the short story project


kelli venezia

Some women

Some women appreciate the fire-engine red sole of a beautiful Christian Louboutin high heel shoe; others find the imaginative creativity of Dior couture clothing to be more to their liking; there are even those who can be seduced with fine jewelry and diamonds.
Not me. I’ve never gotten the knack of using a curling iron, can’t wear mascara to save my life and I never learned to walk correctly in high heels. All it takes to get my heart pumping and make my breathing erratic is a v-twin engine, some chrome, and handlebars all riding on two wheels.
I have come to the conclusion that my love of all things chromed and two-wheeled is genetic. I’ve always had a love of speed and the wind in my face and I wondered where it came from. As it turns out, I got it from my parents.
Way back in the late fifties my dad was a young man in the Air Force, stationed in Japan. He and his friends would rent motorcycles on the weekend and go sight seeing. When he came back stateside and was in Arizona, he and his buddy would trade vehicles sometimes if his buddy had a date. The buddy would take dad’s car and he would get stuck with the other guy’s Harley Davidson. Awwww, poor Dad.
While he was in possession of the Harley he would pick my mom up and they would go out exploring the desert with other couples and their bikes. When mom and dad got married, the moto fever went dormant for a few years. They settled into life and became parents.

It was awakened in me when I was about 6 years old.

The whole family was out east visiting dad’s family in Pennsylvania. My uncle had recently gotten a Corvette and he wanted to take me for a ride. I was buckled into the passenger seat and off we went. I don’t remember this, but from what dad told me, when uncle Harry buried the needle in the speedometer, I begged him to “make it go faster!”
A few years after that, on yet another family trip, Harry took me for another ride. This time on a motorcycle. I don’t remember what the bike looked like, but I remember the wind in my face and the countryside racing by me. This must be what heaven is like. Somewhere, there is a picture of me on Uncle Harry’s bike, but I can’t find it.
When my parents divorced, dad got another bike, it was a beautiful 1972 Honda Goldwing. I get shivers remembering that bike. Dad would take me and my sister for rides on it. I dreamed of a day when I would be able to be in control of a machine that beautiful.
Time marched on, I grew older, dated, married, became a young mother and the dream again went dormant.

When the kids got older my husband bought a Honda Nighthawk. It was a thing of beauty. I lusted after it like a hungry person lusts for a crust of bread. I fell in love with riding all over again. The plan was that he would teach me to ride. It never happened. We got divorced instead and the dream again went to sleep.

In June of 2008 mom was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She had fought this disease once before and we knew that this time it was not going to be an easy fight. During the course of her treatments I learned a hard lesson about how precious life was and how important it was to pursue your dreams when you had the chance.

I made plans to take a motorcycle safety course and get my license. The state of Illinois offers the classes for free. You register through the local college and take the three day course. They provide everything, the bikes, the helmets and all you have to do is show up and get instructed. At the end of the course you take the written test, the road test, and if you passed both you get a certificate which you take to the DMV to get your certification on your driver’s license.

I took the course in September of 2009. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the road test. My instructors were very encouraging and told me that “for a person that has never been in control of a bike before, you did amazingly well. Get some practice in, get more comfortable riding ,and then take the course again, you’ll pass!”

I decided to get a bike, practice on it and then take the motorcycle course again in the Spring or Fall. I found “Blue” on Ebay. I watched the motorcycle auctions, and saw what the prices were like. I figured if I could find a bike cheap enough(under $700.00) I’d buy one. I had my income tax windfall coming in. Why not help out the economy and spend it foolishly?? I never really thought I would find a halfway decent bike.

I watched “Blue” for 3 days, never bidding. “Blue” is a vintage(used) 1981 Honda CM400C with a beautiful blue metallic tank. She has some miles on her(but so do I) she has a great leather seat(OK..mine’s not leather), perky headlights (no comment). She’s been through some stuff, but she would be good for me to have some adventures with. I can’t explain it, I had to bid on her.

When it got down to the final hour, I made my move. The auction was due to end in 20 minutes and I set a maximum bid of $650.00. I waited and I watched. I was the high bidder. HUH??? SERIOUSLY??!! I kept refreshing the screen – 5 minutes….4 minutes….3….2….1. OH MY GAWD. I just bought a freakin motorcycle for the grand total of $611.00!

Being a modern girl, I sent out email notifications and texts. The response was overwhelming and positive for the most part. Dad was strangely silent on the subject, at first, then he admonished me to be careful and respect the stupidity of other drivers, as well as my own inexperience. I practiced on BLUE and took the course over again. This time I did get my license.

Blue and I had a few adventures, saw a few sunrises and a few sunsets and we explored the backstreets and country roads around my small little town. I always knew she would not be my last bike, she was only the beginning. I really needed something bigger than a 400 CC engine to accomplish all the stuff I want to do. There were some mechanical problems involved and it just wasn’t worth the investment to fix them. I sold Blue to someone who restores old bikes for the sheer love of it(and to make a bit of profit when he re-sells them).
I have hopes that Blue ended up with someone who would appreciate her. I’m on the lookout for a bigger bike, I’ll know it when it finds me.

In the meantime, I am currently….(sob) bikeless. I guess I will have to just content myself with being the passenger on the boyfriend’s Victory Kingpin.. oh… the horror.

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