By Jada McGhee
My goal for the summer of 2022 was to ride a bike in Manhattan’s Midtown/Lower East Side. While writing other pieces, I was inspired to replenish a childhood dream I did not continue.
Ride a bike down NYC. My eyes are open with this dream. Summer June. Gold glasses snug. A momma blushing, pushing a stroller. A guy whips past in rollers. Ride a bike down NYC. My eyes are open with this dream. Trees hunch their old wrinkly backs. Wind whispers on my cheeks. Watch out for that squirrel! Beep-beep shouts the taxi. Aarff cries a dog. “Ride your bike and take a picture,” tangerine sun prompts me. My shaky arm extends the camera out. Smile! Chh-chh, I snap a pic. I puff out a breath I’ve been holding hostage. Musky clouds steam the air like a hot pot on a stove. Fresh warmth crimps my hair. Ride a bike down NYC. My eyes are open with this dream. Under flower shop awning Small pools tap dance on the gravel. Stare. Wait. Wait. Wait. Shhh, the rain shouts. Raincheck? I check the rain. My time isn’t up. Peeking through the gray, tangerine sun twinkles south. Sun shower. Warmth cooling. Tighten my pink helmet on my black curls. Snap. I straddle my bike. Pedal. Pedaling. Fast. Faster. Soon I’m slicking down the street. Tiny rainbows wink at me. Tummy rises and falls. Rain pushing last calls. Ride a bike down NYC. My eyes are open with this dream. Ding! My bike rental whines. My eyes are open with this dream.
This piece was inspired by the workshop Train Your Brain with NBCU: Think Like an Elite Athlete. I first wrote out words that came to mind from a prompt. Then, with the help of my wonderful mentor, I created and edited drafts to evoke the emotions and essence of how much this youthful aspiration means to me now as a young adult. The scene is me around Central Park, pedaling down a comfortable bikeway while the sun is setting for an early evening.
Jada McGhee is a friendly bookworm; you can often catch her reading a good book. When she’s not reading, she is looking to join a great and intense game of Ultimate frisbee with friends. As she explores which college she would like to attend in the coming year, her career aspirations range from a social worker to a teacher to a best-selling author! Since graduating from high school in 2018 where she studied American Sign Language for all four years, she hopes to return to her love of the language through practice.