of me. The bike came down hard on the front forks, sending me soaring over the handle bars, and sliding down the road. The world seemed to stop for a second; I was lying on my back trying to put together the pieces in my mind of what just happened. As I tried to lift myself, I was in pain, and realized the sting of road rash on my arm was actually worse. I couldn’t move my arm. I looked down at my hands and saw them covered in my own blood. I tried again to get up, knowing I was in big trouble for wrecking my dad’s bike. I couldn’t get up. I tried to flag down two cars that didn’t stop. Finally, a white SUV stopped. An older woman and her husband stepped out of the vehicle to check on me. After getting my address, the man sped off to find my house to get my dad. The woman stayed with me. I was sorry for being such an inconvenience. When my dad and step mom arrived in our mini van, they propped me up in the back of the van. I apologized for bleeding all over the car. There were sirens in the distance, the man who went to get my dad had also called 911. The ambulance arrived on scene and the paramedics jumped into action. They pulled the bed stretcher out of the back of the ambulance and strapped down my head, arms and legs. I couldn’t move… they were extra careful with my left arm and wrapped it loosely. I was then loaded into the back of the ambulance, the paramedic got into the back with me, the driver in the drivers’ seat and my dad chose to sit in the passenger’s seat in the front of the ambulance. I could overhear dad talking to the driver, “We can’t afford any of this. Do you know how much even this ambulance ride costs?” and it went on. Strapped down and with tears flowing, I softly said, “Dad, I’m so sorry for wrecking your bike and the cost of all this.” After arriving at the hospital, we waited for hours to be seen. The nurses took me back for x-rays, pulling my arm straight. That pain was worse than the wreck itself. It was a four hour surgery receiving 2 metal plates, 12 screws, and two long bolts that would all hold my arm together. It was a compound fracture that split my upper arm bone. I was in the hospital for a week. Through Story Group Exploration: I came to see that there is good in this story, 'I had HOPE for a great adventure and I had confidence in knowing how to fix a bike.' However, there were lies planted by the kingdom of darkness:
You are a burden
When you are hurting most, you will be alone
If you have enough money, everything will be ok
You are too stupid to even fix a bike
Today, I still struggle with the fear of being poor and unwanted. I often spend money I really don't have just to feel like a whole person with value. The Truth: I was a great and intelligent kid who still dared to HOPE in a life that seemed to have no silver linings. I am still a boy, who in the face of loneliness, takes off to seek out a great adventure. I am more valuable than any amount of bills or money. I have been an electrician for twelve years who has worked on many major projects all over the country. I do know how to fix things. The scale of poor to rich does not define who I am or what I am capable of. The questions for me now are, Will I roll my bike out of the garage again without fear or shame? Will I ride my bike, just for the adventure of it, the wind in my hair and pick up the boy where his stunt man dreams died? Is he worth the risk? Yes, he is and OFF I go.