What Makes Me, Me

Before I put on the helmet, people sum me up using simple terms:
red hair, white, wealthy, privileged
But I am much more than that
Before I get on the bike, you can’t know what makes me, Me.

Throw the leg over, clip the helmet, and
Attention, row!
Push, pull, push, pull, circling up up up the hill
Boom Stroke, One, Two
The bow surges forward
My whole body writhes in pain, but I cannot stop
With the next stroke all the skin tears off my left thumb
The closer I get to top, the harder it is to pedal
Power 10, hardest strokes in two
That’s one, TWO
My body explodes
I exert all the energy I have
I’ve reached the top

Air rushes past my face as I fly down the other side
Kick, snare, kick, snare,
The steady beat pounds out
As I coast to the finish line I can still taste the sweat of the climb
Almost there, the crowd roars in the distance
Drumroll, crash
I soar through the finish line

I jump off my bike,
Home at last,
My true sanctuary, where I can be myself
Shy outside, kind inside
Someone who finds it hard to talk to new people
But once I catch their rhythm I can’t stop
So please talk to me.

Walter Nicolson ’16

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