Once upon a time, there was a little eight-year-old boy named Tourè. While Tourè was smart and cunning, funny, charismatic and confident, he still had many lessons to learn. One of those lessons was learning how to ride a bicycle. Last Christmas his wish came true and he received the Red Ranger bicycle he asked for. It was just like the one his neighbor Amari had. Amari was also eight years old. She was a very pretty girl with brown skin and brown eyes. She was filled with wit and charm. Everyone loved her. Tourè figured that if Amari could ride the Red Ranger then it couldn’t be hard.
It was a nice warm sunny day and Amari was outside riding her bike. Tourè keenly watched her from his window. Amari was very skilled. She could ride with no hands and she could squeeze her brakes so her back tire makes s’s. Tourè would watch in awe, secretly. This time, Amari saw him and called him outside. She stopped her bike right outside his gate.
“Hey Tourè, I see you watching me,” Amari said blocking the sun out of her eyes as she looked up. “Come outside and ride your new bike with me.”
Tourè ducked behind the curtain, hoping Amari would go away.
“I know you are there, I saw you!” Amari shouted at the window. “What are you afraid of Tourè?” Amari was laughing now.
“I’m not afraid of anything!” she heard a voice shot back. If he wasn’t caught before, Tourè was surely caught now.
Tourè got his bicycle and went outside to meet Amari. Amari suggested they race to the end of the street and back.
“I don’t feel like racing. Maybe we can walk and push our bikes.” Tourè responded.
“What? Why would we do that? Bikes were made for riding not pushing!” she shot back giggling.
“I’m really tired and my legs hurt.” Tourè made one excuse after another. “Plus, it’s too hot out to ride today.”
Amari sighed, “Tourè, if you don’t want to ride with me you can just say that.” She hopped on her bike and was about to ride off before Tourè blurted the truth.
“Alright, alright I admit it! I can’t ride a bicycle.” He hung his head.
“What do you mean you can’t?” Amari turned in a hurry.
“I knew you were going to make fun of me. That’s why I didn’t want to tell you.” Tourè picked up his bike and started walking off.
“Wait, no. I am serious. What do you mean you can’t?” Amari paused and waited for a response. None came, so she continued. “Are your legs broken?” she laughed. “Are you blind?”
“I tried to ride it once and I fell off. I can’t do it. That’s what I mean.” Tourè explained his plight. “And if I try again now I know I am going to fall off again because I can’t ride it.”
“Just because you fall off doesn’t mean you can’t. Everyone falls off their bike sometimes. Even me,” she smiled modestly, “You just don’t know how to ride. Stop saying you can’t. If you think you can’t you will never be able to. Whatever you think is true, you know?”
“Is it really that easy?” Tourè kicked his tires with doubt.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s that easy but my father told me, the first step in doing anything is believing you can. ‘It is important you take the word can’t out of your vocabulary’ he says and wags his finger at me.” Amari acted as her father would. Tourè laughed.
And so the lesson was taught.