Always, watch the road.

The road spans convexly, and if I dared to pedal along its edge, dandelions and grasshoppers would greet my fall. The hill below, slanted and harsh, takes the clumsy to a charming enclave. Dispelling the occasional cowrie shell, the Pacific Ocean kills. I remember the newspaper headlines – “Two Young Marines Swept out to Sea Watching Typhoon Bart.”

Early March with cloudy weather. Not a bit too sweltering. Like any other Saturday, I slipped into tights from Kindergarten, snapped on a helmet approved to protect the precocious musings of fourth graders. I turned ten three months ago, but only outgrew training wheels days before that. Normalcy and friendships formed like calluses. A death grip on my handlebars. To a few special people was I securely attached.

Spinning my legs like spokes of wheels made me forget about math tests, and speeding was a crime to commit unpunished before turning sixteen. I squeezed my brakes in excess force, but the jolt in itself electrified.

I biked on the inside of that road, defying oncoming traffic. In this part of the world, the right lane’s left, and vice versa. Five minutes into the ride, and I roll across a thick pile of rope. Perhaps a deflated tire.

But tires are not sold in shades of yellow green. And ropes do not hiss, their ends not triangular. Neither possesses the capacity for pain. Neither makes a sound. And neither leaves you dead, or with legs unable to spin.

How I escaped a snakebite.


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