Submitted into Contest #151 in response to: Write about somebody breaking a cycle.... view prompt


Teens & Young Adult Friendship Creative Nonfiction

I wasn’t very cool in school, kind of nerdy, shy, and awkward. I had always felt weird about people, we would be cool one day and the next day they would pretend they didn’t know me.  I always wanted to be like my older brother Rick, was super popular in school had a lot of friends and friends that would pretty much take a bullet for him. Rick being my brother made me, I guess sort of cool, but my brother did his best to give me tools so that I could be cool on my own. He taught me how to breakdance, always put me on to cool music, and taught me to have rhythm.

That was all a long time ago, I was grown now and my brother was in IT but was still cool. Me, I was a regular dude, still underpaid, still uncool and awkward. My brother was ten years older so he had a lot of life experience over me.

In the summer of what I think was 2015, my brother had moved into Vegas where I lived, we met up and hung out. I would regularly come over, we would play video games eat, drink and occasionally do some drugs. My brother had always known that I was awkward but he tried his best to at least shape me to have conversations with strangers and just be interesting.  So a few months pass and I come over and my brother had just gotten a nice sleek black street motorcycle. I guess as far as motorcycles are concerned there was two classifications at least from what I gathered. There was a R1 and a R500, the R1, I amassed was the faster of the two. His was a R500.

He would let me drive it around the neighborhood he lived in. I definitely had a steep learning curve and actually dropped it on its side one time, he was pretty upset.

I had never drove a stick shift car before so switching gears especially with my foot was kind of tough and I would stall out every once and a while.

It’s also a weird feeling because it feels like where you look is where the bike goes, so my brother told me don’t ever look at the ground.

I would come over once or twice a week, we would hang out and then after he would let me practice riding the bike, I never really figured why. One day I come over and  my brother is on his laptop looking at bikes, I ask “ I thought your bike was brand new?” He replies “It is” I just let him do his thing. Something about my brother that I should mention is that he is pretty frivolous with his money, but he had earned it. We were alike in the sense that he used to be broke and I am broke. He joined the Navy after a few years of hopping job to job. He says that boot camp was one the toughest things he ever had to do. He even showed me a video of him getting pepper sprayed and then was thrown into a gauntlet of tasks he had to complete whilst in excruciating pain. In the Navy is where he gained experience for IT. He didn’t get a certification or anything, but I guess being in the the military makes people wanna hire you, plus he had experience.

So one day I come by because he says his wife is making dinner. She is Filipino and cooks essentially gourmet food from the Philippines. Me and my brother are both Filipino, but I don’t get to eat much of the cuisine. Our mom passed away when I was 20 and I was 23 now. She was really the only one that would cook that kind of food, and my stepdad (also Filipino) and I had a falling out. My biological dad was in the Navy since I was born and lived in Maine. I would visit him some summers when I was a kid but I haven’t seen him in a few years. My brother had a different dad that he had a distant relationship with since he was a kid. My brother taught me a lot about things including how to defend myself.

So we eat adobo, which is a dish that can be chicken but she made it with beef. It’s a brown saucy somewhat peppery meal. The meat was good but the real part that could get your mouth to water is putting the sauce on top of white rice. I thank his wife and then Rick tells me we gotta go somewhere. I really don’t question anything and just get into the car. We drive just a few streets down into a neighborhood. Until we pull up to a house and my brother knocks on the door. The guy was a darker Filipino or Hispanic guy, short and stocky, wearing shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt. He opens up the garage and that’s when I see the motorcycle, sleek and definitely street, it was a cobalt blue color, with Kawasaki written on the side, with no side mirrors but mirrors placed on the end of handlebars that you steer with.  I get out of the car while my brother talks with the guy, eventually my brother gets on the bike, I assume to test drive it, goes down the street, zooms back passed us and turns around and comes to a stop at the garage. “It’s fast” my brother says, “Well it’s an R1” the guy replies. My brother hands him a stack of cash, then tells me to hop in the car and follow him home while he rides the bike. I’m watching my brother pick up intense speed then slow down to wait for me to catch up. We eventually get home, and I get out of the car while he parks the bike in the garage. “You like it?” He asks “yeah looks dope” I reply, then he says “good it’s yours” and maybe someone a little braver than me would be really ecstatic bout the situation, but I was more nervous than anything and I reply “ what? for real ?” He says “ yes sir, come by tomorrow and we will test it out”

So I go home I can’t sleep really, I go to work, and then right after go to my brothers. He is waiting outside on his bike with now my bike propped up in the street.

So he’s says “go ahead get on “ I try to be cool and just act like yeah I can do this. I get on and my brother tells me “ now it’s a little different than my bike, older but works the same, and faster so easy on the gas” so I get going a little, it’s a little taller than my brothers so I have to get on full tippy toes to touch the ground while stationary. So we are riding around the neighborhood and I can really tell how sensitive the gas is, just a little twist and it picks up quick. My brother is behind me a little, then he gets in front of me and then motions me to turn back to go the house.

So we get back and he asks “how was that? I say “ it’s cool I definitely got to get used to it. I can’t really stop because tryna get going from a standstill I like stall out”

He says “ oh you will get used to it, come through tomorrow and we will go somewhere close”

I go home again, not feeling confident about riding, but it was fun and freeing. So tomorrow comes, I go to work then come over right after. He is outside already how he was the day before with my bike propped in the street. “There’s a road behind the neighborhood that no one is over on, let’s go over there” so I get on my bike and stalled it again so I gotta turn it back on, but then I get going. We get to the open empty road and he lifts the visor on his helmet and says “ go nuts”. So the road is pretty long and not too many streets intersecting and they have stop signs and I have the right of way. So I just go for it I twist the handle and get off to a wobbly start, but I straighten out, I am slowly twisting the gas, looking at the speedometer, going from 60 to 70 to 80, and eventually I’m pushing 90 and still going up, I feel like I’m flying. I hadn’t felt a rush like that before, being in control and zooming. I slow down and turn around and  ride a cool 60 mph back to where my brother was. “How was that?” He asked “it was really crazy” he says “good good, we gotta make a stop at the Target right down the street, let’s go”.

I get nervous again knowing that there is two stoplights on the way over there, but I say “sure, let’s go” we drive out to one of the intersections on the street we were on and get to the road my brother ahead of me. He gets to stop sign and stops then goes, me trailing, avoiding a stop, i slow down a little and then run the sign, we are going down the street and mind you this street is like a free way four lanes on both sides and cars in all of them, but I just follow my brother trying to stay calm.  I see that the light is red up ahead I’m praying for it to turn green before I get there. I slow down a little trying to buy time and it changes green. Smooth sailing I think to myself. I follow my brother to the left turning lane he makes the turn and I don’t and have to stop at the light. I’m sitting at the light tense as hell, knowing there is a whole row of cars behind me waiting to turn, I try to just get myself ready. The green arrow to turn left turns on and I try to go, but you guessed it, I stalled. I’m panicking at this point cars behind me honking, I motion them to go around me but they can’t because of cars on the side. I finally snap back to the bike and just try to start it again, I get it going and with all cars rushing me, I gun it and twist the gas hard. I’m in the turn I look at my speedometer and I pushed 70 in a short amount of time, then I look to my side, towards the pavement and I lose control of the bike and I feel myself get launched off it and hit the ground and start rolling. Once I reach a stop I’m a little dazed, but I don’t necessarily feel hurt, I sit up and look around, the bike is near me facing the opposite direction on its side, my clothes ripped. A large older guy stops and gets out his car to check on me, “you alright son” he says I don’t really know exactly what happened but I check my body and don’t see anything wrong. So I say “ yeah” I’m okay.  My brother swings around on his bike looking confused, “ I’m sorry “ I say, “it’s cool” he replies the guy felt comfortable to leave when my brother showed up so Rick helps me up and we go check on the bike and it won’t start anymore. That is the story of how I broke my motorCYCLE.

June 22, 2022 19:31

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17:43 Jul 01, 2022

Haha first off, I loved the first person narrative. I felt like I was listening to a friend tell an interesting story. Felt as though I was in the room, watching and listening to you tell the tale. "You had me in the first half, not gonna lie". I wasn't expecting the twist at the end! Good job!


Jeremy Renbarger
18:16 Jul 01, 2022

Aw yeah thanks for the feed back!


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Craig Westmore
11:52 Jun 28, 2022

I totally got into this story, Jeremy. I could never get the hang of shifting gears on my friend's dirt bike. Opening paragraph was relatable - awkward childhood and cool older brother. You established both characters and their relationship right away. I love the line, " my brother told me don’t ever look at the ground." That felt like a metaphor for life. When the older brother says, “good it’s yours” I was locked into the emotion of the little brother. Should be excited but actually terrified. I felt exactly that as I was reading i...


Jeremy Renbarger
02:21 Jun 29, 2022

Oh man thank you so much for reading it and connecting with it. Yeah at the end the older brother says it’s cool. It’s actually a true story and no I didn’t ride again lol


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