A Boy and His Borrowed Bicycle

A Boy and His Borrowed Bicycle

I grew up borrowing my neighbor's older brother's bike. I was too small for the bike, so I had to ride it standing up - feet on the pedals only, no sitting.

Last week I rode my bike around my neighborhood the exact same way I did as a kid. Mentally, it brought me back to a story I haven’t shared in over 20 years.

Growing up in the neighborhood only had 2 perks - cheap rent and kids everywhere. Everyday after school a few of us would get our bikes (I’d borrow one) and ride until sunset. I can still hear my mom saying to “be back inside before dark.” Most of us were savvy 10 year olds who knew the streets. But then there was Emmanuel, the neighborhood bully. He was bigger and stronger than all the boys his age. We’ve all seen Emmanuel fight grown men before so we avoided him at all cost.

One day Emmanuel surprised Jerry, Ray, and I at the park. Instantly, Emmanuel smelled fear in the air. On this particular day, Jerry was his target and Emmanuel took full advantage. Jerry managed to escape and run home. While Emmanuel stuck around laughing and talking with us - as if nothing had happened.

Twenty minutes had passed by when Jerry showed up with his dad..

As things escalated I just stood there watching, frozen with shock.

This time, Emmanuel was the one who managed to escape and run home. Ray and I continued to ride our bikes through the evening until we saw Emmanuel walking to Jerry’s apartment with his two uncles. By that time the sun was setting so I had to be home. I never knew what happened with that situation and a part of me is glad I didn’t.


That day is when I learned three valuable life lessons - even at such a young age.

  • What goes around comes around.
  • Fear reveals character.
  • Family first.

Until next time,

Joey


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