Bikes on Seven Street

A group of six met to ride bikes each summer night on Seven Street at about 7:30 p.m. Only one of them actually lived on Seven Street and of the six she was the only girl. The six met down the street from her ranch style home each night because it very nearly equidistant to each of their houses and two blocks away from 7 Eleven. When all were present, they would ride six abreast until the streetlights came on and each would peel off one by one in their respective parts of town until the hum of their motion was reduced to a single pair of wheels and handlebars turning onto Seven Street. The first of them to die was always the second to peel off and when the other four boys heard about the drowning none of them had facial hair. The loss made their route considerably shorter and they all noticed but never mentioned it to the others. They still met on Seven Street at 7:30 p.m. The second to die liked to ride without touching his handlebars and he was good at it, too. He passed away before their second homecoming dance. He had been sick since puberty and when he did finally die he had long since stopped riding bikes. His mother wouldn’t let him leave the house and regardless of his desire to be with the others, he was too weak to ride. The third passed away when the remainder of the six had traded their bikes for automobiles and that was exactly why he died third. He would often crash his bike in the dark spaces between orange light cast by street lamps. It was considered a funny routine to dust himself off and lift his bike from the pavement. The girl from Seven Street was next but she died a woman and a rather old one at that. Sickness claimed her too and with her daughter at her side she asked why children didn’t ride bikes anymore. Her daughter didn’t have much of an answer. It seemed a silly question to ask from under white sheets but perhaps it wouldn’t have if she had been there with her mother those nights on Seven Street or if any of the six had been there in the hospital when her breathing ceased. The final two died three days apart about a three day’s drive apart. They hadn’t spoken for what now was the majority of their lives and why is easily explained. Both loved the girl from Seven Street and one had married her. Also, neither had touched a bike in decades.

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