She cycles until it hurts. She cycles into the wind, developing fierce new muscles with every strained pedal. She wants to take this self-induced challenge by the horns and succeed like never before.
As she pedals, contemplation and a sprinkling of unease shower her into slowing down. Her red dress blows flimsily in the unexpectedly, strong wind, and every time she tucks it back under her seat, she almost loses her balance.
The wind is carrying her in a direction, but she doesn’t know where.
She starts to feel embarrassed that she wore a dress to go cycling, a red dress. Old people stare at her. Their smiles seem to have been wiped away by the wind, a restrained, judgmental gaze lingers.
The wind begins to play games with her bell. This draws more attention to her as the tinkling drifts along with the wind to the fishermen on the riverbed.
Fishermen are not easy to distract, but she catches their eye and sees their hesitation to turn.
This wasn’t what she was hoping for. Before, she always felt so calm by the river. She could ride for days, gliding alongside the current, bending below rusting bridges and overdosing on downhill adrenaline.
Today, however, she feels exposed. Something feels different. Perhaps it’s just the wind. Perhaps it’s meddling with the energy of the waves. That’s it, she thought, the changing tides are to blame. Overheard, the giant, almost, full moon can’t hide beneath the hazy clouds, not this time.
But what if it’s her? What if her dress is slightly transparent, laying her bare to all the forces of nature and Her people?
She pedals faster, pulls her sunglasses lower. Her ears are filled with the rushing of the wind and she squints from the glare of the setting sun.
Up ahead, she catches sight of the familiar red bridge. She chooses the inner path hoping it will shade her from the wind and aid her in reaching home.
(Choosing paths is not her strong point.)
Yes, she is shaded-she was right about that. But, now she is also lost and the realisation dawns on her that this path is going to take her a lot longer to get home.
She pedals on, and on.
Surely it shouldn’t take this long?