Part 7: Collisions
I’m blind upon waking. It’s the noontime sun streaming in through his curtains and I hate this apartment. I have to leave. He’ll be fine waking up alone, but I’ll go crazy if I stay because nothing’s moving in here, nothing’s breathing in here, and the only colors I see are yellow, white, tan, and beige. And those are polite names for them! And there’s a folding chair in the corner! I dress quickly, steal a pair of sunglasses I see on the counter, and leave without a sound.
And of course I don’t answer when he calls ten minutes later. Or the time after that or the time after that. What could I have said? What could he have said? I’ll talk to him later when I have words but right now they won’t come. My head is a jumble of different shadows and pieces of fabric and ribbons of thought that don’t go anywhere. I can’t be expected to talk to anyone when I’m in such a state. I just cannot.
When I finally speak to him later he’s visibly upset. Fine. Makes sense I suppose. It happened like this: I had gone outside to check my mail because I was waiting for a package from my sister and there I see him standing outside my gate. He’s got me. I let him in because I have to, and he starts asking all these questions like “What is your problem?” and “Why won’t you answer me?” and “We need to talk about what happened last night.” The last one isn’t a question, but still. He’s freaked out but no one saw us, no one was with the man when it happened, and no one would ever expect it to be us. We don’t look like felons, we look like BYT’s, like stars on the screen. It’s almost criminal.
Only you know we were at that bar last night. Only you and your performances. They’re maddening and they’re maddeningly effective, but I won’t ever tell you that. Probably because you already know.
I’m thinking about all this on my way home from a quick sale in the South Loop, pedaling easily through the dark streets almost home when another cyclist speeds past me right up on my left side, almost grazing my shoulder.
“ON YOUR LEFT” he screams, and I know immediately who it is. I pedal harder to catch up while yelling something about you being a dick or something like that. You slacken your pace and now I’m right up side you, still yelling. You push my arm and I retaliate with a shove of my own which apparently is enough put you off balance so much that you fall. Your bike collapses, catching mine as it does, and I go down too. My limbs are all caught between metal bars and spinning tires and pavement.
We untangle ourselves from the wreck and I’m still yelling and now you’re yelling too and somehow there’s a cop car slowing down alongside us. Maybe because we’re in the middle of the street and our discarded bikes are blocking a whole lane, but there aren’t any cars coming! It’s almost the middle of the night! This is what I tell the officer who has gotten out of his car and is coming over to tell us to “take it somewhere else.”
You say something like “Yeah, officer tell her how it is,” and I absolutely can’t stand you so I lunge forward and shove you as hard as I can, which makes you come at me, and suddenly there’s another officer in the street pulling you away from me. I get one more good swing and catch you right on the nose before I get pulled away, too. I see blood but no satisfaction because your nose bleeds all the time for no reason. All the goddamn time! The lights on the cop car are on now and I think that’s ridiculous. They’re telling me I need to come with them to the station, and I think that’s also ridiculous. So I tell them.
They ignore me, and you’re voicing your hearty agreement with the officer, who then tells you to shut your mouth and makes the mistake of putting his hand on your shoulder. You whirl around and shove him and now here we are both in cuffs in the middle of 18th and some chick wearing a beret has appeared from nowhere and is writing things on a notepad and asking me for a “statement.” “Whose fault was the crash?” “Do you know each other?” “Was this a domestic dispute?”
I sit shotgun in the squad car on the way to the station because I told the officers there was no way I was sitting by you. I said I thought you might attack me or something which was probably dramatic but I didn’t care. I still don’t care as we cruise through the empty streets with our new friends Officer Michaels and Officer Lurez and the wind is ruffling my hair and it feels pretty good.
Officer Michaels rolls up my window after a minute though so I can’t enjoy it. He looks annoyed and so does his partner Lurez. You’re in the back seat next to Lurez talking about “Shouldn’t you just let us out to settle it by ourselves? Aren’t there gang boys out there lining up toe tags that you need to take care of?” And now I’m annoyed because you always talk about our neighborhood like you know something, like you’re hard or something. Give me a break and shut up.
I realize I’m saying this not thinking it and now Michaels is telling me to close my mouth and Lurez is warning you about being a smartass and I think this is kind of fun. I catch your eye in the side mirror and can tell you think this is kind of fun too. Oh, what kind of villains are we? What kind of creatures are we? It’s that Peter Pan Syndrome, I believe, and we’ve got it bad. Out the window and into the stars! Let’s go!