Simone D’silva is the blissful working mother of 13-year old identical twins; Shannon & Shenelle. She considers motherhood to be the greatest and most satisfying ‘project’, though some days she feels more like a member of a UN Peacekeeping Force. Known on occassion to happily sing and dance down the aisle of the local supermarket, much to the embarrassment of her teenagers, she doesn’t believe in stifling the child in her. Ever.
Puffy white clouds billowed into the sky. It was a sweltering hot day; the smell of wet grass made her wish for the timed sprinklers, by some miracle, to turn on and wash away the rest of what was starting out to be a long, long day.
She had looked forward to this occasion with as much enthusiasm as someone signing up for painful reconstructive
surgery. Who in their right mind would’ve agreed at the last minute to be a replacement bridesmaid? And just because she was the only one who could fit into that monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress. Yet, there she found herself the victim of her own generosity.
“Beth, where are you?” screamed the voice on the other end of the line. She’d only been called that name when she was in trouble.
“Arrrgh!! (she’d just about got a hold of her cell phone which had been buried amongst the most crucial life-saving supplies and thingamabobs at the bottom of her bottomless bag) I’m running late, be there shortly”, she blurted out and hung up.
Completely oblivious to the fact that in a frantic, panicked rush to find her cell phone the expensive, magenta, satin kitten-heeled pump which had been hastily placed on the passenger seat in haste that morning, had tumbled out into a puddle on the side of the road, rolled onto the embankment and was now poking out from its final resting place in the mud like a beautiful shoe flower (ha, ha, ha…pun intended). Not funny.
Lizzy picked it up and dusted it off before
placing it on the floor of the passenger side of the car. Once this baby was up and running she would be forced to turn on the airconditioning (it had never failed her) to allow the shoe to dry out completely.
“Fingers crossed no one will notice anything amiss”, she muttered under her breath, a whispered prayer like she was
willing this situation to improve.
Not wanting to risk another wardrobe catastrophe (like she’d even care that this monstrosity of a tulle mess they called the bridesmaid dress would disappear into obscurity), she took a quick cursory glance all around her before pulling on a pair of shorts underneath and a shirt over the top and hastily stepped out of the cupcake styled dress which she neatly placed on the backseat of her wagon.
“Now what?” she thought to herself. And at that very moment she heard the muted purring of a Harley in the distance and wondered if it was just her imagination. No, she’d recognize that sound anywhere and it always brought a smile to her face as it reminded her of the many Sunday afternoon rides she’d taken with her Pops growing up.
Eyes squinting in the sun, she made out a silhouette in the distance. Hair blowing in the breeze under a helmet, a man riding towards her on a vintage Harley Davidson. She contemplated her next move as the distance between them swiftly grew shorter. Clearly he had the need for speed and these lesser travelled parts afforded him the luxury of riding well over the speeding limit, or perhaps like her, was in a hurry to get somewhere.
There was something in his demeanor even from a distance (maybe it was the way he looked riding towards her or was
the bright, hot sun getting to her) that made her tremble with excitement and anticipation.
She was squarely in his sight now, the motorbike started to slow down until it eventually stopped beside her car. In an instant, his helmet came off, revealing the
face of a man she recognized from a picture in yesterday’s newspaper in their featured article on Wellington’s Most Eligible Bachelors.
“Hi, Mark, Mark Roque”, he introduced himself. He spoke with a soft, quiet voice but with an unmistakable confidence. “Seems like you’re in a spot of trouble.”
“Elizabeth Arlington” she managed to squeak out having suddenly been overcome with embarrassment (Did he notice me staring, she thought to herself).
“Would you mind taking a look? I’d very much appreciate it.”
“No worries at all. I suspect the engine’s over-heated?”
He began to roll up his sleeves as she continued, “It is a bit old but I can’t part with it. You see my dad sold his Harley a few years ago so I could have it. I’ve always wanted to drive a red beetle ever since I was a little girl. My Pops called me his Ladybug.”
He smiled a gentle smile then poked his head under the hood. The conversation was easy she thought to herself as he said, “I thought I’d ride into Whiteshire today. I rarely have the opportunity to take this baby out and wanted to enjoy the fresh, crisp air riding through these country roads.”
After fidgeting for a few minutes he reattached a loose pipe and asked her to give it a go. The engine started up without any effort. And even though they had just met, he had exuded this aura that made it seem like everything was so much easier around him, so much so that she didn’t want this to end.
As she got out of the car and walked over to thank him, a glint from the bike’s handle caught her eye and she looked over. Right smack in the middle of the handlebar, she noticed the initials EA.
It was impossible, yet unmistakable.
Her eyes met his as they both said