Sunday, October 31, 2010


I sure was hungry and anxious to see what the guy across from me would be fishing out of the murky caldron in the center of the table. There were five us sitting around the two little Formica tables pushed together, I was given my own little wire basket on a stick to ladle whatever I wanted out of the liquid I was warned wasn’t for consumption, I felt safe going for the familiar chunks of thick white potato that had picked up the flavor of the grey water. They were delicious.

It was followed by something that looked like an uncircumcised cocktail wiener, a little red bulbous tube peeping out of a pale sheet of fleshiness. “Frank,” the guy who was quickly piling goodies on my plate, spoke no English, and could only say “beef,” redundantly identifying the only item on the plate that was recognizable to me. “Emily,” the 21 year old girl who ran the place spoke a fair amount of English, said, “I don’t know what you people call this,” to whatever morsel I pointed to. Her husband looked on, lovingly at her, kindly amused by me as I pointed at each new dripping gift; they all were impressed with my willingness to eat each and every unsolved mystery on my plate.

Truth is, it was all quite tasty; the company pleasant; “Emily,” her husband, “Frank” and the delivery guy from Ecuador, who spoke little to no English but had an affinity for fine Men’s cologne which he reapplied like he was going on a date each time he ran out to make a delivery. Everyone was up and down from the table – multitasking between the bountiful feast and keeping the Friday night business hopping. Originally this dinner was planned for their entire extended family, but some little one got sick which meant the 18 that were expected had to stay home to tend to him, there must have been enough food for thirty people; fish chunks and unidentified crawlers and beef parts and pork bits all in cellophane yellow Styrofoam trays, there were bags and bags of other unidentifiables they would tear open and one by one they would plop them in the gas fueled divided metal pot before us. Emily was the only one that spoke English and boy, she loved to talk. She met her husband when she was out with some girlfriends in Coney Island. He was out with his boy friends. He had one of his boy friends tell one of her girlfriends that he thought she was nice, and the rest was history. She took him home to meet her parents, the owners of the place, they liked him because he was fresh from China, and a fine cook, they thumbs upped him for their daughter and immediately put him to work in the restaurant. A few months later the young couple gave birth to a daughter and Emily’s mom and dad found their opening to stay home from the grueling restaurant, deciding to raise the child themselves, sending the young couple to run the business full time. Emily had wanted a career in beauty, which was surprising as she wore no makeup, was a bit overweight and a tad slovenly, her sister had been allowed to go to college in Boston, which Emily pronounced “Booostone” – to pursue a degree in accounting but Emily had been given full responsibility to run the the business her parents had started – which prevented her from graduating high school by two classes. She would now have to get her GED to make something of herself but her friends told her they were all too stupid to take the test, it was “very, very hard,” she told me. I had heard the GED was difficult – an overwhelming task with a limited vocabulary, I imagined. I wanted to tell her she wasn’t stupid but she was on a breathless tear to tell me her life story, so I just nodded with each new development and let Emily’s story unfold.

She explained how she had come from China when she was 14 and how she, of course, spoke no English. “I thank a black boy for my English,” she said. She said it a couple of times, her eyes wide and grateful. “I thank a black boy for my English,” she smiled, her moon-like face glowing over the bubbling pot – the fluorescent light making it look magical as she told the story. “He said, Fuck YOU to me,” she nodded. “What do you mean,” I said, the four words I was able to slip in during our conversation. “He come up to me in school and say, ‘Fuck YOU’ to me. I say, “Thank you!” and all the kids around laugh.” She had no idea what “fuck you” meant, but she felt the pain of all the other children laughing at her that day in the lunchroom at school. She went home and asked her parents, “What do fuck YOU mean.” They explained it to her and she was “Oh very so mad.” And from that day she made it her business to learn the language. The next time the boy came up to her and said, “Fuck YOU,” she said, “you TOO,” in response, and from that day she was accepted by all the other school children as one of their own. “See!, I thank this black boy for my English!!” It was a great story, opening with the curious teaser and all, I sat next to her like a child getting a bedtime story, still sucking the tender meat out of the mystery creatures that were put in front of me.

We both sat talking, well, her talking and me listening til the boy from Ecuador started mopping and her husband was finishing up his meticulous clean up of his in-laws' take out place. I stood up and thanked them all but they were focused on their end of day tasks, Emily said, “I’m glad you eat with us, I love the big family dinner. You come please again.” I walked the half block home in the first cold night, that was nice, I thought, feeling toasty and a bit too full having eaten everything piled in front of me by “Frank”, Emily, Her Husband, The Ecuadorian Delivery Guy; my new little Chinese family.

Friday, October 29, 2010


I eat too many eggs.
I don’t floss every day.
I’m too nice.
I’m very mean person.
I hold it all in.
I eventually implode.
I use too many “I’s”.
I don’t clean up my room.
I’m late for work.
I don’t buy eco-friendly.
I glare at tailgaters.
I pay the minimum.
I cook with butter.
I don’t do sit-ups.
I blame other people.
I blame myself.
I beg for love.
I hate myself.
I’m always right.
I get it wrong.
“I” “I” “I”
“I” “I” “I”
Oh m”I”.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Before he delivered my sentence, he called me, “Psycho.”

“Psycho” he said it several times, the word bullying the words around it into submission – a steady string of “Psychos,” his lifeless voice in a deafening one word chant. Walking to the subway after receiving the prognosis, shock turned into shame along the wet walk home from the train.

“Self-actualized”, “Self aware”, these are names I go by, who is this other self that goes there? Grasping at weapons, whatever happens to be lying around at the time, landline, cell phone, text messages, some well-place words, past resentments work well in machine gun fire.

The Superhero flies in pushing other selves aside; she looks like every woman – no cape, no tights, just the word “PSYCHO” printed big and red across her chest.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sudden and violent, the van slams into the cab, throwing me forward from the back seat. First thing I think, I am to blame.

The Hassid pulls out his wallet, the cabbie says he’s sorry, I admit nothing, the blame is on me.

The policeman comes, files the report, questions the drivers, smiles my way. Truth be told, Officer, I am to blame.

Today I was driving, redline raging, spiraling into lateness, spinning me towards hailing, backseat hating then impact, sudden, violent, head on from behind, there in the back, I am to blame.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


There’s a sealed cardboard box in the middle of the room, the Super finally brought it up because I’ve been avoiding picking it up for weeks.

My sister and law had it shipped, she told me it would be coming, the box inside the box marked is marked “Claudia”. She hadn’t opened it, she found the box, it was filled by my mother who now remembers my name but little else. My mom filled it back when she was invincible, she filled the box back then.

The box is unopened there in the middle of the room. I left it down there with the super, down there in the basement where I didn’t have to look at it. Now that it’s in the middle of the room "anxious" overcomes me. Anxious times sad times regret then what now.

The box and I are in a standoff. Now vs. how life used to be, when my mom was sharp, there to talk to, before she talked in sound bites, pull the string, a doll with a sweet voice answers back.

I could make room in my closet, next to the childhood stuffed toys I can’t part with, store it there next to the way things used to be.

The box would stay sealed, taped shut, out of site.

The box with my name on it; packed by my mother back when things were good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


he downstairs
all textin me
like Romeo
down there
jus twenty six
miles runnin
iron pumpin
silver tongue-in
he wants up
just to get up
in here
same as last week
n the week
cause I use to let

new years
he up here
ringin in
the year
my kitchin
pullin it out
over there
in the chair
im like
why you do
he up
comin at me
all in
my face
I'm not
what why wo
the stairwell
still blazin
over there
by the chair
where he go
you go
n do

Sunday, October 17, 2010


How do they speak? The ones who's daddy left home in the first grade, taking one suitcase, the savings account, “who will love me” lingers in curtains, the sofa, the stuffed toy rhinoceros.

How do they speak? The ones who lost interest in the third grade; steady F student majors in hitting or giving head behind the gym.

How do they speak? “WOT U DOIN NO U DIN DATS INORANT ” all caps quill. The words won’t come and fist pump finds face, face finds pavement, the DNA found beneath her nails delivers him home to Cell Block C.

How do they speak? Talkin'smack, bully stares, AK47. “What you lookin’ at, what? WHAT?!!” conversation starter.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I scanned the folding table carefully, looking for a cute souvenir between the rows of brass knuckles, knives, and swastika goodies; clearly this shopping spree was a bust. I hoped to leave the biker party with a cute little skull to hang around a chain, but I’d have to continue my search on Saint Mark’s Place or Bleeker Street, my treasure would not be found among the lovingly displayed anti-Semitic collectibles and illegal weaponry.

It was around one-thirty in the afternoon, the biker I was seeing had asked to meet for coffee around noon to give me the hundred bucks he had borrowed, and to apologize for fucking an old flame he’d invited into town two days before. She’d gotten pissed off and had split a day earlier than planned. He showed up on time which was a rarity, passed me 5 twenties, ordered 2 shots of Jack and a burger and before I knew it I was back on his bike headed to Staten Island to a biker party, location undisclosed - but not before borrowing another 20 for gas.

There were a couple of guys from his club there, one of them a sweetheart who thanked me nicely after I fetched them a couple of Bud’s and dollar shots per my date’s request. I had to stand on the sidelines; I had learned the rules a long time ago. I wasn’t to speak to anyone, particularly men, and especially those from another motorcycle club. There were bikers from one of the hardcore MC’s, they call them “outlaws” or 1 percenters, they stood in a circle, I tried not to be caught looking in their direction, someone might be beaten within an inch or two of their lives – but I didn’t know what else to do. There were some girls there, too – in their own clique, I had seen a couple of them arriving on their Suzuki sport bikes with their longs sleek black hair and 18 inch waists. I wasn’t familiar with the policy on chit chatting with biker chicks, but these didn’t look like the type of girls you call up to go to the museum with on a Sunday, or grab a nice brunch and lattes at a charming cafe – so I decided to err on the safe side and spend this lovely day staring down at my Uggs.

My other choices were perusing the illegal weapons gift table (again), seeing what fare was offered at the buffet table steamer trays, or to seek solace in the last stall in the ladies room where at least I had someone to talk to. My friend Mel was just be waking up in California, and we were conversing in texts. She wanted the update on my biker friend, what had happened with his weekend tryst, how many shots of Jack did it take for me to cave and hop back on the bike; she had been living vicariously through me – the highpoint of her weekend was usually going to Trader Joe’s on the off chance she could get lucky and find their soy product chicken fingers in stock. It wasn’t like she was jealous of me, either - she had tried to coach me out of this affair for weeks, she was the recipient of late night phone calls when he’d blown off our date for the umpteenth time only to show up at 2AM, smelling of Jack, Camels, and God knows what else - maybe cheap strippers I never dared ask. I was staying in it for the sex, the civil breakfasts where we would linger over eggs, sausage, 7-grain toast, and premium grade coffee topped off by more sex. And then there was the bike; I was in love with the bike. The roar of the throttle, the glint of the chrome, he’d start it up and gesture me to take my place behind him, barely fitting my arms around his girth we’d edge towards the sidewalk and clunk, clunk down on the pavement - the day filled with the promise of flight.

Still, it wasn’t long after that biker party that I said my final goodbye. After apologizing for the weekend tryst with an old flame, another ex flew into town after that, then another - a woman I overheard asking him if he would be staying for breakfast while we were on the phone one Saturday morning, he rang my bell that Sunday afternoon - I invited him up and asked him not to come back.

I ended up finding a cute little skull on Ebay finally, which I hung on a chain. My biker had been gone for weeks, we kept in touch on the social networking site, he was in his third relationship since we’d split - it had been a month and a half. I missed the sex, the two-hour breakfast extravaganzas, but mostly I missed the bike. Hell-bent on dating another biker just to get back on a bike, until eureka it hit me, I could actually get a bike of my own.

Yep, I could get a bike, not have to depend on a guy to go flying, maybe have a real chance at love with someone nice who has a bicycle and maybe reads The Times, you never know.

I couldn’t tell you when I fell out of love with the biker. Was it the folding table full of swastika souvenirs? Was it the pile of vaginal freshener suppositories I found by his sink - left behind by yet another ex? Was it the smell of Jack coming off him as we lane split on the Belt Parkway at 2 AM and the threat of imminent death?

The day my bike was delivered, maybe that was it; when I fired her up and clunk-clunked her down into first gear and rode off by myself. My ex-boyfriend biker friend was keeping a watchful eye over me in his side view mirror, he showed up on that first day – sober, precise in his direction, and ultimately supportive as we rode together in formation later that afternoon down Hamilton Avenue. I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor, as a boyfriend he pretty much sucked, but as I was feeling stronger, up on my own two wheels, sun shining - it was all water under the bridge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Martin was one of a long line of men touched with madness. I wondered why they called it “madness,” where else would great thinkers and creative geniuses be without at least a smidgeon of its magic.

To quote him, Martin was a self-proclaimed manic-depressive; on the internet they started to refer to it more as Bipolar Disorder. Big pharma, publishing, and Hollywood latched on to the phrase and took it all the way to the bank. Depending on what you read about Bipolar Disorder there were many different opinions about what caused it, and no real clear-cut definitions of how it was categorically diagnosed. It is suggested that it often runs in families, and this family appeared to be the textbook case study that proves that theory.

The first time I encountered the family gift was with Martin’s nephew, a man I dated one Spring. He had windows of brilliance during sex that would manifest in mid-intercourse soliloquies featuring narcissistic dominant themes that usually took place in a medieval setting . A rich fantastical world, highly detailed in leather, iron, stone, and sinew – circa a long long time ago. There would often take place in a cobbler’s thatched roof abode, it would certainly involve either the man’s wife or mistresses, or his staff of 12 handmaidens – but the theme basically always the same: the “hero” would have his way with the proprietor’s wife or most prized maiden in front of the poor cobbler's very eyes, who at first would be disturbed at the on site abduction, but then have a sudden paradigm shift and be greatly honored that his wife was chosen to be fucked by the slayer. I was never quite sure who the "hero" was, he wasn’t an emperor, a king, he was more of just a “slayer” – much like the ones celebrated in rock albums and video games. In the other corner there was me, present day, on the receiving end of this thickly twisted bedtime tale – he had my undivided attention as the artfully told impromptu story seemed to come from him as if possessed.

A couple of weeks later after an incident they sent him away to a mental health facility, he returned calmed, his flights of fancy barely stirring under the blanket of meds prescribed so that he could act “right” in the world.

Back then I would ask and he would sometimes feed my curiosity and tell me stories about his childhood, about his unconventional upbringing, about his father, a sometimes cruel, always demanding uber genius who was kissed by that special something which lead him to great success in the military as well as in the halls of academia. Then there were the other times, the times the “special” made him “mad”. It was brutal stuff, one time his sons had to fly in and pull a special ops mission to intercept the electroshock therapy session scheduled by their dad's psychiatrist. Years later, Dad's demons are kept mostly at bay, he’s living in Indiana, happily so with a wife, teaching at a local college. I wonder if he ever misses the old days.

So begun my brief period of fascination with Bipolar Disorder. Over a couple of months I absorbed just about everything I could on the topic, I read from reliable medical resources online, joined websites where those with BPD chit-chatted, told horror stories, where their wives, husbands, and lovers advised others on no uncertain terms to, “RUN, don’t walk, for your life.” But then there were those with BPD that celebrated it. Usually they were arrogant geniuses that somehow managed to bottled the stuff and use it to fuel art, commerce, or evil.

For some BPD is a hell inside the head with racing thoughts of terrorizing self-doubt that is beyond one's control. On the flipside, the "good times" mania is reported to often manifest in inappropriate, sometimes ethically deplorable sexual behavior, as well as flagrantly irresponsible spending binges, both behaviors often leading to personal and financial ruin, and failed romantic relationships. But as I poured through these forums, I would come across the one or two with BPD that embraced their illness, celebrated it, wouldn’t have it any other way; to them, it wasn’t a disorder or disease, it was a cherished gift. And from his proud declaration of his wildly swinging state of mental health, playfully described in the personal description box on the social networking site, Uncle Martin was one of those guys.

I unearthed his writings on the site during the period I was having historical reenactment sex with his nephew. My date's uncle, Uncle Martin was an open book, literally – he had no security settings in place for his page, he appeared to have no boundaries literally and figuratively – and in this spirit his page did not disappoint. He looked like one of the family, they were all big-boned and big-brained – his photo confirmed the former, his writings the latter. His writings were mind blowing. He posted often, and more times than not, the stories and poems were over my head which I didn’t allow to get in the way of my ability to relish them. Both enjoyable and elusive to me, they often earned comments of wry ridicule from the other family members/madmen, ridicule apparently another trait hardwired into the family DNA given their sometimes passive aggressive, subtly cruel banter on the social networking site. However, I knew better in spite of my average IQ, his content was off kilter, completely non-linear, yet always lyrical and completely original. There was one piece in particular that I actually got because it was so simple. The piece was simply about someone falling from a skyscraper window and their slow decent on to the pavement. No profundity, no epiphany – his beautiful gift for capturing the pedestrian details as they enter the mind of this average business man as he falls to his certain death. For me there was a comfort in the characters anti-climactic, cathartic descent.

Damn, those manic-depressives are good. Those first few weeks were magical wtih the guy I saw for awhile, Martin’s nephew, when he was in the thick of his mania. And his brother, too, he possessed a bit of the gift – his sometimes cruel, audaciously funny spot on observances that took the day on the comment threads. Then the father who sired them both and his mental triumphs and lessons, and this guy Martin, with his open page, no security settings, no self-editing, all raw and beautiful. He posted some “flair” recently on his web page – a virtual badge that you would put on a bulletin board or on the pocket of a favorite denim jacket that read: “I don’t suffer from INSANITY, I ENJOY every minute of it.”

This “insanity,” this “madness,” I don’t qualify for any special honors, I can only claim some average neurosis. It passed me by, I suspect that my grandmother possessed some form of clinically defined mental illness. She painted, used carefully chosen words sparingly and with quiet force. She would hand be beautifully hand written notes that were poetic and startling, and full of wisdom – reaching into her bag for small squares of paper and an ink pen, committing calligraphy to paper in front of my very eyes, she would pass them to me, folded in half. I was seven years old when she came to visit, and later on in that day she became agitated and hysterical, went running from our house to cry and wander the neighborhood returning from the darkness with my grandfather who eventually found her sobbing on a stone wall or something a street or three away. I was scared of her and also bit jealous of her and those like her: the fortunate/unfortunate ones in all their madness.


He’s always a Jeep in my dreams, a black one, to be specific. Sometimes the Jeep is stuck in reverse, or locked behind a chain link fence, sometimes the Jeep is slowly slipping backwards on steep steep hill. Last night the back left tire was springing a leak. I watched the rubber losing air, the rim pressing melted black rubber against the sidewalk.
A friend came to the rescue, filling it with air, I know the hole is there somewhere, I hear the slow leak, I don’t see it but I know it’s there.

One day (night) we were both in the front seat at the same time. A Sunday drive down winding roads, sure-footed tires, gas tank full, windows down all toasty inside.

Not bad for a broken down old Jeep.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I was pretty sure that the guy sitting behind me in the classroom of my motorcycle safety course was a crack head. He stuttered and bounced into the room, a little pint sized guy all skin and bones with full-on jiggy energy, he seemed nice enough – he offered me some hand sanitizer, his hand shaking as he extended the plastic bottle my way.

We broke into teams to go over the handbook material that we would be drilled on later. The three girls in the glass teamed up and we aced the Q & A, knowing our stuff, articulating the regurgitated material fairly well. Most of the guys lagged behind us, baffled when asked to basically read back the material, the jiggy man had trouble putting sentences together it would be interesting to see how everyone would do when we hit the practice track the next day.

Up at 5 AM the next morning, I couldn’t wait to get on a bike and see what they had in store for us. I arrived a bit early along with some others. One of the instructors was running simple drills on his gigantor Harley as we watched. Jiggy showed up just in the nick of time before Monty, the stern curmudgeonly head instructor, gave us a drill sergant-esque run down of the rules of the course. We were told to pick a bike, I went for the shiny black 250 that was first in line, the instructor telling me to hold on, I had short legs and should take the diminutive 125, I assured him I could handle it’s 360 lb bulk, and left the junior 125 bike to the lesbian court officer who I swear was a full foot shorter than myself, but with twice the swagger that surely kept the instructor at bay when awarding First Prize in the Shortest Legs Division.

I had been riding my own 250 for 3 months, although still green I knew how to ride in the friction zone, find gears, brake, all the basics. The rest of the students did fairly well, some better than others, but Jiggy seemed to really excel. There is a learning curve, but there are those who you'd call “a natural”, and Jiggy fell squarely into that category. One of the other women dropped her bike, I heard it before I saw it, she must of grabbed the throttle like her life depended on it, I turned around to see her whirling dervish finish, spirally down to her final drop, hand still grabbing the throttle full tilt even as she was on her side on the asphalt. The instructor had to run over and hit the kill switch, which she later bragged about doing herself although we had all seen what really went down. Her boyfriend was an experienced rider, she told us the night before she had already picked out her first bike, some 1700cc cruiser she assured me would be "nooo problem", although it was a good 1500 cc’s over what any newbie should sport. But the instructors gave her another shot, after all – she had gotten right back up on the bike, and had shown up in a 500 dollar Vanson motorcycle jacket, but dropped the bike again not 10 minutes later. It seemed it was catching, another fellow dropped his 250 20 minutes later, his leg caught under the bike, the headlamp cover shooting across the pavement. Both were asked out of the class, the rest of us were bonding based on sheer survival.

Jiggy didn’t really seem to talk to anyone. He wasn’t the most articulate, his pint sized stature made him the weakest link to the other macho boys who paid their $350 to train that weekend. During a break he was off to the side by himself while the other guys were off peeing or trading stories about the sports bikes they were buying on Monday. The only other girl left in the class, that little butch chick was busy texting her significant other on her T-mobile slider, left alone to the side, I took the opportunity to extend some warmth Jiggy’s way.

Turned out the reason he was so slight was because he’d just completed several rounds of chemotherapy. He had been diagnosed with Lymphoma just about a year ago, had been told he wouldn’t make it the year but was one of those against-all-odds percentages, the doctor had been shocked at his progress. He booked the motorcycle course on the phone from his hospital bed, he decided he wanted to get his M class endorsement, buy a small bike, and just travel around, wherever the bike took him. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, he was matter of fact in the way he told his tale - bouncing from foot to foot with that jiggy vibe, I wondered where he got all that energy. I admired his fortitude and could relate to his plan. I hadn’t had a near death experience, but between getting mailings with the big letters “AARP” on the outside, and having the same conversation week after week with my mother who’d been diagnosed with Dementia - I couldn’t get on a bike fast enough.

After our first day on the riding course it was time to take the written exam which couldn’t have been easier. I patted myself on the back and took a huge exhale when I aced a hundred percent, most got at least a 95, Jiggy squeaked by with an 82 - so we were all invited back to complete the road training and to take the final road exam the next day.

We all showed up early, someone brought donuts. It was cold and still dark, there were ten of us left out of the original 12, I was invited into the circle of boys, all of us standing hoods up in a circle. I was one of the strongest on the track the day before, no one had been listening when I explained I had 600 miles under my belt, I used it to my advantage and let everyone think my “first day” riding was off the charts, it gained me access to the boy’s club. Jiggy was off to the side, like a runt left behind by the pack. He lacked the oomph the rest of us had, his face sunken, his body shaking in the cold, I said good morning and scolded myself for not remembering his name.

After the drill sergeant gave us a good morning verbal bitch slap, we all went over to our bikes for the next drill of the day: shifting up into 3rd gear. Seemed everyone improved from yesterday. Guys that had been lagging the day before seemed to hit their stride. The “good cop” instructor told me he wished every student was like me which was a relief to hear after “bad cop” drill sergeant took every opportunity to motivate me with the threat of an imminent FAIL.

Two of the guys were having difficulty finding 3rd gear then downshifting into 2nd. One of them was Jiggy. The other guy was a silent working class guy who looked like he had angry conversations going on inside his flat topped head. Both he and Jigs kept stalling their bikes on the drills. Drill sergeant blew his whistle and sent the rest of us over to the side. He had the good cop instructor spent about 15 minutes with them before they asking the two weak links to leave the group. Flat Top took off without a word in a hurry, I was convinced he was going to get the gun in his glove compartment and take a few of us out before heading out to his mom’s for Sunday dinner. Jiggy walked towards us with a, “that’s it, I’m OUT.” He said it while walking, we all stopped him from going off to get into his car, or going off to the bus stop, we’d never seen how he got to the parking lot in the mornings, he seemed to appear out of thin air.

“Hey, you gonna reschedule, you’re gonna take it again,” all of us lending encouragement to the little guy who had shown such promise the day before.

“Nah, I ain’t paying $350 again, I’m done,” Jiggy said with a final straw.

“Hey, don’t give up, I’ll give you lessons, give me your number,” one of the more macho guys tried to cajole him, I wasn’t the only one with a soft spot for the little corn-rowed guy – the whole gang seemed to care – even without knowing he’d been walking around with Leukemia the whole time.

“Nah, I’m done wit this shit, I had it,” all his jiggy energy went up to his head, it was shaking from left to right with an adamant “no.”

And with that he was off, his slight form quickly getting lost between the parked cars there in the lot next to the gym - his spirit spent, it’s last breaths taken on an old 250.

Six of us passed to get our M class license that day, the other 6 didn’t, some of them were asked to leave – Jiggy was one of them. I didn’t care what happened to that 6, our pumped up camaraderie null and void once the test results were passed out by the instructors. Still, I wonder what happened to Jiggy after that day, had he gotten a good night’s sleep, bought himself a bike off of Craigslist anyway to pursue his post chemo dream? Or had he really given up on bikes, on treatment, on life altogether? There would be no way to know; I hadn’t taken his number, hadn’t even bothered to get his real name.