So I had this nasty experience over the weekend I thought I’d share with you guys. Yesterday, early in the morning a friend of mine called me and asked if I could join him for a nature walk at the pavilion. I thought, why not? After all I don’t usually have much to do during Sundays except sleep all day. Plus it had been ages since I last went for a nature walk so I gladly obliged. As I was busy preparing myself and just at the moment I was about to leave the house, this dear friend of mine called me and told me we might actually do a bit of cycling, that is if I was up to it.
I hesitated, if only for a minute. Warning bells were ringing in my head, telling me to be sensible. The last time I rode a bicycle was like fourteen years ago, when I was nine years old. Come on, he says with a laugh. Riding a bicycle is like swimming. Once you learn how to it you can never forget it no matter how many years down the line. Game.
So here we are, at the pavilion. You cannot even begin to imagine how excited I was. So I test out a few bicycles and make a few comments and observations here and there, like the pro I suddenly am. This one’s seat is too high, this one is too old. This one has pedaling problems etc etc. the old man servicing them listens keenly and nods more than once. He knows an impostor when he sees one, but what the heck; he lets me go on and on while saying nothing. He probably has too little energy left in him to start arguing with me, what with all the servicing he has been doing since morning. Eventually my friend chooses his and I pick mine.
I get on my bike and try it for a few seconds and suddenly it dawns on me the skill isn’t as ingrained in me as I thought it would be. “Are you okay?” my friend asks me and I wave him away. “Once a pro always a pro, remember?” I shout over my shoulder and he smiles.
I’m cycling now and before I realize it I’m going down a hill. During the few minutes that follow, I can’t really explain in detail what happened. I remember going down the hill at an alarmingly fast speed and somewhere in the distance my friend was shouting “use the brakes!” I tried to use them. I swear. Or maybe I didn’t. I don’t know. It happened too fast. I saw a couple coming towards me, their expression that of pure horror. I was going too fast and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. In the confusion, instead of going slow with the pedals, I increased their momentum thinking maybe it could help me take control of matters. And instead of looking straight ahead I stared down in horror, down at the ground I was sure was going to swallow me. I removed my legs from the pedals and tried to stop myself from the fall I had realized by now was inevitable. It probably made things worse. I don’t know how exactly it happened. My friend tells me I fell Hollywood style, you know, like in the movies (ha ha ha) and I’m sure he was just trying to make me feel better. Before I knew it I was on the ground, my body aching all over, my favorite tights torn on both knees (sob sob). It had rained the previous night so the ground was muddy and yes, my white t-shirt was now covered in dirt.
I got up immediately, just crying “oh my God” over and over again. My friend was besides me in a flash and at that moment I was just dying of embarrassment. In fact I can safely say I have never been more embarrassed in my entire life. And I had completely forgotten about the couple that was coming towards my direction until I had the guy say in a sympathetic tone “pole sana.” Ohh the humiliation! Honestly they would have made things much better if they’d laughed at me or something. But pity? No, I can’t stand pity. My friend was there comforting me and because I could feel the sting of tears in my eyes, I buried my face in his chest (he’s very muscular *smile*) and that comforts me. For a moment anyway.
“Let me drive you back home,” he says sympathetically. At that particular moment I’m sure he was wondering why he hadn’t gone to hang out with his boys. Later on while we were laughing about it, he told me jokingly that at that minute he wanted to ride on and never look back. Act like he had never laid eyes on me. Yeah I know, funny, not.
“No,” I nod emphatically “I have not come this far to give up now.” I was trying as hard as I could to hide my pain as I got up and started cycling again.
As if I had not had enough beating for a day, the rain started raining!!! Not your usual Mombasa rain. It rained torrents! And by then we were three kilometer into the forests! Trust me, that was one shitty weekend I had right there. By the time we got back to the starting point, I was soaking wet and wondering where I had wronged the gods.
The old man stood there, hands akimbo, his eyes swimming in tears. Ohh, he’d been laughing alright.
“How was the ride?” he asks knowingly and In spite of everything that just happened I can’t help but smile.
“She did amazing,” my friend says proudly. “She could have gone back immediately after she fell, but she decided to carry on.”
Well, that counted for something, at least.