Kind of a bike town by Austin-Oliver on Flickr.
In the middle of a discussion yesterday I told someone that the thing I would remember the most about Eugene is biking in the sun; with a six-pack in one hand, with the sun on your shoulders, with friends laughing so hard that you all start to swerve a little bit in the bike lane.
When I first arrived in Eugene, I took a night ride with two boys that eventually became some of my closest friends in college. (This was back before I was sure that I was even going to find friends that I liked or connected with on a deep emotional level. I was wrong, and these boys eventually showed me that, but I didn’t know it at the time.) We followed the most adventurous of our group into deep parts of Eugene that I still haven’t been able to pinpoint, three years later. It was dark and I was cold but I was certain that I wanted to take more midnight bike rides in this town.
I’ve never had a long-term pet, but Free Spirit—the name written in groovy orange and yellow curls on the side of the heavy silver bike I’ve ridden all four years at school—will be someone I remember for the rest of my life.
Do you remember discovering the twists in Harry Potter books for the first time? When you were curled up on the loveseat in your family’s living room with huge hardback book propped on your tiny knees?
You were right there with people that you understood better than your real-life best friends when you realized that it was Sirius / Quirrell / Crouch THE WHOLE TIME! You opened up your eyes really wide and made a “whaaaat even” face at the book for a second before you realized that you weren’t really in the Ministry of Magic or the Gryffindor Common Room.
You felt partially responsible for solving the mystery, which made you feel invincible. Closing those huge tomes after reading the final pages reassured you that any major life problems could be solved within a nine-month school year. Anything that wasn’t wrapped up at the end could be brought up next year, when you were all a little bit older and more familiar with advanced transfiguration.