A Bit Of Nostalgia

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 04, 2018

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Submitted: August 04, 2018

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A Bit Of Nostalgia.

Right, you two,” Dad announced, in his no-nonsense tone. “I want you outside in five minutes. We’ve got some cleaning up to do, and then I’m going to take you on a good old-fashioned experience.

Both I and my younger sister sighed. We’d already planned out our days and we had not intended spending time with each other, let alone our Dad. I looked to Mom for some kind of escape but she did not even look my way.

Even worse than my worse fears, that’s what I was confronted with. Two bicycles, goodness knows how old, stood outside the garage. One had a seat fixed to the back. Well, I knew who that would be for, and it was not me.

My sister would have turned around and walked back inside except she found Dad behind her, blocking her way. In one hand he held a stiff brush, while the other held rag and polish.

If we all set to work, put a bit of the old elbow grease in to it, we’ll be ready for this afternoon.” He began working on one, so if he was intending to stay we might as well get on and join in.

Neither my sister or I were fond of spiders, and there were plenty of them to be seen scuttling around. Luckily, they were small, because I think if I’d come across a big one I’d have run, Dad or not. We reluctantly brushed and polished away, no one saying a word apart from, ‘Pass the polish’ or ‘Can I use the brush?’ until Mom called from the house to say that lunch was ready.

As we cleared up there was definitely a feeling of achievement. Those old dirty bikes, although still looking far from new, now looked like old and cared for ones. The three of us had brought about some sort of transformation. In spite of that tiny glimmer of pride, I could not help hoping that that was the end of my obligation. Whatever he had planned for the afternoon, please let my father have forgotten.

Apart from serving out the lunch, Mom seemed to keep herself curiously busy. She knew something, then. It might not be that she disapproved, but that she knew we would and did not want to get involved in any sort of dispute. Dad, it seemed, was going to get the chance to have his way, uncontested.

Lunch finished we were going to hear the rest of Dad’s plan. “Debbie,” Dad said, looking at me, “you’ll ride in front on the smaller of the two bikes...”

But Dad....” I broke in.

No ‘Buts’. You used to ride a bike and you still can. You just have to get back on to the saddle and pedal.” He turned to my sister. “Laura, you’ll sit on the seat behind me.”

You have to be kidding, Dad. I’m eleven years old, not three. You’ll make me the laughing stock of the town.

Not at all. We’ll be riding as far as the shop, picking up some stuff for Mom and riding back. Just like it used to be before everyone just popped in to their cars for a five minute drive.”

We glared at each other, my sister and I, then both turned our glares to Dad. He either did not notice or chose to ignore them.

Make sure you get changed in to suitable clothes. We’ll leave in quarter of an hour.”

Suitable clothes! Well, the only thing I could think of was a padded suit as I was sure to come off it within minutes; problem was I did not own one. Jeans then, and a thick hoodie. At least that would offer me some slight protection but I was sure to bake inside it.

No helmets so at least we had something to be thankful for. “They never used to wear helmets back when I used to make this journey. And that was every day. Nostalgia, reconnecting with the past, that’s what this day is all about.”

I got on to the bike, put my feet on the pedals and I might have been a bit wobbly at first but I soon got steadier as my confidence returned. This wouldn’t be too bad. At least I wasn’t Laura, stuck in the child seat.

Our little road was quiet enough. We only saw two vehicles and one was going the other way. But the next road, the one that lead to the shop, was a different thing entirely. Trucks rumbled past, so close I was almost pushed into the hedge; vehicles pulled up impatiently close when they were forced to wait to over-take us. I kept my nerve and peddled on, only too pleased to see the shop in front of me.

We were all coughing when we dismounted. So much for a bit of fresh air. We must have breathed in as many fumes in that ride as we would usually do in an entire year. And we still had the return journey to make.

Dad dismounted, helped Laura down, and I propped my bike up against the wall. Mom’s list was short, but long enough once the items were packed in to a bag that I was to carry on my handlebars! I tried objecting, saying it would make balancing even more difficult, but Dad was having none of it.

I’ve got your sister to balance, remember. I’m sure you can manage a bag.”

And I did. Things were going more or less fine until the tire burst. It tipped me off, the bag went crash, the front wheel of Dad’s bike hit the back wheel of mine and both he and Laura came off too. It could have been worse, much worse. There was very little traffic around at that point.

Mom’s shopping was a right mess, especially the eggs. My jeans were torn, my leg was bleeding. Dad had grazed all of his knuckles and hands, limped a bit on one leg; but it was Laura who had taken the worst of it. I guess it was lucky that she seemed to have landed on her face rather than her head. Cuts and bruises aside, none of us had broken any bones, none of us had been crushed beneath the wheels of a passing vehicle. Yes, it could have been much worse.

We weren’t going to admit that to Dad though as we trudged the rest of the painful way home. Wordlessly, I handed Mom the bag; she’d have to go out in the car and get it all again. She in turn, set about cleaning up Laura’s face, then my knee. Dad was seen to last.

Later, when I could finally trust myself to speak again I turned to my father. “Dad, if sometime you start to feel a bit nostalgic again, count me out. You can re-live the past on your own.”


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