When my family gets together, I disappear.
I mean, there's only so much screaming,fighting and singstar a man can take ! So after Jill has smashed me more times than she is capable of counting, and my vocal chords are fried, I volunteer Beryl for a turn, wish her luck and quickly leave.
I snatch my keys up on the way out, their familiar jingle already sparking excitement. Slipping out the back, I stand in awe. She'd been mine for many years now, and stillnever ceases to amaze me. They tell me I'm too old for her, but she gives me that rush, keeps me alive. I examine her carefully, she appears in good shape, so I jump on, set the keys in the ignition and we roar away.
The earth trembles with a constant rumble beneath spinning tyres. A quick look behind reveals endless swirls of dust, the breadcrumbs of my trail. My only foe is the wind, beating against me in a fierce battle of wills. Adrenalin is pulsing through me, giving me some much needed cardiovascular exercise.
In a daring moment I close my eyes.
Just embrace the feeling.
And I slammed on the brakes and screamed to a stop with a rather impressive skid.
I had reached the end of the road. The big chestnut, battered swing. Our place.
The sun was setting again, for the fourth time this week. I can only watch in wonder as pink and orange streamers stretch across the sky. Beautiful. Helen would have loved this. She always did.
My seat felt empty behind me as I rode back.
The house was luminous against the still darkness of the countryside. The music was up far too loud again, doing its very best to rise above the laughing and chatter. I smiled as I pulled up. A small child ran out the house. "Grandpa, grandpa !"
" Grandpa's back ! "