by Angela Santistevan
She couldn’t stop grinning. Unaware of the fact that she was, Katie also couldn’t stop singing. It was one of the songs the Sheriff liked so much, “Everyday it’s getting closer, mmm hmm, it’s getting closer, going faster than a roller coaster…” She couldn’t help herself, Katie was over the top on this one, she was practically bursting with anticipation. “What a day!” Katie had to get on her tiptoes to sit on her bike, after that it was cake, just balancing and pedaling. She didn’t concern herself at all about stopping and how that would all work out.
The ten-speed wasn’t too big; Katie was just really small for her age. She was one of those people who was always ready first and a little bit early for everything. She came into the world that way. She was premature.
Her mother had abruption of the placenta, and the Doctor took Katie by C-section. Tragically she never met her mother. The Pastor brought Katie home alone; his wife didn’t survive the trauma. Rather than wallowing in sorrow over the loss of a relationship with her mother, Katie clung to what the Bible had to say, paraphrasing, that there is no greater love than one should give up their life for another’s. Katie never doubted her mother’s love. Her mom had sacrificed her own life for her. Katie knew that her mother adored her.
Katie never caught up size-wise the way the Doc had told her dad that she would. She was always the smallest kid in the class, but she was also one of the smartest ones, so she didn’t care about being little.
Taking off on her bike was a blast. She felt like she was flying. She loved the smell of early summer, and it felt as if she were a part of the wind. Her short, auburn curls were flying all around her face and neck; if anyone had seen it, they may have thought she was aflame, with her red hair wildly whipping around her shoulders and neck.
Katie was a hopeless daydreamer. She was born in February 1967; preceding the summer of love, and her horoscope even said that people who were Aquarians had a tendency to daydream. She was also a gifted artist. Katie loved music, singing, painting, writing, and every craft project she had ever tried. She just had to create; it was who she was.
As the tiny girl was looking up at the clouds and seeing castles and dragons, she quickly approached the top of the really big hill – the hill that she had looked forward to ‘gliding’ down. She was still looking up, when her bike dropped dramatically down the under estimated steep slope. That got her attention. She lost control of the purple ten-speed. That was another characteristic of Katie’s, losing control of a situation. She had grown used to it though, in the respect that she generally rolled with the flow, and didn’t freak out. Freaking out was Sissy’s job, and she did it well.
Halfway down the hill, Katie’s bike started sliding sideways, picking up momentum all the while. Trying to straighten the wheels, Katie overcompensated by turning the steering bars too far, too fast, and too hard. Head first over the bars went Katie, but she didn’t let go of her ride. Instead she clung to it and it smashed into her little body until she had no choice but to let go. She and the bike rode the dirt all the way to the bottom of the hill.
Her icy, bright blue eyes were stinging with tears which she wouldn’t let fall. Her face was contorted, like a Van Gogh painting, due to the pain, but she knew it was her fault, and she was determined that she wasn’t going to cry. The bike had racked her in her privates, and Katie had speckled blood on her shorts as if she had wet herself; except instead of it being water it was blood. That really embarrassed her even though there was no one around to witness it. The lump in her throat hurt, and she had the wind knocked out of her. At this point, all she could do was lay there at the bottom of what she once thought of as a hill; and now and forever more, considered to be a great mountain. She gasped and struggled to breathe, and once she finally caught her breath, she just gave in and let some tears fall. Katie was covered with dust and dirt, which was grotesquely mingled with blood. “It looks so much worse than it really is”, she practiced her speech for her dad. Her wrist hurt really badly and was terribly twisted, swollen and quickly turning purple.
Still not entirely composed, she walked her once lovely, and now trashed, bicycle over to the side of the grassy slope, off the country road; and abandoned it there for the time being. She was closer to Sissy’s now anyway, so she started slowly walking towards her best friend’s house.
A native of Virginia, Angela Santistevan has lived in many regions of the United States, as well as Central America. She received her education at Purdue University in Indiana. She has two previously published novels; Downfall, and Good at Being Bad. Katie and Siciley is the first short story she has published.