I went to pick up my bike today after work. It had been sitting in the bike shop for over two months. I had taken it for a tune up just before my trip, not knowing I would be overextending my travels. The guys from the shop called me a couple of times while I was away, wondering where the hell I was. I felt bad since their little bike shop didn't have a lot of space. But knowing they'd be making money off storage fees lessened my guilt. I approached the shop and suddenly got self conscious. I remembered the cute guy who worked there. Nerdy Bike Boy with green eyes and beautiful tattoos all over his arms. I smoothed my fringe bangs and put my straightened hair into a pony tail. I walked a few steps, stopped, and took my hair out. I looked at my reflection in a parked car window. I wasn't yet used to my new haircut. I slowly made my way to the front of the store, discreetly, but Bike Boy came right out and greeted me. By my first name (which to my surprise he pronounced perfectly). We chatted while he got the bike. He kept asking me questions about my trip, extending the conversation. I held it together. Didn't stutter or trip over myself. Except for one dorky comment about his tattoos being "beautiful." (God. Who says that??)
The shop owner ended up giving me a deal. All the while watching my interaction with Bike Boy. The flirting was over the top. Or was it? I don't know. I just remember playing with my hair so much it started to frizz. We all talked for a while longer, I told them about my writing. They talked about bikes. Eventually I made my way out the shop, walking my bike slowly, steady. And a few steps onto the street, Bike Boy ran out and told me I should come back in a week so he could oil the chain again. I smiled and said thanks. And I continued walking. Slow. Steady. Trying not to trip. But knowing damn well how bad I was tripping. I don't know what I am so afraid of. When I became so hesitant. When I became an impediment to myself. All I know is at that moment, in that instant of instability, shaky legs and all, I felt alive. I felt good.