Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

The Day She Rode Away

By Michael Casey

My first Harley-Davidson was the

single greatest material possession I’ve

ever owned. It was the source of intense

feelings, which led to the most difficult

decision I’ve ever made. Those feelings

stemmed from a roadside memorial

made of bright blue and yellow faux

flowers, a picture of a young man

framed in white poster board, and a

Mylar balloon reflecting the sunlight.

On the street was a long black mark

the width of a motorcycle tire. There

lay a dark and unsettling stain on the

asphalt where the black mark ended.

The last ride this young man took on his

motorcycle made the possibility of death

seem so much more real to me. The

events that took place on this stretch of

road made me realize that I had to let

go of my beloved customized bike.

This was the Harley I had always

wanted and one that I intended to keep

forever. I spent countless hours and

thousands of dollars customizing her to

reflect my personality. We rode in the

bitter cold, under the scorching heat of

the sun, and through rainstorms, which

had turned roads into small rivers. Her

engine roared and vibrated resonantly.

The sound was a thunderous, deep

hum, which continuously reverberates

in my mind. Her mechanical breath

created a flurry of dust and dirt as she

exhaled through the brilliant, mirrorlike

chrome exhaust pipes. In the seat,

nothing could breach the pseudo armor

created from the pride and feeling of

riding this iron horse. All I could think

was that if I sold this bike, all the effort

By Michael Casey

put into it would be worthless.

Passing the memorial every day

saddened and angered me. I was angry

at the thought of selling what I saw as

the perfect motorcycle. I was angry

at my own selfishness for putting this

thing ahead of the ones I love, angry for

having paid hundreds each month for

the loan and insurance when it should

have gone to my family. Most of all, the

vision of the memorial saddened me

with the possibility of turning a wife

into a widow and leaving a 3 year-old

daughter to grow up without a father.

The thought was too serious to ignore.

So the time I spent sitting in the flameembroidered

leather seat became less

and less.

Sensing that the last ride was

coming soon, I drove to a park and

without thinking or hesitating, slipped

through the gate. Riding down an

old, bumpy, paved path, dotted with

enormous oak trees draped with

Spanish moss, I spotted a clearing.

Here the path ended, and there was a

field of green, soft, wispy grass; it was

a beautiful clearing aligned magically

with the setting sun. I had found the

perfect place to photograph my bike for

the “for sale” ad. I was finally ready to

let go of my beautiful bike.

Shortly after placing the

advertisement in the local paper, my

pride and joy was sold. The day she

rode away, I understood that while she

wouldn’t be my last bike, I wasn’t ready

for my first.

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