We travel as I imagine electrons might

through a cord wrapped around a thousand corners. Aligned, flowing, sparking, ensuring power.

The route is windy, and windy. But purposeful. There’s a here to there here, and people travel with the end in mind.

I follow my friends on their classic hog, looking like an advert for Cool Biker Couple Abroad. Sporting black masks and a jet matte helmet for him, her unprotected dirty blond hair tied back, gazing at the lake beside, unfazed and unflappable.

It’s fun, this commute.

We weave our way between school and home, darting through narrow stretches, guessing at which lane belongs to us, skirting safety with a beep here and there. Oncoming traffic darts, bops, bobs. It all seems chaotic, disordered.

But there is a logic to it. And people find their way.

My bike is not nearly as cool, not nearly as burly, not nearly as much bike as my buddy’s, but it gets me here and there. A tiny e-bike, I take pride in its lack of emission, and lack of power. But it keeps the pace just fine. And today I open it up a bit, enjoying this play and pretending that I’m actually, just a little bit, as cool as my friends.

I feel the breeze

Air’s not as bad as I thought

Maybe I should pass on the inside

Why are there so many cars stopped?

I approach the traffic jam, oblivious to anything apart from my desire to get home and a bit of annoyed that I have to slow. Cars are backed, three deep, and scores of bikes weave their way between.

I think nothing of the extra traffic and choose a path at points just wide enough for myself and the driver on the bike next to me. We make timid eye contact as I let her sneak between the vehicles ahead.

I decide to poke around the static hatchback in front of me, tentatively wheeling into the oncoming flow when I realize that no one is coming.

Instead, I notice the concerned faces, huddled around the woman in the purple sweater. Laid out in the middle of the road, she's in tears, pointing to her skull, a man cradling her gently and reassuring her with quiet speech. Others huddle close, in silence.

An accident has happened here

Was she hit by that car?

How did it happen?

Was she on her motorbike?

Is she going to be okay?

I don’t see any blood.

I pass the scene, guilty of rubbernecking. I have many questions.

She seems to be in good hands

I pause for a minute. Take a breath. And continue home. Only this time, a little bit slower. This time, I take it cool.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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  1. I was struck by the opening too… I always read your writing at least twice… the ideas merging with eachother just as the language and clever use of phrasing does. Beautiful!


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