It was a beautiful morning at 6:00 O'clock, on a Sunday, as I put the finishing touches to the polish on my bike. Yes, this was going to be a fine ride. I walked into my apartment, had breakfast, a shower, and dressed for the day. We had a show and shine, poker run, planned for the local Food Bank.
I was ready, so I kicked her over, and she rumbled to life. I road over to the old ladies, and as usual she wasn't ready, so I had another coffee. She's a good woman, I thought, even though we where just getting to really know each other. (Two kids, and a goof for an ex.) She loved to ride as much as I did, and she was pretty good in other areas too, so we got along well together. When she was ready, we packed some food into my saddle bags and left for a fine day, and a good ride.
When we arrived at the show and shine, there were already other die-hard bikers putting the finishing touches on their scoots. Deb went off to gossip with some of the other old ladies and I wiped my ride down a final time. Kevin parked beside me and offered a beer; I asked him,
He just laughed. Kevin, Joe, and I had been doing this sort of thing for five years, raising money for the Food Bank and enjoyed every minute of it.
“Let's make sure everyone remembers what to do,” I said.
The parking lot was filling up fast with bikes, and people coming for the show. The boxes where filling up with non-perishable food stuffs and it was almost time for the judging to begin. Our Judges were a couple of local businessmen, and a woman. That's when Ken, who used to be a clubber, showed up with his old lady and a couple of buddies’. His bike was in the back of his half truck, he didn't want to get it dirty. His wife set a full-length mirror on the tarmac, Ken and his buddies carried the bike over and set it down so the mirror showed the underside of his bike. (You had to give him credit, it was a good idea.) Most of us don't have to use gimmicks, and this time Ken's didn't work.
Joe's 45 cop bike won the show and shine. We raised about $500.00 worth of food for the food bank which made them quite happy. Now came the best part of the day the poker run. First, we helped load the boxes of food into the truck's, then we got ready for the poker run up to the hot springs. Half the money raised went to the Food Bank.
My first card was a King of Heart's. Off to a good start. With the girlfriend on the back, we were off. (She had a seven of clubs by the way.) Our second stop was out of town where one of the other wives was waiting with the emergency truck and cold beer. My second card was a Jack of Heart’s; Debbie drew a seven of Heart's. A posable flush for me, and Deb already had a pair.
After we had a beer we took our time riding to the third stop, it was a great day for riding. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Deb loved to hold on tight. What more could a guy ask for. Stop number three was at the "Town" of Myette, a real tourist trap. We stopped at the only place that sold beer of course. The old lady was bugging me to let her drive, but I stalled her off till after we went for a dip in the hot spring's.
I drew a 10 of Heart's she drew another seven. Both hands where looking pretty good. Some of the crew were going to stay for more beer and Deb was one of them. The rest of us went for a dip.
“Man, this is the life,” I said to Kevin.
“Yea, riding, drinking beer, and a nice hot tub to boot,” he said.
After we changed and rode back down to the pub. We were gone about an hour and the beer tasted good. After a beer, it was time to go, Deb persisted on driving for a bit. I told her she could take the bike down to the corner, about half a kilometer. She was so happy, I had to get Kevin to peal her off me. I wasn't too concerned, it was strait, smooth, and she wasn't getting out of second gear.
“I'm a little nervous” she said.
“I'm right hear sweetheart, don't worry,” I told her.
She only stalled it once. Then we were off. Everything was going well until I saw the mountain sheep coming out of the ditch on our right.
She froze. I lifted off the seat trying to get to the handlebars, the brake control. "Wham."
We hit the sheep. I was in the air trying to grab her, but my arms where to short, all I got was a few strands of hair from her tightly braided ponytail. They came away in my fingers. I was lucky enough to land on my back, skidding, turning the air blue with language not even fit for a biker. I yelled at her to push the dam bike away, the ditch was too deep for her to survive the plunge.
“Let go of the goddam bike.” She’s in shock, can't hear me, God don't do this. I thought. Jesus Christ, I'm going to lose her. The bike isn’t worth dying for. “Let go of the goddam bike. Please.”
I watched as the back wheel hit the raised shoulder. I could picture the bike flipping into the air, and thus into the gorge, but it didn't, it spun instead. She lost her hold and rolled toward the other shoulder, across the road.
"Thank you, God." I said as I closed my eye's holding back the tears at such a near lose. As I came to a stop myself, "Screech!"
I opened my eyes just in time to see the car hit her. They had no chance of stopping, no chance of missing the still body lying in the middle of the road. I crawled the dozen feet to where she lay, crumpled and broken, the air was getting blue with my diatribe bye this time.
I lifted her gently, looked at her battered and bloody face, her eye's fluttered open, and she tried to lift a broken arm. “You bastered.” I thought. “Look what you did to her.”
God wasn't listening. With a feeble smile touching her lips, she said, “I love you, watch the kid's will yeh.” She died in my arms.
I was told it took five guys to pry her out of my arm's, I don't remember. I was in the hospital for a while, with a broken pelvis, and not much skin on my butt or my lower back. I missed her funeral, that was probably a good thing. I was messed up for quite some time after.
In respect for people we loved, and lost, we wear a pair of broken wings on the back of our leather jackets. To this day I still wear those broken wing's and when someone asks, “Why are you wearing broken wings on your jacket.” I feel like doing damage to something. That was nine years ago, and I still have nightmares of a battered, bloody, face. Of a broken arm trying to lift a hand to my face. The roaring voice in my mind “I love you.”
The quiet whispers, of “BROKEN WINGS.”