I did not have a bicycle yet, but I wanted one. I did not know how to ride a bike yet, but I wanted to. My cousin, Don, four years older, had a cool bike. It was quite a bit bigger than my tricycle.
Don lived on a street that was on a hill. I knew about gravity, just not what it was called. I had a wagon that rolled down hill but not up hill. Sleds work on the same scientific principle.
So, I pushed the bicycle up the hill a few houses. Don’s house was second from the bottom, right before the busy cross street that connected to the highway. Don’t worry, I knew better than to go on the highway.
It was difficult to get onto the seat and to reach the pedals. In fact, that might have been the problem — difficulty reaching those silly pedals. Of course, one does not need pedals for a tire to roll downhill. One does need pedals to apply the brakes on the type of bicycle Don had. I am not sure that made a difference. My trike did not have brakes. Neither did my wagon nor my sled. I did not know to push back on the pedal to brake. Of course, that would have required long enough legs.
Somehow, I got onto the seat of the bike and got the bike to head down the hill. Excellent balance I suppose. Brains, not so much.
As the speed accelerated and the highway approached, I had to figure out how to stop the dang thing. Brilliantly, I crashed the bike into a tree. Unfortunately, the collision damaged the bike and also my self esteem.
There was no hiding what had just occurred, nor who was at fault.
Don came out of the house. He was very nice, very forgiving. My parents were less understanding.
Among other things they said, they told me to tell Don that I was sorry. That was easy. I was sorry. I was very sorry. I was as sorry as I had ever been in my life.
It was wrong of me to wreck Don’s bike. I did not intend that result, but I was responsible for that damage.
Recently, an adult friend who caused damage to our friendship explained that he did not mean to hurt me by what he did. He was not remorseful because his motive was pure (like mine in not meaning to wreck the bike). So I told him that, regardless of intent, damage was done. Then he said that he was sorry. I appreciated it because it seems that I am not as nice as Cousin Don, who forgave even before the apology. He is more Christ-like than am I. It is easier for me to forgive a person who says he is sorry.