I cycle into the campus carpark, at full pelt. To the left is where the bike cage is situated. Its 9:10am but Im only late because Lilou had to have a 20 minute poo before school. It happens 50% pf the time.
“Come on Lilou, we’re going to be late!”
“But its a bad one, Mum.”
I see to it that he is washed, dried, re dressed, and dropped off at the school gates. Its already 8:55 so I pedal hard across town to get to the campus. When I arrive at the cage I am panting and sweating, but it sort of feels good. A catharsis. A release. Last week I screamed as I pedalled over the steep incline of the flyover, passing above the railway tracks. I opened up my lungs, tipped my head into the air to free my gullet, and I belted one out. Long. And I cried. He didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t want to leave him. He clung to my torso. I peeled him off. I left him there, crying. I felt awful. So lots of stress, anger, sadness was in it that scream. a long, long back story, 3 years of particularly difficult things. for me and my kids. Infidelity. Separation. Loss. Full time job. Kids, Teens. Disappointment. Frustration. Also hormones, I think. I am, after all a ‘woman of a certain age’. This bike ride serves many purposes. On some days it is slow, reflective, others angry and filled with a need to expel stuff. Sometimes I have my best ideas when I am cycling. I do it in the rain, the ice, the snow. I do it in the heat.
Today It is grey. Late November. Low light. Cold and still. Nothing weather.
There is a pair of pigeons. They are lovers. It is clear. Busily constructing a nest just outside the door of the bike cage. I see them every day when I arrive and when I leave. The nest under construction, is by the ceiling, on top of an insulated silver pipe. Bringing in twigs, and coo-ing to each other, they collect some bright bits of rubbish, twigs feathers, and other bits. I watch them for a few moments, as they go about their business. I am not sure if it is the male or female but the one mincing across the insulated pipe towards me is a very smart pigeon indeed. They take it in turns to swoop at my head to scare me off, in case I want to take over their nest, and live in it instead of my own house. Steal it from them, right there, in the corner. Make a massive nest and just pop in to work to do the odd lecture when it’s scheduled. They are, indeed very pleased with their patch. Dry, sheltered, warm, and in a ‘staff only’ zone. I see the nest grown every day, and they are doing a fine job of it. I can see the pride on their little puffed up chests.
Right off to work I go. I have 5 hours of teaching and a few meetings. I cant remember how many off the top of my head. Then I’ll cycle home, and clear my head, down through the back streets, over the railway lines, and the river, and I’ll kiss my partner, who will be writing some code at the computer in the living room, before the evening of extra curricular classes for the kids and the regular racing about feeding, watering, washing, organising, solving disputes, animal care, and bed time stories.. Ill think briefly about doing some writing, or maybe a drawing, then Ill decide Im too tired, and go up to bed.