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It's Nelly's World

Time Like a Bridge

alec vanderboom

I was a different rider now. I moved back and forth between two worlds, mommy world and motorcycle world. They had different people in them, different priorities, different codes and language. Citizens of these countries on the other side of the globe from each other couldn’t understand why I didn’t fully inhabit one or the other, and I could not explain. Did I want a unified life? No, I just wanted time to be endless so I could continually slip through the crack between the two people I was. I wanted all the time in the world to put on a dress and go to friends’ for dinner, drinking wine on the patio and discussing the current presidential administration while the children played in the backyard. I wanted all the time in the world to go motorcycle camping and ride to Florida and talk merits of tires and spend whole days taking pieces off engines and cleaning them and putting them back.

I did not have all the time in the world. All at once, I knew. Time had become rare, elusive, choked off and breathing hard. While I was going on my way, I had unwittingly made a passage of some moment.

There is a time like a bridge—let us say it is the age of fifty. On one side of the bridge is forever: no idea of “end” intrudes on anything, especially one’s daydreams. Tell the fortysomethings, then: Go, have your big parties with your big platters in your big houses. Sometime soon, it will all seem too big, too full of infinite hope; a little pointless. Life’s vista has narrowed. That is when you have crossed over the bridge, and that is when you find yourself thinking alarming things like, Holy shit, I may, if I am lucky, have something like twenty-five, maybe thirty, years left. And I’m not going to be riding into my seventies, probably: some people do, but perhaps they shouldn’t. Enough said. So—fifteen years left. That means fifteen seasons, those ever-shorter leases on fine weather that blaze by and melt into cold.