Part 1 available here.
"You have to decide which is going to be more important to you, family or work."
"Since Kiv... it's been an easy choice."
"We know, Ace, and we're not upset. We miss you, but we understand."
"When I saw you out there, yesterday, riding to work, I felt so proud of you, doing whatever you can to make ends meet. I just wanted you to know."
Every half-year or so, I revisit the old dating site accounts, change up some of the descriptions: who I am, what I'm looking for, what I'm doing with my life... This last one caught me this time, and I changed it back to something it had once been, long ago, when I first signed up:
"Working enough to not have to worry about money, but not too much to not have time to enjoy it."
Not that it mattered terribly, hardly anyone ever bothered to stop by and read it.
Almost Every Day
It was so tempting, instead of stopping at work and locking up my bicycle, to just keep riding, keep going, and leave it all behind. Once you get into that rhythm, get that steady sense of motion, get the feeling that you could just keep pedaling forever... and you never want to stop.
Sometimes, I wish I didn't have so much tying me down, not the books or the computers or the hard copies of things I've written or the need to pay for a place to put it all, and I could just live on the back of my bicycle.
I could live like that, if I could just let it all go, but letting go... like change, that was something that bothered me, something that I was almost willing to admit that I feared. And fear of it was not even something death itself could claim, only fear of what would happen to those I left behind.
But I couldn't do that, I wouldn't do that, and so I reigned in the impulse and chained up my bike, obediently walking in to my scheduled shift, even as I ever wished and considered otherwise.