She's fit. Lycra-ed up like yours truly and with curves to make Jony Ive weep. We're getting on famously and heading to hers. Life is sweet.
Only fly in the ointment is this kid in her arms. Three or four years old, apparently. He's calmer now the bleeding's stopped. Hell of a golf ball on his forehead. At least his Joe 90s are intact. Little trooper makes a big show of hugging his mum and shoots me the evils.
Can't blame him. Can't blame me, either, come to that. Russ The Bus had said he'd catch me up. Fat chance, that fat lard. So I was caning it down the cycle path and pushing 25 coming up to the library bend. I swish past Lady Lycra and sneak a cheeky peek behind. Then, too late, I see this tiny kid on a tiny bike. I swerve right, he veers left, and wham!
Me and the wheels seem fine. Kid less so, wailing away. Says his legs hurt. They look fine to me. But his mouth's bloody, probably a cut lip.
Sorry, I say. Really sorry.
Not your fault, she says.
See? Not my fault.
As she brushes him down and picks him up, I notice her ring, or lack thereof. Best I do the gentlemanly thing and lug junior's bike back.
You live nearby? Give me a sec to lock up mine and I’ll see you home.
We're chatting away in between the kid's bawling. If I could, I'd offer her - them - a lift to A&E. I tell the unimpressed kid about my encounter with that dog on this very same cycle path. Now that did chafe.
Must be tough, I say, bringing up a kid on your own.
Her turn to throw me a look. We turn into her close and she thanks me for helping. Not a problem, I say, and give the kid’s hair a quick ruffle. He starts up again.
They head indoors. Number 17. Time to retrace my steps. I'm slipping off my D-lock and checking my spokes when Russ The Bus pants around the corner. Doesn’t take me long to bring him up to speed.
Happens, he says. I've taken out one or two in my time. The mum: was she fit?
We are thrilled to announce our 2022 Best Small Fictions nominations: A girl by Melissa Llanes Brownlee Detached by Anika Carpenter ...
One day the planet tilted just ever so slightly to the left and everyone and everything I’d ever known in between fell off. It wasn’t easy t...
A shaft of sunlight fell across the worn herringbone floor, drawing his gaze upwards to the flawless blue sky beyond the row of windows, ...
A girl sits, waiting. She reaches above her head for a girl. A girl to pluck from the tree of girls. The tree is full and ripe, the perfect ...