all weekend, the riders were zipping by. and the sound of their revs could be heard from inside the house. i used to be able to hear Jarronn pulling up to the house on his bike, even when he was 200 yards away.
if Jarronn was alive, i'm sure he would have parked the car for the weekend and ridden his bike everywhere. i probably would have been on the back at some point too. every time i got scared while riding, i would close my eyes and pray to God saying, "everything will be ok. i know i have more living to do, so there's no need to worry." and i kind of felt like that went for me and Jarronn. we had more living to do, so God would protect us. life, and our relationship, were full of purpose.
riding was a passion for Jarronn. he got his motorcycle license in 2005 and couldn't have been more excited. he would search for bikes online for hours, trying to find the perfect one. then he found it. an orange and black honda cbr 600. after spending a few days on it, he came and picked me up for my first ride. he gave me instructions about responding to turns. told me not to put my feet on the ground. rode us up the street to cold stone creamery.
being able to ride on the back of the bike showed me how much i trusted Jarronn. trusted his ability and competency. trusted his ability to take care of me. we got me a proper helmet, in my size, so i could ride some more.
a couple months after getting the bike, Jarronn called me one day after work. he sounded so upset. he told me his bike had been stolen from outside of his apartment. we were just friends at the time, but i asked if he wanted me to come over. he did, and we talked through it. he felt like the bike being stolen was a result of karma. that he had done something grimy in the recent past, and it was his payback. i tried to assure him that things would be ok, as best as i could.
though i liked riding on the bike, and i knew Jarronn loved it, part of me was probably relieved that the bike was gone. it put my mind at ease. but the ease was short-lived. wouldn't you know it...the bike was found. in fact, someone dropped it off at a police station. who's ever heard of such a thing? there was some damage to the body -- spray paint and some dents. but it was fundamentally in good shape. and so i celebrated the bike's return with Jarronn.
once he got the bike back, he went to work on fixing it up. he ordered parts online. i had moved into a house with a garage, so he made it his work area. he had moved to maryland, but he'd come up on weekends to work on it. he stripped down the bike completely. (this made for a hilarious night where upon taking everything apart, he freaked out, woke me up, and told me he thought he might have gotten in over his head. that he wouldn't be able to put it back together. but he figured it out by the next morning.) once the bike was fixed up, it was time to get the candy paint. and the helmet to match, which had the letters "jron" stenciled on the side.we took some good rides that summer. our ride to the nj shore was one of my all-time favorites.
after a couple years, i admitted to Jarronn that riding on the bike made me nervous. he wasn't too happy to hear that. he much rather would have liked to think that i loved being on the bike as much as he did. that he could do something he loved so much and have me along for the ride with him. he'd find ways for us to ride the bike to the furniture store. and housewarmings. and baby showers.
in 2008, Jarronn decided to sell the honda. in the back of my mind, i was relieved again. and i thought that maybe he'd use the money to buy me an engagement ring (ha!). but, again, the relief was brief. he came home with a new bike two days later. this time a red and black yamaha r1. better. bigger. faster. he posted a photo on facebook with the words, "let's get it."
and he had a lot of fun. and i said a lot of prayers for him. and us when i was on it. and as much as part of me hated every time spring rolled around, because i knew it meant the bike was coming out, i also loved seeing him love something so much.
but did he love it this much? i ask myself that a lot. i know there were a lot of things he loved more. i remind myself that he didn't ride the bike in the months leading up to our wedding, because he didn't want to take any chances. i pointed out how that was a bit silly, since something happening to him after the wedding would be just as devastating. but it all made sense in his mind.
and so i still say prayers. now, they're for every rider that goes past me. and for every person out there that loves them.