The pale gray pavement speedily disappears underneath the front tire of the bicycle. Little pebbles snap from side to side hitting the pedals, where my father's white sneakers go up and down. The wind blows gently, rustling my short hair and tickling my earlobes.
I am perched on the handlebars of my father's grass green Vista Cavalier, the shiny, rubber grips glowing in the sun. My feet dangle awkwardly, occasionally bumping the bike's steel neck. Though I stare straight ahead, I am fully aware of my father's every movement. His strong, veiny hands remain in my peripheral view. It is as if they alone are guiding me through the neighborhood on this splendid afternoon in the early 70s.
Every so often I walk through the clutter of baseball gear, basketballs, pumps and coolers in my garage and run my fingers over the handlebars of the green Vista. It looks odd and out of place in a room so full of my present life. How striking the vintage lettering is compared to the "Marins", "GTs" and "Giants" that go down the metal bars of our modern-day bicycles.
Styles have changed since that beloved memory. The world has become different. Yet, at any given moment, this tangible antique bicycle can bring me back to that place in time and make me feel as if my father is carrying me through the day. He has been gone from my life for 13 years but with the Vista's help, I can transform over and over again to my 3-year-old self and be with the person whose absence I will never get used to.