Saturday, August 29, 2009

Black Label Shadow

I felt like an alcoholic who had been on the wagon for awhile and then fell off and realized it was better than he remembered. Muscle memory went a long way. My leg went over the seat and my foot rested instinctively on the foot peg. I didn't fumble with the key. Kickstand up, ignition on, blip the throttle, noise, vibration...mmm. Feels good. Memories start up with the engine.

Backing out of the driveway was tricky. I guess my leg is still technically broken. Maybe it's healed. Who knows? It doesn't hurt. I put my brace on just for good measure. I'm still a little weak at my knee. I eased out of the driveway and first-geared it to the corner. The alcoholic takes a small sip.

A couple more gears and I'm at the highway. I had planned on just going around the block but I rationalize that the bike needs a little more to keep the seals from drying out and the tires need a few revolutions to keep away dry rot. I'll just go to the first exit and turn around. It's not going to hurt anything. It's like taking a drink and holding it in your mouth for a second to enjoy the flavor.

The on-ramp has never made me smile before but this feels really good. I realized quickly how much difference the windshield made now that I have it off. The wind and noise increase but just add to the feeling of freedom; the feeling of different than normal and yet pleasing. My heartbeat increased as well. Second gear, third... fourth, yes, fifth. Oh, yeah, that's the stuff! I missed this! On the wagon for nearly two months but now I take a long, cool swig of speed until it runs breezy down my chin onto my shirt. The complicated conflict of warmth and coolness mix inside me and come out as a grin I can't stop.

Fifteen miles later, I pull back in the driveway tipsy from the experience but feeling so blessed in my natural high. Several times I have wondered if that beautiful bike and I would ever go down the highway together again and I thank the Lord again for his grace and mercy. I stagger (ok, limp) into the house and grab the camera to share with you my still-intoxicating, always faithful black hooch. Drink it in with me.


The Donald said...

Wow, it really doesn't look too much worse for the wear.

Glad to hear you're back in the saddle again.

Shay said...

That thing you feel running down your chin onto your shirt is grasshopper juice from not having a windshield.