There comes a point when we have to let go of certain wrongs we think we’re done to us in the past. We have to let go of hurt feelings — we have to move on. I think I get my feelings hurt easily. Maybe I didn’t realize this until recently, I’m very good at pretending to brush things off. Maybe I over-react emotionally to certain events or conversations — this too is a fairly new revelation. Maybe. Pretending for too long can inhibit perception. So, when you decide to be honest, to not pretend — it opens up some new perspectives. It makes you look to yourself for honesty.
In 1980, I was in the 7th grade. In my town, all the cool kids in middle school had mopeds. I really wanted to be a cool kid — I think I was guilty of being a cool kid by association. My friends were cool kids — they had mopeds. All of them but one, my best friend. She didn’t have a moped either. (This fact has united us in our angst for years). I asked for a moped every Christmas for four years — hoping beyond hope that I would wake up on Christmas morning and there sitting under the tree would be my moped — waiting for me, yearning for me to ride it. Every year, for four years in a row, that wish never became a reality. Every year, I felt a little cheated. Every year, I felt a little farther away from the cool kids.
My birthday is in the summer. This gave me a second shot each year at asking for that elusive moped. At one point, before a birthday, my father agreed to go to the moped store with me and look at them. In my mind, I thought this made it a done deal — I thought the moped was finally mine. We went to the store, my father and me, but we didn’t go in. We peered at the mopeds through the front window — my heart sank, my dread was building…we walked away and went home.
I rode my bike a lot during those years of being mopedless. Once in a while I would double with one of the cool kids. More often than not, my best friend and I were left behind or always the last to arrive on our bikes. My best friend was actually the queen of the cool kids — she received more offers of doubling up on the moped than I. She turned them down. We arrived late…together, always.
When I was older, I brought up my anger at not getting a moped to my parents. You know there is a certain amount of time that has to pass before you can tell your parents you snuck out your window at night or you threw the biggest party in the history of your town or you were mad…and your feelings were hurt. Time makes those stories and reminisces less painful. Time helps you tell them with a laugh. Time makes your feelings not feel so hurt.
It’s been over a year since my mother died and over two years since my father died. I miss telling them how left out I was because they never bought me a moped. I miss telling them I would have been careful. I miss telling them how my best friend and I had some great talks when we were left behind. My hurt feelings about my lack of a moped stopped a long time ago — but the laughter I got from telling those stories to my parents will echo in me forever. I guess I should let go of the moped — I guess it’s time to move on. But sometimes, I think, being a cool kid would still be really cool.