Kathleen stood in her leathers and biker boots cursing the heat of the Southern Californian sun. She’d left Dublin a week before determined to do this one thing. She needed this like she needed air in her lungs. Images of James Dean and Marlon Brando, wild and free on the open road, thrilled her private fantasies as she’d led a life of quiet duty and middle-class respectability. She’d hushed those foolish thoughts before they’d made a sound. They were locked down deep inside.
It was during a routine eye-test that she first heard the term macular degeneration, thrown into air as though it was a wee thing, an insignificance. But as the months went by and the darkness crowded in, Kathleen realised that she simply had no more time left to ignore her longings. A few key-taps into a search-engine brought her here, 5000 miles from where her dreams had been imprisoned.
“Ready when you are Mutt.”
He led her gently by the arm to his enormous Harley and helped her on the back. As the engine roared to life she wrapped her arms around his waist and clamped her legs to his outer thighs. She felt 21 again. The thought made her giggle.
She’d made it. She was on the back of a Harley about to ride Route 66 the whole way from Santa Monica to Santa Fe. She was 65 and damn near blind.
But I’m breathing at last! I’m still alive!