A loud rap on the front door made Ann jump. She was in the middle of her Saturday morning cleaning routine. Her husband, Jason was sat on the sofa reading the days newspapers “I’ll get it” He rushed to his feet cheerily. Ann frowned; it wasn’t like Jason to be so keen to disturb his reading of the mornings papers.
She heard the brief conversation between her husband and the delivery man. It was a parcel being delivered, she had not been expecting anything and Jason had not mentioned ordering anything. Curiosity piqued, Ann put down her cleaning cloth and made her way down the hall towards the front door.
Jason was moving the huge parcel towards the garage “What on earth is that?” Ann asked loudly making Jason flinch, he hadn’t realized she was behind him. “It’s mine, I ordered a bike” Jason answered sheepishly. “A bike? Jason you are fifty years old and you have never shown any interest in bicycles or any other exercise activity since I have known you, What are you playing at?” Jason grimaced guiltily “I er decided it was time to get fit” Jason patted his rounded stomach.
“A fad!” she declared “How much did you waste on that? You will go out twice then it will be stuck in the garage gathering dust”. Ann`s critical voice made him feel like a schoolboy who had forgotten his homework. “It was on offer £400” Jason lied quietly.
“£400 ! “ Ann shrieked loudly “If you have got £400 to waste you should have bought a new fence for the garden or put it towards new kitchen cupboards, you know ours need replacing”. Jason was glad he had not told her the real amount he had paid, which was more than treble what he had told her. “I was thinking, I might give it a try tomorrow, go out for a couple of hours” Jason ventured. Ann` s only reply was a sharp tut as she turned her back on him and retreated back into the house to continue cleaning.
Relieved, Jason excitedly tore off the last of the wrapping and took a long, hard look at his new bike. It was a lean, racer type bike made of black carbon fibre, super strong and lightweight. The handle bars were curved and smooth like the horns of a mountain goat. It had a small bell to alert walkers, often using the same footpaths and lanes.
Jason mounted the bike, just the right height and the seat was softly padded, he decided to try a quick lap around the street, as he picked up speed he noticed the gears system glided smooth as shiny steel. He was more than happy with his choice. He smiled the smug self-satisfied smile of someone getting just what they wanted.
He rode his bike back home and put it in the garage, sneaking one last look before locking the door.
Sunday morning and Jason was in a chirpy mood, whistling to himself over breakfast. “I`m having a shower” he shouted to Ann as he made his way upstairs. After a long hot shower and shave, fifteen minutes trying to mold his hair into a new style and ten minutes sorting out his nasal hair, Jason emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of expensive new aftershave.
Ann sniffed as he walked into the room; glancing at Jason she did a double take. “A bit done up for an hours cycling aren’t you?” she asked sharply. “It’s the weekend, I can make a bit of an effort cant I?” he asked, determined not to let Ann ruin his good mood. “You will be bright red and sweating ten minutes after you start” Ann chided dismissively. Jason picked up his phone, some cash and his keys and walked happily out of the house.
Once Jason had left the housing estate where he lived, he felt a sense of excitement and an over whelming feeling of freedom. The fresh breeze instantly invigorated him. Just seeing the greenery of the trees and shrubs sent waves of calm coursing through him. Why hadn’t he done this years ago?
Twenty minutes later and Jason was on much quieter lanes, he was away from most of the houses and deeper into the countryside. The traffic noise had subdued and was replaced by the trill of birds’ song. The tracks were narrower and less trodden but Jason knew where he was heading. He reached the clearing and smiled the broadest smile, she was there waiting, Pamela from accounts who worked in his office. She hadn’t spotted him; her white mountain bike was leaning against a large oak tree, gleaming in the sunlight. She was to the right of it, laying a blanket on the ground and taking ingredients from a bag and laying them out thoughtfully.
Jason stayed still, desperately trying not to make a sound, not wanting to break the spell. He wanted to drink this moment in, watch her unnoticed. Pamela was tanned and muscular with long shapely legs and shoulder length, shinning dark hair. She must have been aware of him staring as she suddenly turned around and saw him. “Jason, hi, how long have you been there? Wow nice bike” she added as her eyes darted from him to the bicycle. He put the bike on it`s stand and walked towards her happily. Pamela had laid out a sumptuous picnic lunch on the brightly checked blanket. There was ham and cream cheese sandwiches, home-made sausage rolls, pork pies, cherry tomatoes, a selection of cheeses and crackers, olives, strawberries and even chocolate brownies for dessert. “This is amazing” Jason complimented as he sat down on the blanket suddenly very hungry. “Oh, I`ve got wine as well” Pamela located the chilled, crisp, white wine along with two plastic glasses. “Cheers” Jason smiled clinking glasses with her.
Food eaten, wine drank, Jason lay back on the blanket feeling the sun`s gentle rays warming his skin, easing away the tension of the week. His mind wandered to his usual Sunday`s with Ann nagging him to do odd jobs, to take her shopping, mow the lawn and any number of other boring, tedious tasks. This was a much better way to spend Sunday, fresh air, exercise, an outdoor picnic and a beautiful woman for company. “We should do this every week” Jason leaned in toward Pamela happily. “Glad you enjoyed it” Pamela smiled as she moved in closer to him. Jason rested his arm around her shoulder and gently ran his fingertips up and down her arm.
All too soon it was over, the sun started to set and the temperature dropped, they said goodbye and Jason got back on his bicycle. His pace was slower on the way home, the earlier excitement extinguished but replaced with some contented thoughts and memories. He listened to the birds tweeting and found a gentle rhythm, almost at one with his bicycle through the quiet lanes and paths. He sighed as he arrived home, his perfect day coming to an end. He put the bike into the garage and wiped it down with a cloth. “Till next week my beauty” he whispered at the bike.
“Is that you Jason? Where have you been until so late?” Ann`s pinched, sharp voice brought him back down to earth as he walked through the back door. “Yes it’s me, I went on a fantastic long ride and I loved it” Jason replied wearily, filling a glass with cold water from the tap. Ann frowned, he was up to something.
The following Sunday, Jason was again up with the larks. Ann watched quietly as he put on brand new cycling gear and admired himself in the bedroom mirror. He looked like he had lost a few pounds Ann noticed. As she was about to walk down the stairs she heard her husband’s muffled voice “Same time, same place Pamela. I`m looking forward to it”. So that was his game, he was meeting a woman.
Ann waved him off cheerily and started thinking of a plan to scupper his deviance.
Monday evening and Jason dropped his briefcase and coat in the hall. “Is that you Jason?” Ann called with a wicked smile on her face.
“Yes, it`s me, I`ve had a tough day.” Jason answered walking into the kitchen.
“ I`ve been thinking” Ann paused for effect “ We have both put on a bit of weight, none of us are getting any younger and we could do with some regular exercise, so, I phoned a friend from the village and I`ve bought a bike from her for £80. So from now on I can come with you every Sunday”.
The high pitched tinkle of glass smashing filled the air as Jason dropped his water on the hard, kitchen tiles.