My Name is Jonas
“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas and land on barbarous coasts.” — Melville
I was heading south on the 1 toward San Francisco, alone, riding a forest green Triumph, hugging the centerline, and swooping in and out of the tsunami zones. Pleasant wispy clouds drifted lazily over the ocean. Surfers camping out on the beach enjoyed the warmer days brought on by Indian summer. Tucked under my helmet the earbuds shuffled to the first track on that blue album from the ‘90s.
There wasn’t much traffic and I had long since left behind the other road tourists. I leaned hard into the next turn, knee inches off the asphalt, and zipped up the ridge. The road was two lanes and the curving rail on my right separated me from sky. I pitched fast and switched back in the other direction. To my left, the hillside ran up a steep slope. It was a thrilling ride, popular with bikers for the last half-century. The next corner, my last, was a blind one.
I took it at around 55, or at least that’s what I told the cops. As I cleared the curve I saw him; a guy in his twenties wearing a black leather jacket, waving his arms above his head. Behind his signaling was a girl with thick curly brown hair holding a baby. A little black and white spotted dog on a reflective pink leash circled under her feet. Directly to her back was their jackknifed camper trailer.
Their pickup was sideways blocking the other lane with a line of cars backed up behind them. The camper was wedged between the guardrail and the pickup. There was no way through, except through them. The rocky wall to my left didn’t look half as inviting as the blue sky to my right. I aimed toward the open ocean and locked up my brakes. I missed the man by inches and could make out the woman’s scream as I busted through the guardrail.
The electric guitars in my ears roared to the crescendo. I sailed over the handlebars like some kind of Hollywood stuntman, freeing myself from the falling bike. All I could see was blue sky reaching out to meet the ocean at the horizon. I understood what it was to fly. I was Superman.
Looking down, it seemed I would miss the rocks and make it into the water. The surf came up fast and hit hard. The music silenced and everything went black.