Lazily waking up, Iris drew in a deep breath and lightly played his face like a bongo to shock him into reality. Slowly rising and rubbing his eyes to clear the remnants of the last night’s dream, he wondered what today had in store. Sitting on the edge of the bed holding his face in his hands he listened to the house groan. The radiator sputtered heat into the still chilled room. The windows creak holding back the morning breeze. He stood to go to the bathroom and wash up. The floor flexed and squeaked under his growing frame. Briefly he glanced at the picture above their desk at the framed picture of J, his sisters, and his slightly younger self outside their newly renovated home.
Stretching his arms out to let the blood flow through his muscles, he was an eagle readying to soar. Pan was still asleep on the bunk above, the stars on their ceiling losing their nocturnal glow. The house was still steeped in slumber. No characteristic chatter outside his door, no food cooking, even the showers and sinks were silent this morning. Opening his door and walking by the stairs to the floor above he glimpsed up and saw the light right of the staircase was lit, someone was up or had left the light on from the night before. Uninterested he walked down the corridor, passed three rooms for his other brothers and sisters, through the living room, and he went to the half bathroom just outside their cozy kitchen.
Switching on the light to the bathroom, turning on the facets cold water, cupping his hands under the steady stream, Iris went through what he wanted to do with the day. Splashing the water onto his face and holding his hands in place as the water trickled down his shirtless chest. A handful of small scars accented his chest and what he figured was a birthmark rest on his right shoulder blade. He enjoyed the cold water on his skin, which others thought was strange. The numbing felt good in his mind. The feeling of his heart briefly racing to warm his body was a rush he enjoyed. Taking his toothbrush taken from the cabinet behind the mirror, he gazed at his uncommonly smooth pubescent face in the mirror. Brushing his newly braced teeth and gazing up and away from his reflection, it was decided a bike ride was the move.
Face and mouth clean, he poured a bowl of Lucky Charms. Took Soy Milk from the steady humming fridge and filled his plastic bowl. He gobbled down his fuel, walked back to his room to grab a towel, his green towel with a wall of ivy pictured on one side. A ninja at dawn, he scaled the stairs for a shower. The light was still on in the bathroom and illuminated a few drops of blood on the corner of the sink. Unconcerned Iris stepped into the tub for a quick shower. The steaming water ran through the roots of his mini-fro. Following a thorough scrubdown, Iris stepped out the shower back onto the rug in front of the fogged mirror. He gazed deep into the mirror and thought of who he was looking at. As he watched the steam swirl in the air before his eyes and saw his reflection through the haze he imagined it was his future self coming into view. He stood there, naked, for over ten minutes watching his future self fill his present form, never fully filling up, always finding more room to grow. He broke the gaze with his still hazy future self and soaked the remaining water up with his towel.
Throwing on a randomly selected pair underwear, shirt, and his favorite pair of jeans he heard Pan shifting still in bed. Quickly spinning out the slightly jarred door, Iris made his way through the house and outside to the chained bikes. He had been struggling to ride his bike. He need to fix the chain, top off the air in his back tire, and true his front wheel. The other bikes weren’t much better, but they would be easier to ride. Hebe, his older sister who was still in the house, Atlas, the eldest of his four brothers, and Pan, the youngest of the boys, all had bikes under the same lock and key as Iris.
Now he had to choose. Should I struggle through to ride and fix my bike, borrow Hebe’s bike, use Atlas’ bike, or take Pan’s bike?