Character Study: "Albert" / by Jordan Groves

It had been a solid minute or two since this wave of cyclists had begun to lazily ride past my seat along the water. Each person wore at least a rainbow's worth of color, including large amounts painted on their faces. Bikes were decked out in lights blinking different patterns. They laughed and sang as they peddled by, and, finally, began to slide off into the distance.

That's when I saw Albert approaching from afar.

His hair was slicked back down into a long mane of white, grey, and the last remnants of the original black. A combination of weeks of oil and grease mixed with the brisk breeze rippling through the clumped locks held it all firmly in shape. Well, held what was left of his hair. Long though it was, it stemmed from the large bald patch atop his head in the perfect shape of a horseshoe. The bare skin wrinkled with the weight of time and bake a slight shade of red beyond its typical bronze. Wrinkles cascade down into a furrowed funnel at the crux of his slightly crooked nose. His face reminiscent of a wizened warlock of non-existent fantasies--out of place in this modern setting, cycling past towers of steel and green glass. His flip-flop laden feet struggle with their unnatural task of pedaling his bike.

The white shirt on his back billowed as he sped along the path. There was a logo of some sort upon it, but I can't remember what it looked like. A song had slowly approach with Albert, and the din now surrounded me. The buggy hitched to the back of his bike groaned just loud enough under the weight of the speaker within to be audible amongst the music being played.

I don't know where Albert ventured forth to that day, and, based solely on how I interpreted the look on his face as he passed, Albert has just as much of clue himself. Within his eye, I saw a youthful wonder at the sight of the parade of cyclist that I had watch ride past me mere moments before his arrival.

This look ate at me. It reminded me of happier days when the world was new to me and every move, ever breath, ever blink felt original. Felt life giving. "Ride on Albert," I thought, a smile peaking out slightly. Ride on he did--though unaided by me. He was driven on with an energy that I once believed faded with time, but now know can return at a moments notice, as if by magic. His face was slightly mute in expression, but his eyes were wide with glee as he made chase after the rainbow of clicking gears, merry cheers, honking horns, and ringing bells.

As Albert's music echoed from farther and farther away, the distant sounds became one.