The Hill taunted him by it's very presence. It was steep with a curve to the right toward the bottom just before another smaller hill rose up again. The Hill had claimed many a challenger; sprains, broken bones, road rash
, stitches.All were badges of honor
"Taking The Hill" was a rite of passage. You weren't in until you did it. He wanted that hill so bad he could taste it. Week after week he had watched the cool kids speed down it on their bikes, their shirts fluttering behind them like flags as they crouched low over their handlebars. They would hurl jeers at him as they flew by. They would hoot with laughter, "What are ya? Chicken?!"
At school they would mock him in the halls. "Bauck, bauck, bauck!" Then they would mess up his hair and dump his books as they ran off.
He hated/respected those kids who had the guts to take the hill. They were right, he was a coward, afraid to take the chance but longing to just the same. He was pulled both ways in a constant tug o war. He hated himself for being afraid. "Boys aren't 'fraid of nuthin", that's what his Dad told him. What would his dad think if he knew?
So, once again he sat on the sidewalk near the bottom of The Hill watching the cool kids. This time instead of riding by with insults, they stopped. "Hey chicken! We've found your eggs!" Suddenly he was pelted with raw eggs. Egg yolk and whites dripped down his hair and neck and stuck to his shirt. He scrambled to his feet humiliated. He ran home holding his hands over his ears to block the yells, tears streaming down his angry cheeks.
At home he paced the garage floor, back and forth. Now he was just plain angry. He kicked his bike. "Stupid Hill!! Stupid bike!"
He felt a determined resolve slip over him as he became calm. He strapped on his helmet and threw his leg over the bike. He was going to do it. He was going to take The Hill.
He neared the top, stopping to look down it. His heart was pounding but there was no way he was going to back out now. His knuckles were white as he gripped the handlebars. He mentally rode The Hill first noting to himself when to lean at just the right point. He unbuttoned his shirt, tightened his chin strap, and the world grew silent. He leaned forward over the bars, pushing off pedaling faster and faster with only the rush of wind howling in his ears.
Suddenly he knew no fear, just a pure rush of excitement. He smiled as he sat up straight in his seat, stopped pedaling, and gripped the center bar with his knees squeezing tightly. Then, he let go of the handlegrips raising his arms up and out like a bird spreading its wings to take flight. He felt the wind beat against his chest flapping his shirt behind him in triumph. faster... faster.
The curve was coming up but he knew he could do it. He leaned his body to the right smoothly gliding around the spot that took bites out of the less fortunate.
His momentum carried him up the second hill slowing his speed but not enough to need pedals. He kept his hands up, the whole way. When he reached the top he let out a whoop of joy! "Eeeeehaaaaa!"
The other kids just stood there with their jaws open looking dumbfounded. "What're you crazy?! No hands?!!!!"
He didn't feel the need to answer. He had conquered The Hill. No words were necessary. He whistled all the way home.