Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)
TITLE: Big Wheel
By Carolyn Miller
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Watching the sunset colors dance through the tiny window of our garage, butterflies flickered in my belly. “Oh hurry, Daddy, hurry,” I pleaded, unaware that my nonstop comments were delaying his work. After all, such a simple assembly should have taken but a few minutes.
When Dad needed a hammer, Jeanne instantly yelled, “Right here,” as her black curls twisted in the sunshine. We both served as Dad’s aides, delivering whatever he needed on a dime. Jeanne was older, although we both stood at the bottom of the pecking order with four other grown up siblings. For the most part, I liked playing with her in spite of a few uneven brawls to flavor our day. She was skilled at bossiness, yet I knew how to shed enough tears to make her pay. Being the youngest and the cutest had its advantages. Nonetheless, her banner of loyalty waved high on my birthday, and I knew she was excited for me to ride my new bike. Shortly we would join together in the summer evening ritual.
Our empty cul-de-sac would soon be filled with the neighbor kids, ready to play. Even a small gathering made for the perfect sundown jamboree. “Find me those instructions,” Dad said, with a hint of irritation. In a single motion, Jeanne snatched them from the box and handed it over. I stared out the window, catching glimpses of tires and shoes lining up in a semi-circle. To my delight, the choice for that particular evening’s bustle was bike riding.
Opening my new bike had been thrilling. Twitching with the electricity that flowed from my eyes down through my fingers, I stole another gaze at the largest package. “I know what it is and I’m not gonna tell you,” bragged Jeanne, eyebrows raised.
That one tall box was hugged in Hallmark wrapping paper, while my other presents were wrapped in Sunday’s cartoons. A tag dangling from the top read “Happy 5th Birthday Carolyn.” With the slight nod from Mom, and a squeal from Jeanne, my excitement was unleashed with barmy curiosity. I tore the paper off like a lioness tearing into fresh kill. And there it was, a sight to never forget, my brand new Big Wheel bike.
I suddenly felt small.
Finally the red seat snapped into place. I gazed at Daddy, my tender hero. Jeanne’s eyes doubled. I couldn’t get onto the bike fast enough for my racing mind. Surely it was time to utilize my bionic legs and shock even my sister by my superhuman speed.
Indeed, Jeanne always did run faster than I, but I let her win. Lifted by the tumultuous launch of sheer bionic power, my wiry legs positioned mid air for a poised landing onto the Big Wheel. “Yee-ha,” came a thunderous loud voice -- but not from my mouth.
Surely it was a nightmare. The two shadows--girl and bike--swirled past me. There went Jeanne and my Big Wheel, like two new best friends joy riding.
The heat from my head sizzled, sending an electric current from my sneakers to the pavement. In rage I chased my bike a full lap around the cul-de-sac. Jeanne’s black curly locks flowed in the tailwind until she reached the driveway where Dad stood, arms crossed.
Even thirty-three years later, we can still laugh about that day. Periodically I tease her by squealing “Yee-haw” and then shout, “Stay off my Big Wheel or else!”
Today is my son’s fifth birthday. I plan to protect him from envious siblings eyeing his presents. I suddenly feel old.
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