The rites of spring

Jez

Jez

I remember the day vividly.  

A decision had been made, today was the day for the rite of passage; one that would mark him out, allow him to distinguish himself, to join a more select group, increase his social standing, give him street cred and increase his self-confidence, his self-esteem. He would grow up a little today.

He’d been showing all the signs that he was ready for some time. Eagerness to progress, balanced by frustration that it wasn’t happening. So he had to learn and we went to the park. 

The dew in the grass reflected the warming spring sun’s rays and each droplet sparkled like a diamond set into a lush green carpet. He was apprehensive and excited, she was a quietly amused, bemused onlooker, I was determined and cheerfully optimistic.

He got on his two wheeled steed, recently shorn of its extra set of wheels, those all too visible identifiers that were the source of the malcontent. To balance him I held on to the back of his saddle and he started to pedal, I walked then trotted to keep pace with him, encouraging him to turn the bike this way and that, leaving his wheel marks and my footprints in the damp dew, the spore of some strange wild beast.

His confidence grew and he controlled the bike with increasing skill, using the brakes and not his feet to slow down and stop. All the while I was beside him, my hand less and less on the saddle, little though did he know it. 

Then it was time. Time to let go, to set him free. As we zoomed along, dancing our father and son tango, I gently and for the last time removed my hand from the bike, and slowed down to a walk and then stopped; he though carried on, swooping around curves, carving his own furrow in the grass, sun glinting off bright paintwork and chrome, legs a blur as they propelled him along, independent of me, his mum, those wretched stablisers, and I laughed.

~

I remember the day vividly.

I was sat astride my bike, on an awkward leather saddle with a propensity to pinch a boy’s prized assets, and I was determined to do it. One rod-lever brake, balloon tyres and a crappy U-tube frame; but it was mine, my key to freedom if only I could figure it out.

Dad had taken the stabilisers off and I balanced myself by leaning on the rough brick wall. I launched myself into a limitless liminal world and wobbled precariously along the path. A car swooshed down the road disrupting my concentration, but I’d made progress and I felt a surge of confidence; I could do this and with mounting excitement I remounted and had another go.

This time I made it. I made it to the top of the drive! I could do it! I did it again, and again, and again! Elation! Jubilation! I’d redefined myself, taken myself away from being a little boy; more of an equal to my big brother, on a par with Dad.

The ecstacy was disorienting. The new found freedom was intoxicating, made me giddy. The world had suddenly opened up, my horizons had expanded, limitations were removed, the possibilities were endless. I looked down the road and could see no end to the universe; I had passed the test. I was worthy.

~

I remember the day vividly. 

The day we both crossed a threshold and grew up a little.