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.