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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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Hidemi's Rambling No.527

The high school I attended held a mandatory summer camp when I was a freshman. The students chose activities such as swimming, hiking, cycling and so on beforehand. To spend the time in the camp together, my group of close friends at school decided to choose the same activities. We considered carefully which ones were the easiest and mildest, and chose archery and cycling. A couple of months later the cycling day in the camp arrived. We set off on each rental bicycle. Right after that, one of my friends, called Yone, fell. She quickly got back on her bike and we started again. Immediately, she fell again. We stopped to wait for her. She caught up with us by pushing her bike and said, ‘Sorry. Now let’s go!” But the same thing was repeated for the third time, her falling down, us waiting. We finally asked her what was going on and heard her astonishing confession. She said, “I can’t ride a bike.” We gaped. Being unable to ride a bike was nothing, but why did she choose cycling among all activities then? And telling us now? We pressed her for an explanation why she didn’t just say so when we decided on cycling. She told us that she couldn’t because we were joyfully talking about how easy cycling would be. In our group, she was the tenderest one, but also a pushover. She always had no opinion of her own and conformed to others. That was a given, but I never thought this much. We were talking about pushing our bikes and going all the way on foot with her when she said, “I’m ruining your plan for an easy activity. I can’t make you walk all the way because of me. Please ride on. I think I can manage along the way. I’m sorry. Sorry.” We mounted on the bike, not pedaling but walking while Yone kept falling and saying sorry for a million times. Her indecisive, weak-minded attitude has gradually gotten on my nerves. A girl of other group whom I had barely talked before pedaled back toward us. She had something to ask me. I answered and chatted, and we hit it off instantly. When I realized, I pedaled with her separating from my group. I stopped to wait at the foot of the downward slope and heard a scream. It was Yone flying down the slope on her bike and tumbling into a rice paddy. Other friends were chasing her and pulled her and her bike out of the rice paddy. Covered with mud, she was saying “Sorry” again and again. As a thoughtless teenager, I pedaled away with my new friend. When I thought about Yone again some miles away, the chain on my new friend’s bike suddenly snapped. While we were struggling to fix it covered with grease, Yone and other friends of my group caught up with us. By then, Yone was all over scrapes and mud like a cartoon. We ended up pushing a bike and walking together. A teacher came to us from the goal and reprimanded us, as we were incredibly late. On the bus heading home, my friends blamed me for being so cold-hearted that I had deserted Yone. But mud-caked Yone herself didn't blame me but kept apologizing to me instead…

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