Submitted for Flash Frenzy Round 31
355 words exclusive of title.
The Bicycle Mission
Like many in New Orleans, Maria and her son, Jimmy lost everything. When the floodwaters finally receded, their home was gone. There was nothing but debris lying along the banks of the Mississippi and Maria saw many of their belongings lying in ruin amongst the rest. As they moved along, Maria tried to hide her feelings in front of her son. He was only five years old. He didn’t know what it was all about but he could sense things in his mother and he certainly was scared during Hurricane Katrina when the floods came.
“Mama. There it is. There’s my bicycle,” cried Jimmy.
“I am so sorry Jimmy. It’s gone. The floods have ruined the bicycle.”
“Fix it mama. Can’t you fix it mama?”
“I don’t think I can. It is too damaged.”
Jimmy began to cry and clung to his mother. Maria lifted him into her arms. He cried all the way back to the shelter and later continued to cry as he went to sleep on his cot. Maria sat up on her cot long after Jimmy slipped into a fitful sleep. She couldn’t stop thinking about the bicycle. To Maria, the bicycle had become a symbol of all their loss.
The next morning, Maria left Jimmy with another mother and returned to the place where they had seen the broken bicycle. She pulled it out of the dirt and looked around for the missing wheel and seat. She found the seat but after thirty minutes, there was no sign of the wheel. Tired and frustrated, Maria began to drag the bicycle back with her. About a block from the shelter she happened upon a drainage ditch where some children were playing. A small boy was playing with a bicycle wheel. Although he was disappointed, the boy gave up the wheel and ran off with his friends.
Maria walked the rest of the way back to the shelter. She had so much on her mind. There was so much to do to establish normal life for her little family but she now had a mission. Her son would ride that bicycle again.