It was then that I realized I was sitting in the road.
The blue Yamaha 650 had been swiftly cruising up the twisty, heavily traveled strip running along the winter run off creek. Enjoying the lovely summer day, I was relieved to get out of the house after my appendectomy only three weeks prior. For a 16-year-old girl, being stuck in the house during summer vacation, when my boyfriend wanted to ride his motorcycle, was like a prison sentence.
While driving up the city's main drag to reach the hills, I looked down at the pavement while letting my mind wander. My father had been in a terrible accident when I was very young, and on this day I was thinking about him strongly.
"I wonder how it would feel to hit the pavement?" I thought.
My mind lingered on the thought for a few minutes, until I realized I was scaring myself. Within a few minutes, we reached Lytle Creek Road and started the curvy climb.
I saw the turn ahead that my boyfriend didn't. Before I realized he missed it, the unthinkable happened.
30 years later I clung to Blackbird as Highway pulled the throttle back through the sharp turns of the Ortega Highway. Laughter bellowed from my guts as the thrill titillated me beyond composure. Remembering the day in Lytle Creek for a brief moment, it seemed the screaming wind was cleansing my heart of the lingering fear.
"Faster, faster, faster!" I shouted to Highway.
Every passing moment peeled away another layer of regret I carried all of these years. Now it seemed so clear. The accident was merely thread in the fabric of my destiny; another day, another experience, with every one no more or less significant than any other.
I still limp now and then from a broken spine of the accident in '81. My appendectomy scar, which had torn open on impact, is now a grotesque blob across my abdomen. The flesh grew back on my shoulder and hand, fortunately without much scarring. Actually today, all of the scars left on that 16-year-old girl, even the ones that didn't show, are healing now.
There is no room for fear on a motorcycle, for the rider or the passenger. In my life today I feel more freedom than ever, leaving less and less room for fear, regret, sorrow and misery. While every day scars of past are being purged from my heart, this one in particular is now are left behind along that mountain road.