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Orange Is the New Bike

December 2, 2014

When my niece was four, I pretended to hypnotize her. Waving my arms I said, “Think of something that makes you smile.”

“Purple,” she said.

“Not ice cream? Or toys?”

“Purple,” she said again. I understood how she felt.orange bike

In the last 16 months I’ve purchased five bicycles. Three were returned, one was sold and the fifth (thankfully!) is here to stay. What made this one special? The smoother gearing? The better fit? The disc brakes? No. The color. It’s orange.

Shortly after moving to NYC in 1997 to become a writer, I feared I’d made a mistake. Overwhelmed and lonely, I contemplated moving back to Massachusetts. Then a childhood friend invited me to visit her in London. After a few days I traveled alone to France, Italy and Spain. That was before cell phones, so it was just me and my journal. I slept in tiny hostels and spent my days exploring. It was daunting at first, but I pushed on, literally, step after step. With just a backpack and a pair of sneakers, I spent three weeks visiting museums, tasting new foods and learning to read maps. Unbeknownst at the time, I was mastering the art of new challenges.

ringNearing the end of my trip (along with my 20s), I ventured inside a bazaar off Las Ramblas Street in Barcelona filled with dried fruit, tweeting birds and jewelry. As I munched apricots, I came upon a ring. The starfish reminded me of my childhood on Cape Cod. I had never been big on the color orange, but the way the ring made me feel, I couldn’t pass it up.

Flying home, staring at the ring on my finger, I imagined it to how wearing an engagement ring might feel: excitement for the promise of the future. I returned to The Big Apple transformed, empowered and ready for the challenges ahead.

A few years ago I lost the ring. It had become too big, but I wore it because I was feeling nostalgic. I was saddened, knowing even a replica could never replace it. Then I saw the color orange on a pair of sneakers and was suddenly reminded of the feeling I’d had when I’d first seen the ring. Now the color orange itself is a reminder I can do anything. And that alone makes me smile.

p.s. A day later the ring was found, but I’ve become hesitant to wear it again. I keep saying I’ll go to the jewelers to have it fitted, but something holds me back. Maybe I don’t want to take the chance of having it altered or I just like the “extra” space.

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7 Comments
  1. Marilyn Solomon permalink

    Great story! Now I know why you love bike riding so much. 😉

  2. Marilyn permalink

    Leaving for FLORIDA

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. Marilyn permalink

    Sorry I did not mean to send that email. We are leaving for Florida this Saturday. Hope you will be there at some point. How is papa and the rest of the family? Be well and hope to see you soon, M & N

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Tracey Lundberg permalink

    Nice story, Felice. I can relate to your story because I moved to New York and travelled to Europe in my 20’s also. NYC can be a little daunting until you’re ready to make it home… Sometimes you don’t realize how enlightened you are by travels until later on…Interesting story… Hold onto that ring 🙂

  5. Deborah Golden permalink

    It was wonderful to hear about that soul searching trip you made to Europe. I too have a special ring that I lost earlier this year and knew I could never replace. Lo & behold after at least two months I had dropped my eyeglasses on the floor near/under my bed, got down on my belly (not easy for me). Searching without glasses – so blurred vision – I saw a dusty lump a couple of feet under my bed – the missing ring!!! Thinking I would never ever have it again made the find even more sweet.

    P.S. Recently a client gave me a TREK bike and it is in the shop getting a tune up. My surgeon has given me the okay to ride. I can’t wait to regain my youth. Maybe someday I will be able to keep up with you!

  6. untie M permalink

    You are still a star in any color!

  7. Ali permalink

    simple reminders… love it! thanks for reminding me to notice 🙂

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