Rumbling down the one-way street in front of my studio was a collection of motorcycles finishing up a day of cruising. It was twilight and the slight curve where the street turns at the base of the hill is a natural spot for gravel and sand to gather.
One of the riders skidded and dropped the bike. It was low speed, but still that’s a lot of metal to connect with pavement.
We were watching the impromptu parade from inside and saw the whole thing happen in slow motion.
The 20 or so riders dismounted to survey injury and damage. As helmets were removed, it was becoming clear that they were all women, in a casual gang of weekend riders called the “Chrome Divas” who venture out on organized runs for charity.
A bent pedal and a sprained ankle was the early diagnosis. A slightly embarrassed rider, but otherwise everyone ok.
I got her a glass of water and a chair as she waited for a paramedic, and for the auto club to haul the bike to the shop.
The “gang” sped away to the bar for a beer and left the lone biker with us to keep her company until help arrived. In the gathering darkness, it was not apparent right away, but something about this woman was familiar: a turn of phrase, a figure of speech, her laugh?
After returning to the area after a time away, every chance encounter seemed to unlock a childhood memory. Was my memory playing tricks on me?
“Marie?” I asked out of practically nowhere. “Yes”
I was surprised. She was perplexed.
This was an old neighbour and childhood chum from kindergarten who I grew up with through high school. She actually came with me when I got my driver’s license at 16.
We laughed and chatted in the dark for about an hour until her brother arrived, discussing life in the little town down the road where we grew up and all the personalities that lived there.
It was a life moment, pure accident.
The incident inspired me to paint this scene, which I just had to call “Chrome Divas.”
To help with the cause, a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to the Chrome Divas charity fund.