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Friday, March 26, 2010

last ride?

Sticky evening air, dust rising from the road, shouts of children
running through the cocoa groves, fathers relaxing in the sling-back
reed Bwamba chairs holding a toddler on their knees or playing cards
or drinking, groups of women peeling matoke or sorting through cassava
leaves, girls sloshing water in jerry cans, more school-boys with
their mocking hellos, break-neck barreling motorcycles, friends
calling "Jack-a, Jack-a" or "muka-Scott (Scott's wife)". I answer
some particularly nasal semi-English greetings in Lubwisi, and the
little boys chasing behind my bike call to onlookers (in Lubwisi) "she
doesn't speak English, she only knows how to speak Lubwisi!" Guess
they missed the point. Hazy rose horizon, sweat, pumping up hills,
gritty teeth. Evening bike ride.

Perhaps my LAST evening bike ride with my youngest.
1. Graded road = speed = momentum = danger.
2. Male chromosomes = risk-taking = ride down the hill with hands in
the air = fear in my heart as Jack sprawls across the road. He gets
up, unhurt, rides on, the only casualty the phone I entrusted to his
pocket. Oh well.
3. 12 = last victim of puberty in our family = muscle and speed = me
left gasping behind the child I used to wait for.

It's a new era in parenting, the mom-left-behind era. I'm not quite
ready for the rocking chair . . but realistically I'm now the smallest
and weakest in the family, the slow-down factor. Good thing they
still like my cooking.

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