Peddling Down Sycamore (Flash Fiction)

(This story is a continuation of the previous post "The Party," although it stands alone as well.)

Joanna peddled the bike and began to giggle.  The giggle turned into the kind of laughter that has a life of its own, the kind that leads to hiccups and snot and tears.  She had to stop riding.  She couldn’t keep her balance in the midst of the hysteria. She was outside of her life, outside of the trappings.  She was riding a child’s bike away from her grownup party.  Joanna took a deep breath.  She felt free.

A car pulled up beside her.  It was Melissa, on her way to the party.  Melissa recognized that look in Joanna’s eyes as she got out of the car.  They had been best friends a long time, ever since they bonded over Jackson Browne at Donna Sharnel’s sweet sixteen party.  Joanna shook her head, and knew that she didn’t have to explain. 

They stood together, in silence, at the corner of Sycamore and Adler, and Joanna began to cry.  The tears and the laughter felt the same, out of control and freeing.  She couldn’t quite put words to it yet, but she knew that something had to change. 

Joanna and Melissa each had much to be grateful for.  They had husbands and houses and wonderful grown children. They had the trappings of the kind of life that other women only dreamed of, but Joanna felt trapped in it.  She had always dreamed of more.  She longed for the feeling of arriving at her destination, of contentment.  Melissa knew that Joanna was either going to have to find the magic again in the life she chose, or she would have to choose again. 

Joanna was like that.  She was always starting over, like a child who was never satisfied with her drawing – always crossing out and starting over.  She hadn’t learned to see the beauty in the mistakes.  She hadn’t learned to treasure the cracks and the repairs.  She hadn’t learned that magic is always there, waiting to be discovered. 

2 comments

  • D

    D

    wow. funny how we often need to be our child to feel free. is feeling free only an act of childhood? even as an adult, is feeling free THE feeling of being in touch with our child? i love this story. short. powerful. having everything except whatever fills the 'hole'. uncontrollable(manic) laughter turning to tears. i identify with that strongly having used humor to hide fear most of my life. the image of the bike in the driveway, the leaving the party inadequately dressed and just going, going somewhere, anywhere but back in there. anxiety is in there waiting. you write interesting stories. thanx, d

    wow. funny how we often need to be our child to feel free. is feeling free only an act of childhood? even as an adult, is feeling free THE feeling of being in touch with our child? i love this story. short. powerful. having everything except whatever fills the 'hole'. uncontrollable(manic) laughter turning to tears. i identify with that strongly having used humor to hide fear most of my life.
    the image of the bike in the driveway, the leaving the party inadequately dressed and just going, going somewhere, anywhere but back in there. anxiety is in there waiting.
    you write interesting stories. thanx, d

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment d. I think we learn our truest joys in childhood. I believe there is a brand of freedom for adults, but the tapping into what brings our deepest beings joy is a precious type of freedom. There is magic in touching that. You can't buy it...

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment d. I think we learn our truest joys in childhood. I believe there is a brand of freedom for adults, but the tapping into what brings our deepest beings joy is a precious type of freedom. There is magic in touching that. You can't buy it...

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