Ride On

Ride On

Ride On

Buzzzz Buzzzz Buzzzz

I groggily open my eyes.  I press the snooze button one, two, three four, five times just to make sure I have turned it off. Slowly I get out of bed and my feet automatically find my slippers.  I make my bed perfectly so there are no wrinkles.  I hate the wrinkles.  I turn to go to the bathroom, but the little beige decorative fuzzy pillow catches my eye.  It’s crooked. I fix it.  There, I stand back and look at the bed with my hands on my hips. Perfect. I head over to the bathroom down the hall. The sound of my slippers swooshing on the hardwood keeps me calm. I don’t like how dark it is still. I get to the bathroom and turn on the light switch one, two, three, four, five.  The light is so warm and comforting. I turn on the water just slightly and open the side mirror to find my toothpaste.  I’m almost halfway finished with this tube. With my other hand I reach for my silver toothbrush in the ceramic cup to the left. I squeeze exactly the amount of minty paste I want on my toothbrush, but I accidently squeeze too much for my liking. I roll my eyes and dump it off my brush and into the sink. *** I start again and squeeze very delicately, raising the brush and the tube to eye-level so I can make sure I have the perfect amount. Okay got it, now I brush.  One, two, three, four, five in the front.  One, two, three, four, five on the right side. One, two, three, four, five on the left. One, two, three, four, five in the back on both sides.  Five scrubs on my tongue and I spit, one, rinse two, rinse three, rinse four, and rinse five.  As I pat my mouth with my white folded cloth that lives on the counter, I find myself in the mirror.  My greenish blue eyes staring back at me look cold against my pale skin.  I don’t like looking in the mirror.  I quickly pat down my sleek black hair and then swoosh back down the hall to my room. One, two, three, four, five I turn on the light switch.  I already picked out my outfit from the night before.  I take off my pajama bottoms and pull up my jean pants, one of three of the same pair. Next I pull on the black t-shirt I laid out. I unfold the socks that lay beside the shirt and the jeans on the dresser.  The socks are black and they make my feet feel safe as I roll them on.  I find my black converse by the door and put them on.  First my left and then the right, then I tie the left shoelace followed by the right. I straighten up and crack my back twisting one, two, three, four, five times.  I take a deep breath and head down the stairs.  I flick the light on as I turn the corner one, two, three, four, five and grab my black North face backpack from where it sits on the kitchen table.  Mom is probably still asleep and Angela usually sleeps in until around ten on school days anyway.  I go to the fridge to grab my juice box.  I remember there being one left, I have to get another pack today after school so I will have one for tomorrow.  Making a mental note to go buy more, I open the fridge and search the side door where I keep them. There’s nothing here… Nothing?! No…  I have to have my juice.  Who stole it?! I bet it was Jeanine, Angela’s friend.  I hate her, she always tries to talk to me and mess with my things.  She definitely took my juice.  I can feel myself starting to sweat.  No, I don’t want to do this now.  I have a quiz today in math I cannot have an anxiety attack. Not today. I side step over to the kitchen table and slump into a chair. I practice the breathing exercise my therapist taught me.  Breath in through my nose, hold it, and then out through my mouth. One, two, three, four, five times, every time breathing in the calm color yellow and breathing out my anxiety, a dark gray.  It helps, but I still feel anxious. I try to think of alternatives for my predicament.  Larry’s General store is three blocks from my house on the way to the high school.  Maybe they will have a pack.  I don’t like to change anything in my routine. I will get that juice box. I jump up and head straight to the back door to untangle my bike from the guts of the garage.  I search for my bike lock, found it, and after freeing the back wheel from a pogo stick I’m out of there.  I zip the bike lock into my backpack, sling it over my shoulder and mount the bike.  Wow I haven’t ridden this in a while.  I wonder if it’s safe? I get off and examine it thoroughly.  Besides the rust on the wheel pegs and the tire pressure it looks okay.  I get back on and head in the direction of Larry’s.  I look at my phone as I ride and I see I’ve still got twenty minutes before school starts.  Plenty of time if I play my cards right.  As I ride down the street I notice all the things that have stayed the same since I was a young boy.  The smell of the air in the morning like the crispness of a fresh apple, the piles of newspaper at Mr. Jackson’s house because he’s always vacationing in Florida, and the chirping of the bluebirds in buckeye trees in front of the Meyer’s house.  I keep a steady pace and in no time I pull into Larry’s General Store parking lot.  I’ve known Larry since I was eight and I tried to take M&M’s from the counter when I was with my mom.  I thought they were free, but he made sure to correct me.  I never spoke a word to him after that day.  I lean my bike against a no parking sign out front of the store and lock it up clicking the lock five times just to be sure.  I take a deep breath and head for the door.

DING… DING… DING

I open and close the door five times because the noise bothers me- doing this calms me down.  I can feel people staring at me, but I’m used to it.  With my head down I turn and take off for the fridges in the back of the store.  I scan the shelves of each fridge.  Beer, soda, even milk, but no juice?  How can that be? Uh oh, here it comes again the anxiety. Especially since I came all the way here!  I storm out the door and get to my bike.  My hands are shaky and I struggle with the lock. “Fuck you!” I scream at the lock.  I finally get it off and my bike falls to the ground. I kick it. “Fuck you too!” I yell. “I just want some fuckin juice” I say as a sigh escapes my lips. I slump back down to earth, hands still shaking and zip up the lock back into my bag.  I don’t know what to do I have to be in class in twelve minutes and I haven’t had my juice. I throw my backpack next to my bike and sit down beside it on the sidewalk.  I bring my knees up to meet my elbows and rest my head in my hands to calm them.  As I watch the back wheel of my bike slowly spin I breath in through my nose, hold, and out through my mouth one, two, three, four, five.  Okay Garrett, think. If you didn’t have a juice today would it be the end of the world? No probably not, but I just have to have one I think.  I don’t know.  I guess I could just try going to school without it.  The thought makes me sick, but it’s my only option.  I can’t miss class.  I take the biggest breath I have since I lost my phone three weeks ago and stand up.  I feel on top of the world all of a sudden.  I want my juice box, but I think everything will be okay if I just stay grounded.  “Okay”  I say quietly a I pick up my bag and sling in back over my shoulder.  I grab my rusty ol’ bike and kick off.  I feel like I’m flying.  The sun is now officially out and he looks like he’s encouraging me to seize the day.  Okay maybe I will do just that.  And I ride off, winking at the sun one, two, three, four, five times.

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