What she remembered was the motorcycle. The motorcycle had a black seat and a silver gas tank, a small mirror on either side of the handlebars. The mirrors reflected back the road, reflected back the past behind them.
There was a black-and-white picture somewhere of her standing on the back of her father’s motorcycle at two years old, helmet on her head, smiling. He’d told her a story of the time she rode on the back of the motorcycle and she fell off, into some grass, apparently unhurt. He told that story with pride in his voice, as though it was a shared adventure just between the two of them. As though only his daughter, his eldest daughter, was the kind of person who could fall off the back of a motorcycle as a child and come to no harm.
He didn’t tell her if her mother ever knew about it. Even now, so many years later, she remembers the motorcycle and the helmet and the soft grass. She remembers the deep gravelly growl of his voice, pleasantly gravelly, whenever he explained a thing to her, like how thunderstorms behave, or what it takes to fly a seaplane. She remembers that deep pleasant tone as something just between the two of them, between a father and his eldest daughter.
I am the daughter whose birth had made him a father, she thought. There is something in that. There is something in the mirror of our lives, held one against the other, the father’s life and the daughter’s life, once together on the seat of a motorcycle so many years ago, once together in a shared adventure.