by Joanita Pinto
60! He was nearing 60!
And the road was an unravelling black ribbon in front of him, calling, teasing, calling.
It was his birthday.
60 he’d turned.
He accelerated the old bike.
The one that faithfully took him to work everyday.
The one that suffered city potholes, traffic that felt like funeral processions.
‘What if I did 60?’ he’d thought
Had never done that ever.
It was a lonely highway.
It had been a lonely life:
Wake up. Pour milk over cornflakes.
Check the newspapers roll out at the printing press.
Clean up the machines, oil the gears.
Have dinner as the neighbor’s cat sat and watched.
On weekends walk through the fair. Never take the ferris wheel.
(He’d been tied to it as punishment when he was four.
Made to go round and round and round till he cried).
Today he was 60.
No going around in circles anymore.
He watched the needle move, move, move.
The wind hummed to him first.
Then it sang. Loud and free, like a rockstar.
He saw the car come up the slope in the rear-view mirror.
He heard the sirens.
To him they sounded like ‘Happy Birthday to You’.
Tomorrow he’d begin 61. Nice.