“No te creo, no te creo.” “I don’t believe you.” Of course I must have ridden on a motorcycle. I explain that they were dangerous to ride in my city, a city like Quito. My sister runs to tell my brother, and next thing I know the motorcycle has been pulled onto the street and he is motioning for me to get on behind him. I laugh nervously, slowly backing away, but he is insistent. So I pull on the dusty helmet, long buried in a closet, and hop up behind him, wrapping my arms around his barrel chest. He revs the engine once, twice, and I am transported ten years into my past.
I am eight years old again, curled up next to my brother in the back of a golf cart. Warm air whips across my face as we drive into the darkness, a scant portion of the pitted road weakly illuminated by our yellow headlights. We are on Harbor Island, driving from our house to my grandfather’s bungalow, towards a dinner fried conch and bananas.
My brother swerves and I am no longer with my family in the Bahamas. I am barreling down an asphalt road, enjoying the same tropical smell of wet earth, the same humid air. My brother tells me that I can let go, and I realize that I’ve been clinging to his shoulders, my head curled against my chest. I slowly release my interlaced fingers and spread my arms wide, laughing as I try to explain to him how I feel. “Como un pajaro.” Like a bird.