The Motorbike Ride

Hanging on to a stranger with all my concentration, the one in front of me driving that motorbike, me riding, being leaned left and then right, and then upright again, along that sunny early summer road along the river. That huge river, so wide, so immense and sunny, holding and defining our shoreline, watching over us young ones hurtling on a black machine for no reason at all on that road along the river called the Lakeshore Road. We didn't need to get anywhere, didn't know each other, didn't talk, and never saw each other again. We were just riding. There must have been sailboats and people with strollers, and perhaps convertibles, or people fishing on the wharves, but I don't remember them. I just remember that it was a sunny day, and when I was hitchhiking a guy had picked me up, offered me a helmet, and when it came time to get off where I had planned to go, he asked if I wanted to continue for a ride, and I couldn't see his eyes for his helmet, or possibly his sunglasses, and I said yes, and we went along that road, hugging the river, and on that ride we rode through Baie d'Urfé, Beaconsfield, and Beaurepaire, and Pointe Claire, and Dorval, Lachine and Lasalle, we crossed bridges, and locks, and traffic lights, and passed all that rich summer busy-ness, mansions, homey houses and tenements, and people must have been happy and content because it was a beautiful day and I was just peering out, and sometimes at the leather back of the guy in front of me, wondering how that moment could be so rich and then for a long time I had no particular thoughts at all. I do remember the river, holding me. And I remember thinking how close my body was to this person's body. We both felt it suddenly. How close we were to each other. I felt the wind sometimes, and the sun on my right shoulder, and at some point, along an especially beautiful stretch of the lakeshore, perhaps Verdun, I don't know, he stopped, and turned around and took me to where I had wanted to get off in Pointe Claire.

written May 6, 2008
happened sometime in the seventies

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