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Open Letter to the Person Who Stole My Bike

By Meghan Henoumont

 

I hope you’re enjoying blue eyes. Doesn’t she ride well? Yeah, she has a name. If you change it, keep in mind she’s from a different time, 1963 to be exact, a time when people didn’t have to worry about their bike being stolen at school. May I make a suggestion? Suzie or Molly, just not Thelma or Ethel, she’d hate those. Trust me, I knew her well. I once carried her on my back through a flood. I had her for four years. She was my sole form of transportation. She was the only stable thing in my life for most of that time.

 

How easy was it for you to break the lock off and ride away from RIGHT IN FRONT of building 11? Did anybody see you? I’m sure you just pretended like she was already yours. I’m sure you didn’t care that it was a week before midterms because usually, I’d have already ridden home. I stayed late to study. I’m guessing that anyone stealing a fellow low-income student’s bike doesn’t really care about midterms or grades. I’m guessing you never really give much thought to anything but yourself. When you saw her locked to the railing did you have any thought? Or was it just a natural reaction? Like eating steak: the fork to the meat, the knife cuts, lift fork, and chew. Repeat. How sad.

 

I like to give everyone a chance. So, let me tell you a few things about blue eyes and myself, that I’m sure you didn’t know when you kidnapped her. We met in a used bike shop on Freret. I was 25. I had gotten a job teaching Pre-K and needed a way to get from the Irish Channel to Bayou Saint John everyday. It was a 45-minute commute there and again back. From then on we spent a lot of time together. We raced streetcars between the tracks on canal at 2 in the morning. We read under trees along the bayou, dreaming through the hottest part of the day. We greeted my students in the play yard every morning, smiling, ten sets of tiny hands eager to help walk her to the gate. She went with me on my first ride in City Park after a shattering heartbreak. I leaned against her after, breathless, looking up through a ceiling of leaves, and had a realization: that life would indeed continue, even without him.

 

Those things, they happened, to us. Those are our times, and you can’t steal them. Now she is with you and not by choice. Please be kind to her. She’s been through a lot. I hope you find a meaningful path while riding her, I hope you realize that she’ll need a new chain pretty soon. I hope you learn to crave sun-drenched moments, riding free on her back. Now, yes, zoom, go.

 

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