Lost and Found

Daily Prompt: Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received?

The view from the Brooklyn shore

I like to think I have a great memory, but for some reason I can’t think of anything that I really wanted and never received. What immediately comes to mind is my first bicycle–though I did receive one eventually, after years of begging.

I was around twelve years old. I remember being quite sick and on antibiotics. I don’t get sick very often, so I am able to recall every bad cold or infection. This particular time stands out for several reasons: First, I completely lost my voice; second, it was my first time taking medication in pill form, which I dreaded; and last, because despite my illness and the fact that it was freezing out, my parents kept their promise (I made sure of it!) and took me to Toys ‘R’ Us to purchase my first bicycle. It was purple and pink, and perfect. With it being a harsh winter, I didn’t actually get to ride it for several months, but I admired it every day.

Unfortunately, “my precious” was stolen that summer by someone in our building and never seen again. I never got a replacement–at least not from my parents, who probably thought another bike would be a waste of their money. I mourned the loss of that bike for years, and I dreamed of the day I could afford to get one exactly like it. That day came in college, when I was offered a free gift just for signing up for a credit card while I wanted for Intro to Psych to start. (This is no longer allowed inside schools.) I was given a credit line of about $800, and I knew exactly what I wanted.

I named it Steve, after my first love, because that bike and I were inseparable. I would spend entire days riding back and forth along the southern shore of Brooklyn, just Steve and me. Some of the most peaceful moments I’ve had were on that bike, with the summer sun and the cool ocean breeze on my face. It was lovely.

Cruising in Newport Beach, CA in a rental

Cruising in Newport Beach, CA in a rental

Though it’s become harder to find the time and the energy I had at 19 to devote to biking, it is still a part of my life. I am fortunate to have found a partner who is much more of a bike enthusiast than I am, and who encourages me to ride more. David and I have shared some great rides all over New York City and New Jersey. In fact, last year we completed the TD Five-Boro Bike Tour, a 40-mile, incredibly fun car-free ride through New York City.

I am happy to report that I still own Steve, though I recently made the decision to trade it in next year for a lighter option better suited for city riding (I’ve hired David to build it!). And I also still own that credit card, plus a large chunk of debt that I am still trying to pay down.  My advice:  Say yes to bikes and no to credit cards.


About Paola Mata

Mobile Developer @BuzzFeed. Co-founder of NYC Tech Latinas. Follow me: @PaolaNotPaolo

Posted on December 26, 2012, in Daily Prompt, Life, Love and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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