Sunday, September 11, 2011

The helmet–a short story

I’m taking a writing class at the university. Since this blog is really just my journal I thought I might go ahead and post some of the short stories. It might be fun to look back and see if I get any better at writing. 


The helmet

An outstretched hand was dangling before me. The voice boomed, “Are you alright?” I was sitting on the embankment. My head was throbbing, my ears were ringing. My bicycle was twisted on the ground next to the thicket that defines the border of the trace.

I reached for the hand and an electrical pain shot first from my arm then through my shoulder and up my neck. I brought my arm back to my lap. With my other arm I took off the pearlesk white helmet. The shiny plastic was now scuffed. The inlaid carbon fiber reinforcements were undamaged. The Styrofoam, the part of the helmet that absorbed the force was crushed and cracked. I let the equipment fall to the ground.

This helmet had been with me all summer. A part of my cycling kit. It was an extension of me. I had ridden thousands of miles and experienced countless adventures. The helmet was only noticed when it was not worn. On occasions, when flying out the door to meet the group one would realize that something was missing. A little more wind through the hair or the sunglasses not fitting just right. These were rare occasions and you always turned home and completed the uniform. The helmet was mandatory.

The pace had picked up and we were speeding through the countryside. All skill levels were present and the pace would decide who would stay at the top. I was fighting for my position knowing full well that if a gap developed between my front wheel and the back wheel of the rider in front of me then all would be lost. My eyes were focused only on that back wheel. Nothing around me mattered. I was riding with sharp focus and high effort. Drops of sweat formed on the brow of the helmet. I would shake my head periodically and cause them to drop. Another would instantly appear.

I heard nothing when the rider fell. The bike in front of me folded in half and crumbled. The blurred background immediately froze. No longer smooth, the asphalt was now rough and full of pebbles. My front wheel, which I had been staring at so intently stopped. The momentum carried me over the rider and head first into the pavement.

I braced my limp arm against my side and grabbed the outreached hand with what I would now call my good arm. I got to my feet. My bike was brought to me. There were scrapes and dings but it was better off than I was. I rode home in pain.

I took the helmet off and placed it on the shelf, next to the red helmet with the crack. These are trophies of the ride.

I heard the knock on the door and saw the man in brown running towards his truck. A plain brown parcel had been left on my doorstep. I knew the contents of this box. It contained a shiny new helmet waiting for adventure.