Over the sound of bicycle pawls tick, tick, ticking across a cracked country road, I hear a piano. The song sneaks through my headphones like a cold breeze through an almost-closed window. I know the sound. I know the name. Primavera by Ludovico Einaudi. The song that helped me survive.
It trills quietly, whimsically. Sad. Telling the story of easier days that have been lost beneath the shadows of pain and age. The song changes slightly, becoming more conflicted and melancholic in my ears. My feet push harder on my pedals. I shift into a higher gear, not because the road necessitates it, but because my sudden need for a fight does. Violins begin to play short, clipped notes. I bite my lip. I push harder. The music rises, clatters, cries. And suddenly I’m crying
because it’s October again and I’m running,
running on legs that are weak because I haven’t been able to leave my house and they’ve been useless; running with legs that I folded against my stomach to get through long, sick, sleepless nights and days; running, because that’s what people told me people do when they’re not right. They run.
I haven’t run since.
My bicycle is my body now. Anything it can do, I can do. It rises, Primavera rises, and I rise. Pushing through old darkness, old depression, old heartbreak, old cries of pain. Remembering the way I listened to the same song on a city train with no care in the world weeks before I listened to it to drag myself out of suffocating anxiety.
How long ago autumn seems, yet how close. Close enough to remind me that this girl I’ve built, this headstrong, fiesty, confident girl is simply a phoenix who rose out of the ashes of everything she thought she wanted.
A girl who found wings, not in the sky, but under embers.
Chains click, pawls tick, wheels whir. Hair, free of a helmet, dances in the wind, strands of it slapping against my cheeks. I watch life moving onward in this small town I pass through. Primavera, the song I often wept through back then, plays on.
This time, I smile.