I see Chico turn the corner to our house.  He is a young man who rides his bicycle from the farms to bring us eggs and milk and vegetables.  I wish I could ride a bike.

We have only one bicycle, my mom’s.  I can’t even reach the pedals.  There is no chance of getting a child’s bicycle until the war is over.

I try getting on my mom’s bike.  I can stand on the pedals and ride without sitting on the seat.   But I haven’t learned to balance myself on a bike.  I look down the long slope, which is paved with cobblestones.  If I stand on the pedals and go down the slope, I can turn on the road at the bottom and the bike will just keep going.   I will be riding the bike!

It is working.   The bike speeds up, but the cobblestones slow it enough that I don’t have to use the brakes.  It is exhilarating!  As I get to the bottom, I hear a chorus of cheers and whistles from the high wall of the barracks.  I turn to the left, and just as I hoped, the bike keeps going.  I pedal it around and circle back.

I see who was cheering.  The soldiers applaud and wave.  If I were surer of my hold on the handlebars  I would wave back at them.  I hope they can see me smiling as widely as I can.



 Taking the bull by the horns

barracks2-8-2013 3-49-41 PM

Military barracks.  Our house was up the long slope to the right.