I recall the first time I tried to ride a bike. I was around 7 years – lean and short-haired. I had a small red bike with worn-out training wheels. Its rubber grip has soft vertical lines to it. I always held it tightly while I aimlessly drive around every corner, puddle, and tuft of our street. My Gemini-self had always felt giddy for every forelock carelessly wafted by the wind, notwithstanding the sweat and dust on the air.
It was a mid-summer afternoon, and the heat was pleasingly bearable. Papa decided that it’s time for me to ride the bike without any aid. He removed the training wheels and we set off to practice. He started to push me, a second after did I pedal. I was feeling more happy than anxious. I kept on pushing the pedals while I maintain my pace as he continued to push me. After a few meters, everything felt so lightweight, so easy, and so… right.
“Let go, Papa!” I said, but I did not hear any response.
I slowed down and stopped. I was surprised to see my dad around 5 feet away as I glanced at him over my shoulder. It was a success, I thought. I did it. My smile faded in an instant as I laid my eyes on his. He was looking at something else, and that moment was pure solitude. I wondered if he sensed my heightened confidence when I permitted him to let go. Even so, with clouded thoughts, I circled and pedaled my way back to him.
Up to this date, I still don’t know if my dad was able to hear that moment I consider special. If I didn’t bother to ask, it didn’t cross my mind.
My 2018 was unlike any other. To compare, it feels as if I’m standing on an edge of a cliff, where one foot is stitched on the ground and the other stepped on air. I faced uncertainty as often as I possibly thought, and it has pushed me off guard. I think I’ve never prayed as much as I did for comfort. Anxiety crept in every passing day as I question my self-worth. Is it a mistake to wish for something immense? So immense that I daydreamt of its familiar taste. What made things worse was knowing it to be an arm-length reach ready for my grasp, but somehow has found its way out between my fingers’ crevices.
I murmured beneath every unease sigh that Papa would do something about my lingering desire. Silly of me to think that proximity would mean urgency. Papa could at least gently pinch God’s conscience to stabilize my unsteady breath. Like an immediate action, or a magical yes after all the weeks of waiting. Is Papa’s gaze still pierced at something else? I find myself swallowing a familiar bolus of solitude. Before long, I choked as I took my courage to confront; did God turn a deaf ear on me as well?
Confrontation is such a divine gesture. It takes one’s cup brimming with apprehension to do so. It’s normal to be taken aback by interrogations we didn’t see coming. Yet, what’s worse is that we knew long before of the answer, but we deny it to ourselves; pretending it didn’t ever cross our mind.
“I’m meant for something greater.”
Across all the pulled strings and letting go of every ticking hand of the clock, I kept on pedaling. I was back as my gnawing 7-year-old self.
“Papa, I know how to bike now,” I said. I found out he just ended a conversation with my mom. His low murmuring voice almost sounded identical to a sweet hum as if he was agreeing. Maybe he saw me. Maybe he knew that I already could even before he removed my training wheels. And maybe, 2018 was not a no for me. Instead of a not-now; or not just yet. Maybe I’m meant for something else, something greater this 2019.
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