My older brother raced motor cross, those motorcycles that jump the mounds, fly through the muddy trails, splaying the fans. It was just one of many activities my parents sunk money into, trying to keep him on the right path. After buying the special full-body suit, helmet, dirt bike and traveling to all the sites, I can only imagine their anger, disappointment when he was quickly ready to move on. He kept the bike though and rode the trails around our home, around our town. We always had bikes and go-carts, things that go faster than children can handle. Once on a mini-bike I remember crashing into the house because I didn’t know how to make it stop. I can’t be sure if my father told me where the brake was or I didn’t remember in my panic. Either way, ouch.
My brother, 29 at this point, rode his Harley with a long time friend on the back after a night at the bars. He crashed, caught on fire, as did his friend. God sent an angel to save these fools on a back road in a little town in the wee hours of the night. Both spent months in hospital burn units, the damage to bone and skin was extensive.
My younger brother had a motorcycle growing up as well, he was a more cautious rider. Yet he still suffered a crash when a driver failed to see him. His broken leg did little to curb his riding, the Harley he has now is huge. It is one of those comfort riders, made for long distance trips. He takes many.
So all this is to say, I am either a real adventurer or completely out of mind, maybe both. August will find me on the back of my brother’s bike, riding through Colorado. I don’t like mountains, I love the views. My sister-in-law can’t make the trip this year, I am the runner up. The invitation came after my brother spent an evening dealing with my son, texting, arguing, beseeching him to get sober. My brother who’s soul is so sweet and hurts for me. He has lived through not only the accidents on bikes but the crashes of our family from addiction. He has suffered the abuse of a father who spewed anger and disapproval like that dirt on the crowds. He knows too well showering doesn’t wash those hurtful words away, the stain remains, taints future generations. He sees my soul too, like only a sibling can. He wishes to protect me, even from my children. Unable to do so, he has offered something else, a chance to escape.
I clearly know the risks. I haven’t sold anyone on the thrill of riding, only highlighting the consequences of crashes. The lure of spending two weeks hanging out with my baby brother, a chance to really talk, is just too enticing. I am going to take this adventure. I am going to take pictures from the back of a bike. I am going to feel wind on my skin. I am going to eat food from little diners, explore part of the country I haven’t seen. I am going on an adventure with my brother. Looking back, healing some stuff. Driving forward, beginning anew. Pray for God’s angels watching over this fool on back roads and big roads.