When I was young, I used to ride my bike and pretend that I was on a broomstick like Harry Potter. I would mount, arching my chest over the handle bars, my foot on the pedal, and with one great kick, I’d push off. I would pedal hard and then stop to glide on the asphalted roads. The wind and gravity kept me steady while my eyes watered from the dust and pollen, a permanent smile carved into my face. Within these moments, I’d find freedom.
As I grew older I incorporated music into my bike rides. I would lose myself in the music, allowing my thoughts to be directed as though a composer was standing at the podium before my train of thought. Colors would swirl before my eyes and suddenly I would be ten thousand feet in the air, riding on my broomstick, narrowly avoiding thunder clouds and planes. The only other presence around me would be the sun, and its radiance powered my broom. Below I could watch other humans play out their lives. Up here, nothing concerned me.
In order to cope with loneliness as a kid, aside from creating vivid worlds, I thought of myself as special. Deep down I knew something was different, something fundamentally did not fit, and I was not like other people. That being said I realize now that I’m not a special snowflake, but even now I can’t deny the abnormal experiences and coincidences that I’ve encountered. Being able to correctly know what someone was going to say before they said anything. Having a “spidey sense” for dangers. Seeing events unfold in daydreams, only to have them more or less materialize later on. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
These days I still imagine myself riding my broomstick along the beach path that borders Long Beach Harbor, narrowly missing obstacles, smiling wide, with the music taking me away. I couldn’t have had this much fun in Maine, I’d constantly remind myself. There were very few days of the year when I could ride in the north, but here nearly any day is a good day. And it’s those rides, and the sun on my back, that’s been keeping me afloat among the chaos.
Mount. Foot on the pedal. Breathe. Push.