Dangerous Compassions

Bluebird of Friendliness

dear friend,

I wasn’t prepared for the emotions I felt riding my trike today for the first time.  I had to trust it not to break.  Slowly I started getting comfortable, pedaling down the street, and I started feeling these intense stirrings in my body.  I started crying and pulled over at a curb.

Ming was on foot.  He caught up with me and noticed I was crying.  “Was that ok for me to leave you behind?” I asked.  I was worried he was annoyed to be trailing me.

“Yeah, I’m great!” he said.

“I’m having a lot of feelings,” I said.

“What are you feeling about?” he asked.

I asked him to touch me, and he put his hand on my shoulder.  I told him, “It’s because my mom is dead.  And because I’m so happy.”  I realized it probably didn’t make much sense, from the outside.

1.  intense satisfied joy at finally doing a thing I really, really wanted to do for a long time–ten years?

2.  physical joy of moving through space–your standard biking joy, I guess, intensified by the following

3.  weird childhood feelings of learning to ride a bike–remembering in my body how it felt to be six years old or so, in Tanglewood (that housing tract so close to the toxic waste dump, I know now)

4.  the trike felt so flimsy, it was hard for me to trust it, and when I started to trust it wouldn’t break under my weight, I felt comfortable, and it was moving to me–something bigger reverberated out, like I could trust the world, which I usually don’t trust, which was sad and happy mixed together

5.  deep eptness, that Ming and I could make something happen that I really wanted to happen

6.  pain that Mom is dead and I would normally tell her about something like this, txting her pictures–grief

7.  deep gratefulness to Ming for helping me get what I need, admiration of his generosity and skill and profound willingness–so much love

8.  sorrow about overwhelming poverty right there–why can I ignore it or not feel it, passing by in a car, but on my bike, I could feel the suffering in the broken furniture on the curb, boarded up houses, beat up broken cars, and the racism behind it all

9.  something about insisting on going slow, moving at the exact speed I need to, listening to what I want and what my body’s telling me, feeling really safe about caring for me–I’m a adult now, I can make choices, I can do it based on my own needs rather than total compromise for others

The tires looked a little low, so we turned back.  Someone coming out of her apartment called out, “How cute!  I want your trike!”  She was asking where we got it, how much it cost.  She was telling Ming that cost wasn’t bad.

“You should put a basket on it!” she yelled.  “You need a basket!”

I realized how cheap it really is, considering how much a car costs, and registration, gas, all that.  Wow, yes.  How beautiful, that I can convey myself, nothing to do with the price of oil, or making pollution.  In fact, healing my body.

Home again, Ming tinkered with my trike in the courtyard.  I cried again, hugging him, overwhelmed with gratefulness and grief.  The softness of his shirt, the solidness of his body, his being there for me so steadfastly, helping me do what I need to do.

He took it out to ride in the street for a minute and see if he did a correct thing.  I said, “It’s so pretty.  I think I named it.”

Then he was locking it up, I was moved to see our wheeled conveyances together in the rack, like you were our absent family member, or our wheeled conveyances were family members to one another, like they loved each other, together in their rack.

Tomorrow when we go out, Ming will ride his bike.  So then I expect I’ll have more emotions, the riding bikes together emotions.

Thank you for helping me be who I am,


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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