Ride On

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He is a fixture, this man in his stained tee-shirt and ripped jeans. The little town he calls home knows him and knows him well. At least they know the sight of him. They see him on his bike every day. Occasionally he makes small talk with people sitting outside the cafe. They smile and nod, and one or two of them even remember his name. Some joke that he does not.

He is just the local color. No one really knows what, if anything, he does for a living. They never see him with a wife or kids but in their brains they spin stories of who this man is. They do it to amuse themselves, and sometimes, to remind themselves how much better off they are than him. He just pedals away, blissfully unaware of their opinions, and sharing his on every thing and any thing.

Pedaling away and being seen and seeing everything. Not one of his neighbors give it a second thought that he might be riding along speculating in just as wild a manner as they. What stories has he written in his head about each of them? Who is a cheat? Who is a saint? Who has a revolving door of boyfriends? Who is a charity case? Oh, wait, that is him.

They think he does not know, but he does. He does not care. A job not worth mentioning to get by and his daily rides, that is all he needs. They never know the anxiety that kept him from ever dating, much less making a family. They do not need to. He has learned to accept who he is and enjoy life on his terms. They know that much from his smile and his friendly conversation. They know he is content, and not all of them judge him for it.

Not all of them measure him, or themselves, by what they own, what job they hold, or how many people answer to them. Not all of them see life as a ladder to be climbed, even if they do not see it as a wind to blow them along they way he does. They do not have to. They, like him, need only see what they need to see to be happy, and that is OK by him.

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