Maybe Aidan took to the road to escape the chaos at home. Or it could have been that the older kids paired up and palled around together and Aidan, by virtue of his tender age, was left alone. The merchants on Madison Street chuckled at the tot and often gave him handouts of candy or day old donuts. Maybe he took off in search of treats. Or perhaps something fueled his dreams of foreign lands. The day Aidan took his long ride, the weather was unusually mild and he started out early. I later speculated about the route he took, but he didn’t tell. He was only two and didn’t talk much. I thought that he pedaled down the alley past the restaurant loading dock, past the back of the Con Ed office, past the laundromat, and past the Hot Diggity Dog garbage cans.
When he reached Keeler Avenue, I guessed that, instead of making his customary left turn, he proceeded across Keeler, and continued down the alley to Karlov Avenue, near the Off the Street Club where I hung out after school. Past garbage cans and back yards, packing boxes, and finally through trash and fire escapes, Aidan pressed on. A sewer rat scampered by, but Aidan took no notice. Then he made a left turn and headed north to Madison Street. He crossed Karlov and turned right at the Woolworth’s rather than crossing at the Neisner’s Dime Store. At Neisner’s, they sold cardboard pizza and pickles out of a barrel that the kids spat in. Onward he pushed heading east on Madison Street. He passed store after store, lampposts and parking meters, newsstands and record stores. When he got to Crawford, he finally had to stop for the traffic light. He was on a roll.
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