Chapter 1- Top of the World.

Flashback. 4 years ago.

We woke up one early morning. I left from beloved Libby house. Planning to set off on the adventure I didn’t foresee lasting a lifetime, began my first step into the world of the most memorable Memorial Day weekend of my life.¬†Going on a ride that will forever be ingrained in my memory.

I woke up bright and early, adrenaline pumping. Staring at the blinds of a window where I would dream the biggest dreams and ponder my entire life. The sun bleeded through the white stucco roomed-walls onto my open sliding door closet. As is every other day, I had a routine: alarm goes off, sit up from my bed, stretch as tall as I could, and stepped down where I could feel the carpet between my toes. I walk over to the non-supportive desk chair and began my morning ritual of looking at myself in the compact mirror.

“Today’s the day,”, I tell myself. What’s more is that waking up on this brisk morning, made me feel alive, connected with the world and hopeful more than ever. Mind you, coming back from New York made me realize how much more there is to discover in the rest of this planet. I continue to put on my make up, gather my closest things to “motorcycle gear” as I can get, and stare at myself in the mirror again one more time (“last check”). I walk out the double door of the entrance of Libby and unlock my pearl white ‘Baby Pearl’ ’03 Acura RSX, Type-S–by now, she’s been on so many adventures that it has plenty sentimental value to me. I drive down the sloping hill of Libby. Place on neutral because I just ride down, and stop at the stop sign between the intersection of our street at Spruce St. I make a right, go a little further before stopping at another stop sign–Kentwood. I then go over the train tracks and slowly go over them in first, then second gear. Roll over the tracks and find myself at another stop-Watkins and Spruce. Today, I’m feeling hopeful that the streets are clear in the early morning (I was right!). Driving down this street feels blissful. The sun is behind me, peaking out behind the ‘C’ mountain and clouds. I continue down, passing the local church and elementary school. I stop at the first stoplight intersection (also known as Iowa and Spruce), make a left when the light turned a protected green and continued my way down the most familiar place I’ve known for 4 years now. Continue down to the next stoplight–Massachusetts where to my right I saw Farmer Boys (another monumental spot). The light turns green and I make a left and an immediate right to the street (where I once carpooled late at night on the other side of the brand new apartments of Sterling Highlander). Make an immediate right on Athena Lane and park across the street right next two a house with a windowsill of my dreams. Of course 1167’s garage is wide open. His white 2005 Toyota Corolla with tinted windows, black rims, and extra shade extensions was parked across the street facing west bound. I continue to walk along the asphalt pavement and find myself walking nervously towards the house. Gracefully, I walk in large steps towards the garage where I find the beloved, Jae “Cole”, walking out of the garage door and greets me with a “Hello”. His galactic stare, his mysterious face, made me feel exhilarated and gleam with uncertainty. He carries his motorcycle tank bag, unzipping the rounded bag filled with his personal items. He stares at me up and down as I wore my Levis black buttoned jacket purchased from NY along with a pair of blue jeans from Forever 21, and some¬†brown military-style boots from Reflction. My mind races, “I hope I dressed appropriately”. I recall making sure to dress in jeans (as he mentioned) and covered shoes. He gives me a blank glare and walks inside to grab a tin-foiled wrap bundle and places it in his tank bag. He is already ready with dark pants, t-shirt below, and his climber’s hook along with his set of keys. He walks back inside a couple more times and brings me a set of motorcycle gloves. They look lightly used, but definitely worn before. He glances along the walls of the garage and unhooks a motorcycle jacket that conveniently hung on a hanger on the left wall. He hands it to me, and I stare at it as if it’s a type of armor and heavy in weight. I ask, “Should I wear my jacket?”. He responds, you can just wear the (motorcycle) jacket.. It might get hot”. I eventually remove my Levis jacket, unzip the jacket he temporarily lent me and begin to place my right arm into this armadillo form of armor. After feeling suited, I wear the jacket as if my arms are sticking out (mostly uncomfortable) but try to keep my cool as he is also wearing a jacket and ready to go. The most important gear piece of it all will be monumental in (all of) our rides. He puts on his very own white-silver dragon on black Shoei helmet and eventually hands over his blue AGV helmet to me. “It’s a medium sized helmet,” he says. “Does it fit tightly?” He shows me to grab both ends of the straps, where the red button will snap onto the opposite end and will be fastened below the chin. I take a gander at the helmet myself and carefully hold the helmet grasping both ends of the chinstrap. The helmet slides down the sides of my head, feeling like an extra layer of protection for my skull. I look over at him in a questionable motion, “Is this right?” I ask. He asks, “Does it fit?” Of course, I’m almost too excited to deny that the helmet feels a little large on me, and continue to say, “Yeah, it fits.” He walks over to me and fastens the helmet on me because I’ve already forgotten how to attach the chin strap. At that moment, I lift my head toward the ceiling of his garage while he carefully (and tightly) fastens the chinstrap to me. In a shaking motion, I give the helmet a shake to ensure the helmet is on tightly. He tells me I can lift the visor so I can breathe through for the time being. This is happening all so quickly, I forget that I leave my Levis jacket on a chair for me to retrieve back after our trip.

He takes one last look at his tank bag and glances at his iPhone 4. Gives me the thumbs up and at that instant, I knew we were ready to embark. His beautiful royal blue Yamaha R6 had a fading exhaust. The gradient shone a blueish-purple hue to a dirty fainted orange. Its sleek exterior fairings with the logo R6 and a tail that pointed out, sat the black faux leather seat where I saw rear pegs extended. He turned the key to the engine and I heard a loud “vr-vroom-vroom-vroom”. Lightly playing with the throttle, he revs the engine a couple times–as if this was his ritual before he rode his majestic metallic steed. For all I know, he could’ve just been showing off this beauty of a metal machine. R6BluJ, that was his pen name. The engine warmed up enough and in a matter of minutes I reassured myself that my belongings would be safe in his tank bag. He hopped on his bike, pushes the kickstand up, and moves a little forward into the actual driveway. He looks behind me and motions me to come over. I walk behind him whilst he extends his left hand toward me. I grab his hand with my left and he motions to put my other hand on his right shoulder. I use the bulk of my body weight to balance on his shoulders and find myself hopping over the tail of his Yamaha where I find myself straggling the passenger seat. He presses the garage door opener, where I feel the garage door slowly closing behind me. As soon as it shuts, I sit down on the seat, as if I were standing between a long beam. He grabs my hands and places it on the surface of his stomach and his waist. The instant I grab on, we take down the driveway on Athena and I jerk back slightly upon his acceleration. Thus, our journey to the Top of the World began.