This story is by Elizabeth Comiskey and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Groooaannn,” the bike seat exhaled hard. Anne peddled as fast as she could with her sister Debbie on the handlebars. They both anticipated their next adventure. The bike had carried them on many missions every fall. Enormous leaves crunched under the wheels as they rolled through. This is a sweet sound for both girls.
With the last school bell ringing, Anne’s first thought was to jump on her bike named Frankie and ride! Frankie is Anne’s ride of escape from home. Sometimes Anne thought Frankie looked forward to the feeling of usefulness again, after being forgotten the rest of the year. Frankie, an old patchwork color cruiser, was her Schwinn.
Two years ago, Anne walked past a yard sale and noticed a rusted, cracked and tired bike. She bought it and rode it home…barely. When the tires hit the hot pavement, it sounded like an old horse with chipped hooves trudging forward. Anne read books to see what she needed to fix Frankie…to fix her escape. Odd jobs were everywhere in the neighborhood. She helped neighbors shovel snow, rake leaves and plant flowers…even picked up dog poop!
Eventually she would have enough to get pieces of other old bikes to fix Frankie. Sometimes it took her awhile to find them—but she always did. Hence, the name Frankie was born!
Debbie loved to lay on the ground and look at the clouds. “Come on, come on…” she said. “FINE!” Anne dropped Frankie down in the leaves and flopped on top of the biggest pile she could find. “CRUNCCH!” No matter how angry Anne got with Debbie she could never hate her for long; she is Anne’s best friend, confidant and partner in crime.
The wind brought the clouds so close it felt like they could touch them. “I see an angel, heart and look, a cat!” Anne said. Debbie was silent a moment…then said, “Fly-me-byes. That is what I see…only them.” Anne countered, “Again? All you ever see are butterflies—TONS AND TONS. UGHhhh” Anne yelled.
For years Anne protected her sister from evil. Evil of the two people who had one purpose; to shield her from the world. Their mom and dad only had two things to do; love and protect them- they grossly failed; failed with them both.
“I want to flutter away…like a butterfly and die after being a beautiful thing, alive for only one day,” Debbie would say over and over. Debbie is four years older than Anne, but she would protect her sister from her monsters. Protect her forever. Butterflies have a short life, they go through the motions of life; but only exist. They never truly live, then they die.
Now as Anne sits, looking out the window; wishing the memories of her sister were real; forever real. She longs for those bike rides, the clouds and even the fights. Every day that passes Anne thinks of her sister, the person that taught her about true friendship. Debbie showed Anne it was ok to lighten up and be kooky. Anne felt the bitter cold that swept through the trees, leaving a trail of falling leaves in its path. The bite of autumn was bringing the cold, lonely winter.