My bike pedals are going the fastest they've ever gone as I'm flying down a steep hill out in the country. The wind is whipping red strands of hair around me. I let go of the handlebars, like mommy told me not to do. My eyes are shut tight as I imagine myself flying away, and landing in someone's arms, someone comforting, someone who smells like lilacs and musk.
I scream and land in the grass with a couple of stains on my jeans. I grunt and watch a red spot form on my knee.
"Are you okay?" An old woman is hobbling over to me. She's got a smile that could melt a heart, which was my first reaction when I met Heather.
"Ungh!" Were my first words to her. I lift myself up and dust off my green flannel shirt. I shake my head and look at my wrecked bike, which wrapped itself around a tree nearby.
"I was watching you from my cottage over there," She points a wrinkly finger at a cozy little home near the ocean. "I was in the garden, picking my carrots, when I heard you scream. I tried to get over here fast enough." She looks at my knee. "Oh, my! Let me take you back to my little home! I'll fix that right up."
She wrapped her arm around my shoulders, and place mine around her hips. She was strong for a woman who looked so old. Her eyes were a very watery blue, just like her neighboring ocean, and her hair was quite gray... I wondered what color it was before.
"Sorry for asking, dear, but can you open the door for me?" Heather asks so sweetly.
I nod and push open the door with my free hand. I could probably walk on my own, I feel fine, but she's got me right now.
Heather sits me down at a small, round table in her tiny little kitchen. I take a look around and notice that the kitchen is the biggest portion of the humble abode. Next to it is the living room/bedroom section. It's all one thing, really. I look over at the table and see a picture of a man. His hair is slicked back he's got a uniform on. The picture's in black and white and in a golden frame. I reach out to touch it.
"OUCH!" A stinging sensation enters my knee. I peer down to see Heather, holding up my rolled up pants leg and adding rubbing alcohol to my wound. "Oh, uh, thanks." I wince as she places a giant, square band aid on my cut.
"Of course! I'm Heather, by the way." She stands up, throws away the wrappers, and shakes my hand. "I suppose, I should get back to the garden before those rabbits come back. Lovely creatures, but hungry little buggers." Heather chuckles and startes walking towards the door.
"Wait!" She stops at the sound of my voice. "I could help you, I mean.... It's the least I could do." I roll my pants leg back down and tie up my chuck taylors as I speak.
"Oh, no. I couldn't ask that of you. You just fell. You MUST be hurting."
"No, really, it's fine." I smile and wonder if I should phone my mother. She'll be wondering if I got swallowed by the "giant" village of Hemmerson, where eveyrone knows everyone.
"Well, alright." She grabs a basket and heads out the door.
I look at the picture one last time, and run to follow her, grabbing a spare basket on my way out.
"Ever tended a garden before, sweety?" Heather bends down, gentley pulls a carrot out of the ground, and puts it in the basket.
"Uh, not really." I try to do the same as Heather, but, instead, roll backwards.
Heather shakes her head, smiles, and says, "Come back tomorrow, darling, when you have all your strength back."
I waltz down the sidewalk, past the barber shop, past the local cafe, and towards the small apartments on the end of the dusty lane that ends town. I wave at the familiar faces, talk to a few people from school, and listen to other people's words roll off of their tongue.
"Ronnie!" Kyle Whiteenberg, my only friend, jumps infront of me and smiles. "Why do you look so sad?"
"I'm not, actually, that's just my face." I chuckle. "I did biff it on my bike and it's totalled."
"That's lame." He sweeps his black bangs out of his eyes and looks me in the eye. "Hey! I should come over for a bit tonight! I want to see what you're mom's making now." With him being an art junkie, it made him even more suseptable to becoming my one and only friend. I mean, we had a lot in common, but I was more likeable when he realize my mom was the one and only Maria Taylor, local artist.
"Well, I'm heading home now, want to tag along? Maybe spend the night?" I grin. Kyle was the only boy my mom let spend the night. She trusted him like her own son.
"Of course! I think some of my clothes are still at your place anyway." He laughs and catches up with my pace.