First Love

“Don’t worry, I got you.”

Her arms cling gently to my waist, leaving just enough distance between our skin to make my cheeks burn.

I shouldn’t feel all tingly just from riding a bike.

We wobble, achingly slow, around our little cul-de-sac, narrowly avoiding the neatly trimmed trees lining each driveway of cookie-cutter houses.

I wanted nothing more than to hop off the incredibly uncomfortable bike seat and head back inside. After all, I hadn’t finished looking through all her world geography books or staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars we finished putting up on her ceiling, glittering her eyes every time I caught them.

But I knew she would keep me out in the biting cold until I could ride far enough on my own. I, on the other hand, was more than happy with lasting a full four seconds without toppling over.

Either way, I didn’t want the afternoon to end.

I walk the bike back to our starting point, next to her mom’s minivan. She laughs, the sound practically glowing, so addictive that it was all I wanted to hear from her.

“Sorry I suck at this. We don’t have to stay out here if you don’t want to.”

“I told you I’d teach you before you went home. We’re gonna bike all the way to the pond tomorrow, remember?

Her hand rests on my back, signaling me to get back on. It’s enough to warm my ice-cold fingers gripping the handlebars for dear life.

I start again, fighting gravity’s push, and pedal with all the strength I could muster. It isn’t enough to keep me upright as I teeter between her arms. She only smiles as I frantically look back at her.

It was a warning.

The first thing I notice is the lack of her warmth. Then I hear it: her brash cheers full of pride that her lesson was a success. I felt the pounding of my heart along with the rushing of wind filling my ears as I pedal with newfound confidence.

I decided then that I loved that feeling.

Meet the Author

Alexa Tan

1st year



"Lonely hopeless romantic. Perpetually in an existential crisis."

Instagram: @alexatan5



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