A boy aims his blue bicycle toward the bridge and takes a ragged breath. Hair the color of old hay sticks to his pimpled forehead and the wheels weave through traffic drifting with the wind from passing cars. It is overcast with deep fog following the evening traffic, drifting over the mountain and tickling the sleeping lady’s breast.
He captures his thoughts and forces them into a cave surrounded by blind creatures so old they lost color long ago. Filled with unease, his stomach clenches with emptiness where there should be sadness, anger or joy. The bike peddles braced against white basketball shoes and tall black socks that keep his jeans tight against his ankle.
He jumps and wobbles when startled by the honk of a large vehicle. The black and silver monster swerves and he sees a stick family on the back window. Blinking his vision true, he stops and wipes a brow. He breathes waiting for his heart to slow, then looks back on the road and considers his mother. A man sees him peddle off wearing a yellow helmet.
Riding up through winding roads; down the hill, under the freeway that connects houses buried in redwoods with tourists drinking wine in streets made jealous by Paris. The yellow helmet is a bright blur in cafe windows and jewelry stores. He bounces with each revolution of his feet, and the boy passes the pizza parlor and rickety houseboats in the harbor. He continues up through rough sidewalks lifted by roots and rougher siding bleached by salty winds.
The bridge is quiet this time of day as tourists migrate to the piers. Too strong for even stubborn people, he grips his jacket against the wind with one hand. Shaking the hair out of his swollen eyes, he steps off pacing the wheels to the sound of his pulsating earlobes. Landing one foot at a time, just as the baby learns and the toddler runs and the teen shuffles. One shoe untied, he looks at the water and listens to a distant light blinking a grim code.
Legs drawn through bags of sand, he moves slowly relishing the ache until he stops with drooping shoulders. He leans the bicycle against a railing while a driver in a green Toyota passes, blaring the local radio station. Staring at the portal of dark ripples hidden by angry tides, the air tastes of rain and stinks of the sea.
Searching his right, he sees nothing of concern. Glancing left, a lump catches his eye. He furrows his brow and digs his hand through the bars and drags it from the ledge. It is a briefcase, worn and shiny on the lift side. The handle has fine cracks, and an envelope is taped to the surface.
Walkers talk amongst themselves as they christen the bridge with morning. The blue bicycle stands propped against a dusty orange pillar. It is covered in video game stickers and the seat is torn. A white water bottle in the holder says Michael with a delicate hand. Next to it, a briefcase sits and an envelope glides on a strong wind.