I drove up to the seller's house in the dark and there in the garage was the bike. Beautiful, shiny, well built. As soon as I saw that sweet bike I knew she was Jezebel. The owner walked around the bike and told me all about this 1983 Fuchsia Honda Shadow 750. I nodded my head as if I knew what he was talking about. I learned this skill early in math classes. Nod, be quiet as if you are pondering and no one will find out that what you actually are hearing is the teacher from The Peanuts: Wah, wahn, wah, whan...
I was mesmerized by Jezebel. Her strength and her beauty. Her deliciously well built seat. I was also afraid of her. I barely touched her. During the sale I only sat on her briefly. I let the owner ride her out of the driveway and then back. I took a deep breath. Then I wrote a check and asked the kind, kind, man to deliver her to me later in the week.
On the way home, I was still exhausted and still really tender. I was sad because ever since I hopped on a motorcycle I kept thinking of my Sweet Escape, and though we are done, it still makes me sad. I also felt a deep sense of failure. I had just tried really hard at something and I did not succeed. My ego was hurt, my confidence (so very fragile) was shaken. But driving home after writing a man a check for a motorcycle that I was afraid of I thought, "Damn, I really like the woman that I have become. I am a 38 year old single woman who just tried something and failed, and then went out and bought a motorcycle ALL-BY-HERSELF." Giggle, I'm super bad to me. Soon after that I called my friend Joe Cool: "I just bought a motorcycle. I failed the class. Would you give me a lesson?" We set a date.
Jezebel is parked in my mom's garage. The Original Sassy Queepin has a circular driveway which straightens out and slopes down to a quiet street. Perfect for practice. I took my beasts over the afternoon before my lesson and I just sat on the bike. I started her up. I switched gears. I shifted my weight on her. But with the beasts all of this was performed as if I was in bag of microwave popcorn at its peak popping capacity. My kids are in their wildest ages. I could not focus. So I got off the bike and I went home. Jezebel and I had met. We had shaken hands. There was no hugging.
I told Joe Cool I felt like I had bought a tiger. I was afraid. He told me riding is not for the faint of heart so I should be fine. Hahaha. He's a good guy. On Saturday we met. He rode his beautiful Harley Sportster Mavis. He stood in the driveway and gave me tips as I rode round and round. He is passionate about riding and he is smart about it. His eyes twinkle when he talks about it. I learned from him, but then there was nothing more he could say. I had to ride ALL BY MYSELF. Validation time was over.
After Joe Cool left I rode down my mom's street and back up. I rode around the circle. I fell in love with Jezebel. I became less afraid and I also realized that this is all me. The art of riding a motorcycle for me will be faith in myself. Joe Cool can not do this for me. My Sweet Escape can not encourage me through learning this. I have to do this on my own. There is no student driver car device where someone hits the break and calmly talks me through the turns. I have to be my own coach, my own guide. I have been given all the tools I need, but now it's up to me to have faith in my ability to use them. This knowledge both terrifies me and liberates me. It is the way I felt when, as a Buddhist, I learned: "Question everything and find your own light." It is how I feel each time I make a major decision regarding my beasts. It is the ultimate loneliness and the most beautiful strength. It is life.
The day after the lesson I woke up nestled in my lover's bed. Cold rain hit the windows and I snuggled deeper into the warmth of this man and the exquisite softness of his comforter. Eyes closed I longed to get back on Jezebel. Like another new lover, I look forward to spending time with Jezebel, exploring how we fit together, finding out what makes her purr. Taking the time to learn to keep us safe. Today I'm hoping to have a little time to climb on her back and ride. Around the driveway, then down slope, venturing out into the street where it will be just me on a motorcycle named Jezebel. Alone, and fierce. Afraid and brave. Having faith that, in this miracle of life, I can reach into my soul and find my own light.