I could fill a hundred blog posts about the 2005 Harley Davidson RoadKing that Brian and I bought together. I could fill at least one about the day we bought her, and all the pomp and ceremony that makes buying a Harley at a HD Dealership fun and exciting and a once in a lifetime experience.
I had grown up on motorcycles. My Dad had a Bridgestone and my Mom had a beautiful Yamaha. I loved sitting on the back of a bike, going up and down the back roads of New Hampshire with my Dad, and everyone loved to tell the story about how my Mom was riding her Yamaha around the yard one day and ended up climbing a tree with it…(she did hurt her wrist, but that was it).
To me, a motorcycle was even better than a snow machine because you could drive it a lot longer, you could go on regular roads, and to a kid like me they were just unbelievably cool.
I hadn’t been on one however, since my trips to Graham Texas, where I got the chance to drive (badly) on country dirt roads (and fell) but loved it. My love affairs with Harleys started when I was in Amway, newly divorced, and my “upline” leader suggested I needed a new “dream” from the one my ex had picked out for us.
Brian had never ridden a motorcycle, never mind driven one, but had looked on with jealousy when one of his uncles had one. When we were together, he got a chance to see my brother’s Harley, and after the big scare when I was critically ill with pancreatitis, Brian and I both decided that live was to short, and for us with our disabilities, to full of unknowns to wait for our retirement dreams.
We were also being choked financially by the transportation demands of his ex, that had us making sometimes 8 or more Somersworth to Milton trips every time we had Jamie for a weekend. Our vehicle was a huge V6 attached to a car that could have been a limo.
55 mpg? A payment that was the same as what car dealers were offering us for cars that were older and not in as good a shape? Get decent boots, an all weather suit and a full face helmet, and in New Hampshire you can ride a Harley from March to November…with global warming, perhaps even later. It was a deal. We were the happiest couple that day!
Now here we are in 2015, and the abuse, assaults, harassment, stalking, female relational abuse, and all the other horrible thing that happened when Brian had the nerve to put an engagement ring on my finger without securing the permission of the “sisters” (bio, in law, and ex-wife) are still hurting us, and this time it is Black Cherry that is at risk.
We almost lost her last fall, as Brian, while we were apart, was so sick with a thyroid goiter he was taken advantage of by people who in some cases had been hired to care for him, and none of them made sure he paid his bills. Having decided that since we were apparently done as a couple, I was getting ready to leave New England, become a celibate religious, perhaps even a cloistered one, when he first contacted me.
I spent thousands of dollars between December and July on late charges, extra interest fees, payments, insurance, storage fees, oil, and more. And I did it under the most difficult circumstances of my life, a series of events that are carefully saved in hours of raw footage that someday may be a documentary.
But eventually, I got hired as a freelance writer. I got an opportunity to have an apartment of my own in a complex with high security to protect me from those who last fall had done me so much harm. But there was no way I could continue to pay for my bills, Black Cherry, and the assorted other bills of Brian’s I was helping him with. This was a wheelchair ready apartment and the landlord would finally allow my medical comfort dog Booker and I to be together.
Literally something had to give. We spent one whole day talking about it, and Brian agreed to take over the payments. Knowing that I was facing two surgical procedures, we estimated that it would be six months before I would be settled healthy and earning extra as a freelance journalist to take the payments back over.
I was nervous, but also excited when I found a shop who promised a lower repair bill for the damage caused by Brian’s two accidents. The owner had a relative with MS, and also offered to design, and install the wheelchair sidecar with hand controls I now needed because of the damage to my health from everything that had happened to me last August through the winter. He even offered to help me with the grant applications and fundraising. I was all set to have him start this month.
But, I fear it will not be. Unexpected bills come up, especially when you have a 12 year old. Money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to, and for a variety of reasons, Black Cherry is again in danger of being repossessed. I had one day I went up, straddled her like a horse, and just laid my head down and cried against the gas tank, apologizing to her for not making sure that she went off the road after the first accident, for not being strong enough to fix her myself, for her being the the latest victim of chaos and damage caused by people who just refused to accept that Brian and I , like many 40 somethings, just wanted to ride, live our lives, and ride off into the sunset happily married.
I cried again the other night, missing her – the strong, capable bike you see in these photos – even as I wracked my brains trying to think how I might yet save the banged up, knocking engine, broken clutch, torn and scarred saddlebags wreck We have now. Her V engine is still (I think) somewhat sound, her mileage still low enough, that if I can pull off a miracle, she could get fixed, get that sidecar, and I would finally have a vehicle to go places instead of having to spend almost as much as my rent paying for the para-transit wheelchair van and other mass transit. But it would be a big miracle…
Let me tell you about our first Harley…She was a beauty named Black Cherry, and she was the bike I had always dreamed of having…..