Random meetings with unexpected happiness

It’s day fourteen. Being on my bike at the moment is where I feel best. It’s where I want to be. I like knowing that I have to ride if I want to go somewhere and I like that it takes me out into the elements. It’s where I feel alive and where things feel possible. There is the randomness of anything happening while I’m out there, who I see, what they say, what I notice.

Like the little girl the other day at the local cafe. While I chatted with the barista about the renovations they’d just finished and then locked up the bikes, Jane chose a table for us. I noticed a little girl, she must’ve been about four years old I guess, was lingering near the stools at that table. It was next to where her mum and a friend were sitting chatting.

I approached our table and the little girl’s mother called her aside as I squeezed past to sit on the round timber seat of the low stool. I smiled at the three of them and said hello. A well-read copy of today’s Gold Coast Bulletin sat folded on one of the low stools scattered around our table.

We ordered and then I turned to looked down at the newspaper and saw an orange, oval shaped bug walking across the sports page. From the corner of my eye I could see the little girl was looking at me.

“Look at this,” I said to her, “have you seen this bug?”

She hadn’t.

“What is it?” she asked in a small inquisitive voice.

“It’s a bug and look at its beautiful colours.”

“What’s it doing?” she wondered.

“Well, I think it probably wants to be in a garden somewhere in a plant or a tree. But you know I think at the moment it’s just reading the paper.”

Over the next half hour we had a few different conversations with this little girl who is still learning to form her words and patch information together into full sentences. We talked of the wild storm two days ago, how she was at kindy when it happened and how some of the boys and girls were scared but then after the rain was over they went outside and jumped in the puddles!

We talked about how she was going to swimming lessons that afternoon and when I asked her what she does at swimming lessons, I learnt she does kickboard, ham (hand) sandwiches and shows me how one hand is placed over the other with arms outstretched, and dolphin and swim to mumma or swim to dadda. There were other things mingled in there that I couldn’t decipher but I got the idea that swimming was fun.

We had a short rest in our conversation when her strawberry milkshake arrived, but it was only brief and I learnt some more. She showed me her umbrella, pink with a deep crown and printed with a cat face and a small yellow fish (that was definitely not Nemo because Nemo has white stripes); and explained the many ways of holding the u-shaped pink plastic crook in a tiny hand.

Most of all though, I learnt that my new little friend with the open face and eyes that wander into space above and around as she thinks of what she’s heard and what she will say, has a bike. It has three wheels, is painted purple and carries fairies.

If you enjoyed this story, click ‘Yes email me new stories‘ and receive new stories straight into your email inbox 🙂 If you know other people who might enjoy it, use the icons below to share this story with them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn or via email. You can also read the About page to find out how this bike riding experiment began and why I’m doing it.

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