For weeks, I had been dreading the moment when A. and I would have to load his 1974 R90/6 BMW motorcycle into the moving truck. Packing in 2 days, leaving friends and a town I’d lived in for 3 years, tranquilizing the cat, setting off further west to an unfamiliar place – all these things are difficult, but I understand how they work, and for the most part, have done them before. But watching A. drive up a steep, metal ramp into about 5 spare feet of moving truck is terrifying. The bike is big and heavy and maneuvering in tight spaces, slowly, is really tough (at least, it looks like it is!) I love riding on the back of the bike with A. through nicely paved, clean back roads. I love the smell of the landscape and closeness of the air and the feeling like we are stealing away somewhere together (when in reality, we could as well be dropping off mail or going to brunch).
So I really enjoy riding. But the truth is I am often frightened of the thing itself. And I don’t like to think about engines or metal parts or carburetors and honestly have little interest in learning how the thing works. I know, it sounds harsh. But I have more important things to wonder about, like fostering dogs, compiling a list of Southwest literature to read, how to position the furniture for maximum comfort and beauty, what my friends are doing or feeling, who needs help, the nature of humanity, the meaning of life, etc.
So when it came time to load the bike, I helped set up the ramp. Then, A. looked at me standing there in obvious worry and pain at the terrifying situation, and he said, “Emma, you need to go inside.” I gave one last whimper, kissed him, and ran back into the house so I couldn’t watch him climb the ramp. And I waited a minute…. And he did it perfectly and smoothly. It was just one moment and it was over and I was glad! And one moment later, rain poured from the sky. I swear, it was holding in those rain drops just like I was holding in my breath! We then began the process of tying the bike down with these ratchet things, which took longer than it should have. When everything was complete, the bike secure, the ratchets ratcheted, we both looked at each other with relief; I felt grateful and worn out. And then A. looks at me seriously and says, “Babe, could you do me a favor? Could you get in my bag back there?” He probably needs a motorcylce thing, I thought, or a tool or a key, you know, something important he just thought of. “Sure,” I said, “What do you need?”
To which only Andrew would answer, “My hair gel.”
More to come about our first week in Santa Fe.