The Bicycle

A story.

A story…

I lay on my bed, searching for a story. The rain patters on the translucent skylight above me. I cannot see the drops, but I can hear them, crystal clear. The air is warm – almost too warm. I already took off my long-sleeve shirt, and am now contemplating taking my socks off, too.

I lay on the bed, waiting for a story.

But my brain is blank. I stare down at the bed.

I notice the bedspread is a light green with a flower pattern repeating across the entire fabric, top to bottom and side to side. The flowers and stems are outlined in black, looking almost hand-drawn, and blue, orange, and white are painted into the flowers for texture and variety. The mattress is firm; it supports me well, hardly sinking despite the weight of a full human body lying on top of it.

My gaze drifts to the other objects in the room:

A rich yet simple wooden vanity lives to my left, with an old mirror that offers a blurry reflection; it looks almost as if it has been soaped, although I’m sure it’s simply from age. A fake succulent sits on the left side of the vanity in a round white pot.

The light green walls almost match the bedspread, but the coloring is just slightly off, and some dull brassy pipes jut out of the wall.

What is that thing? I noticed it a few days ago, but am just now really contemplating what exactly it…is.

The top pipe forms a sort of towel rack, and holds up a clean white pillow, but there are two vertical pipes that connect the ‘towel rack’ to a pseudo-sitting bench about three feet below it – although it cannot be a functional sitting bench because the vertical pipes connect the front of the towel rack to the front of the bench, and then extend into the floor. For what this contraption is used, I haven’t the slightest idea.

An exposed closet, maybe? Hang clothes from the top and put your shoes on the bottom? I really don’t know. And my brain hurts trying to figure it out.

My focus shifts again.

To the left of the pipe apparatus is the white bedroom door, perpendicular to the bed and open so I can see it clearly. It has one of those hotel swing bar locks on the inside – and like the pipes, I couldn’t begin to tell you why this lock is in this room.

Across the room, to the left of the bed on the wall behind it, is a five-foot white door that open into a small storage closet. To the right of the bed, is a wooden end table, snuggled in between the mattress and the wall, holding a brown ceramic lamp with a cream-colored lampshade.

And a blue fabric sitting chair without arms, standing tall to the right of the vanity. I’m now sure how so many objects fit in such a small room – the room itself is perhaps ten feet by ten feet?

But I digress.

Here I sit, lounging on the floral bed, listening to the rain, and contemplating a story as my eyelids try to convince me to take a nap instead.

A story…a story…what story, though?

Inspiration surrounds me, and yet my mind is still utterly blank. As if my creative list has been completely crossed off, and no ideas remain to construct.

The pressure feels as though it pushes me into the firm mattress below me. Anger and frustration build in my brain, demanding to know why it won’t produce an idea. As I sink lower into the bed, I look directly above the bed, and see a wood slab with a white bicycle printed on it, along with the words ‘LOVE the journey!’

And as my body sinks into my bed, I somehow lift out of my body and find myself sitting on the bicycle. I start pedaling, and as I pedal, the bicycle takes me higher – kind of like E.T., but less wrinkly. I loop around the room, bouncing between the green walls, and watching myself lay unmoving on the bed, trapped beneath the weight of creative pressure.

I keep pedaling, and suddenly I am out of the house, riding beneath the trees and the flowers and the squirrels and the birds – feeling the hot breeze blow through my hair. Do I still have my socks on? Never mind, doesn’t matter. The freedom, the expansion, the nothingness – it’s exhilarating.

I climb higher and higher, past houses and skyscrapers and airplanes; I keep pedaling, furiously and freely, until my legs yell ‘STOP!’

So I stop.

And I float.

I look back down and realize I am in outer space, suspended betwixt the planets, floating in the vast ocean of…not nothingness, but…possibility. Unending possibility.

My mind is blank and clear.

Crystal clear.

With a striking sense of humility, I take in the beauty of the eternal expansion that lies ahead of me.

Why does there always need to be a story? Why is creativity limited to a beginning, a middle, and an end for me? Why am I letting the notion of having ‘no story’ churn up resentment, anger, and frustration?

Why can’t I simply enjoy the world in front of me?

I stare into the galactic abyss for another moment, and then turn back around, seeing myself way down on my bed on earth, chest clenched and muscles tensed, fighting the criticism from inside my own brain about my lack of inspiration.

I have compassion for me – it’s all that me on the bed has ever known.

But as I float in midair, I ponder:

Perhaps noticing my bedspread was enough for today.

Not everything has to be a story; sometimes, the details of the moment we’re in, are just as important as the plot with a beginning, middle, and end.

I grab my white bicycle, glowing in the darkness of the outer space sky, and start to pedal back down to earth. Slowly, this time, and never letting my gaze off of myself on the bed.

I melted into the room, and the bicycle stuck itself back on the wooden décor and I floated back into myself.

I opened my eyes, sat up, and instead of opening up the computer to create, I sat up, got off the floral bed, and walked downstairs, ready to experience the day instead.

Not everything has to be profound.

Not everything has to be good or liked.

Sometimes the stories aren’t there, and I have the opportunity to stare into the vastness of the universe, and try something new.

Sometimes, I have to let myself off the hook for that, and just go eat some ice cream instead.

I descend the stairs of the house, the pressure that caused my body to sink now gone.

… … …

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Photo credit: Isaac Quesadaa from Unsplash