“Bye. Mom!” I’m going to school!”
“Bye,” Mom waved without looking up from watching my little brother spread jam on a piece of bread for his lunch. I hitched my backpack a little higher on my shoulders and headed for the garage to get my bike.
It wasn’t there.
“Mom, where’s my bike?” I asked.
“What do you mean, where’s your bike?” Mom came and stood next to me by the side door of the garage. I just stared. My older brother’s big red bike, my little brother’s black one, and the spare blue junkyard bike leaned against each other by the wall, but my bike just wasn’t there.
“Where would it be?” Mom asked.
I gasped. “Did you pick me up at Kyle’s house after school last Friday?”
“Yes,” Mom said, trying to remember.
“Did we get my bike!”
“No,” Mom moaned.
“It’s still at the school!”
“All right, you’ve got two options,” Mom said. “You can take the blue bike, or we can drive.”
I glanced at the blue bike, with its rusty frame and peeling paint. “Drive,” I said.
Mom told my older brother to lock up the house when he left, and herded my younger brother into the car. “I hope your bike is still there,” Mom said.
So did I. My old bike had been stolen just before Christmas break. Had I lost my new one too?
“Did he lock it up?” My younger brother asked.
“I locked it,” I said.
“Your bike’s been sitting at the school for three nights. Someone could have come along with a bolt cutter and cut the lock.” Mom said. “If it's gone we’re not going to replace it. You’ll have to ride the blue bike the rest of the year.”
Imagining myself creaking to school every morning on the rusty junkyard bike, I rode silent the rest of the way until we got close to the school. Then I leaned forward in my seat and stared past Mom to the chain link fence.
My orange bike leaned against the fence, misted over a little by the dew.
“It’s still there!” I cheered.
“Hooray!” My little brother shouted.
“You’re a lucky boy,” Mom said.