Gaby Title.jpg
Part 17
Back to School

After the euphoria of the previous evening, Sunday was a bit flat and melancholy. We all travelled down to mum's race south of Leicester, unusually in dad's car as we only had the one bike. Mum herself was a little pent up and most of the journey was in silence, even us kids weren't bickering.

I'm not sure whether it was the after effects of Saturday evening but mum's ride was a bit lacklustre, uninspired. We drove across the course to cheer her on and she gave us a grin as she passed but her mind was obviously elsewhere. Not elsewhere enough to miss the break when it went though!

As the laps disappeared, so the break reduced until with only ten miles left there were only six women left. The last time we saw them, they all looked tired; it was a matter of attrition and determination. We rushed back to the finish and just got to the straight as the little group hove into sight. It seemed an eternity before they reached us, only four riders, the other two having lost the pace. We cheered mum on and the tired sprint passed us with three riders in contention. At the line however mum lost by a wheel, I instantly blamed the '25', well mum always wins!

After the presentation, we were soon off, mum was philosophical and the rest of us had mixed emotions.

"Ok guys, snap out of it"

"Yes mum"

"Ok mum"

"Look, we won't have time later in the week what with school and everything so we'll go out for a meal tonight. Ok everyone?"

"Sure mum"

Well we knew it would be our last family 'occasion' for a while with mum off to Germany in less than a week.

As I don't want to bring you all down to how I feel, I won't relive the evening for you but the food was good, we went to the Val Paradiso Italian restaurant and we all like pasta!

"Come on Drew, up for school!"


"Come on, I forgot it's school photo's today."

"Oh no"

"Oh yes, now up and get ready, I've pressed your uniform so come on"

I really will miss mum. I guess every school has a photo day so you all know the score, wait for ages, then two snaps and back to lessons. Well we were getting form photos too so with the whole school involved; there were no lessons scheduled, just 'study' periods.

I met the rest of the gang at school, everyone was in freshly laundered uniforms, not unusual of course, but the pressed skirts and trousers were!

I suppose we all looked smart enough, Jules didn't have too much tidying with our little group anyway (she had been assigned to help tidy dishevelled pupils!). with all the activity and a lack of full supervision the day was actually quite fun.

Our little group met as usual in the evening and with no dance to prepare for we settled on a few video games and listening to cd's.

"Can I tell Drew?" Maddy started

"Tell what?"

"You know, the dance shop"

"What about the dance shop Drew?" Bernie queried

I'd just about forgotten the incident, but Maddy obviously hadn't.

"Oh that. Do we have to Mad?"

"Yes. Drew had another Gaby moment in Nottingham"

"Scary" Rhod put in.

"No kidding" I replied "it's not like I was trying or anything"

"Come on then tell us" Ally was getting impatient.

"You tell 'em Mad, I'm too embarrassed"

"Ok Drew. Well you remember we lost Drew when we went upstairs?"


"Well he was in the main shop and the assistant thought he was a girl"

"You didn't help!" I accused

"Come on Mad, spill 'em"

"Well when I found him, he was checking out some leotards"

"Pretending to!" I shouted as I flushed crimson

"Ok pretending to. Anyway the assistant was doing her damnedest to sell him one so I told her that she, that is Drew was just looking for now."

"Tell them the rest"

"Well I sort of said that we'd be back to buy one in a couple of weeks"

"Yeah well, like that's gonna happen" Bernie stated.

"Oh come on Drew how's about it?"

"No way!"

"Pretty please"

"Give over girls, why would Drew want to do that?"

"'Cos he's a sport?"

"Look I just want to forget it" I stated.

"Ok spoilsport" Ally mock pouted.

Well at least we had that settled, hadn't we?

Tuesday was back to normal and I looked forward to the ten in the evening. After school I got myself ready and this time had a more leisurely ride up to Cuckney. The weather was fair and I followed a similar routine to the previous week. I drew number thirteen this week and it was obviously going to bring me doom.

"Go, number thirteen!"

I moved up to the line.

"Ah young Miss Bond" the timekeeper stated

I was not sure which would be worse, just going with the flow or trying to explain that I was not Miss Bond but Mr.

"Thirty seconds"

My mind was sort of made for me by the stopwatch.

"Fifteen seconds, take care at the crossroads, ten"

Ah well, afterwards then.

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go!"

And I was away again.

I tried to concentrate on what I was doing, but my mind kept going back to the assumption that I was a girl. Clearly no one had noticed the (small) bulge in my shorts and I guess they were using the previous week as a lead in. I really should have spoken out then.

All too soon it seemed, I was approaching the finish. I was out of the saddle sprinting for the line then gasping "thirteen!" I was done. Well I was a bit faster but only seven seconds, twenty six thirty eight, at least I was consistent.

I got dressed and set off home quickly as the temperature was dropping quickly and I hadn't brought any tights with me, my exposed legs already had goose pimples! Damn, I had left without saying anything again. Well next week...

From then on in the week I became more depressed as mums departure got closer. I got through school on autopilot; the guys were all sympathetic, knowing the reason. Even the teachers seemed to be taking it easy on me, I know mum had been into school on Tuesday, so perhaps they knew why I was distracted.

All too soon it was Saturday and departure day for mum. Us kids weren't going to the airport with her, mum thought it best we say our goodbyes at home, then dad was driving her down to Stansted. Well there's no denying it was a tearful session, Jules, me and mum were all sobbing like mad and in the end dad almost had to drag mum into the car.

"Take care kids"

"We will mum" Jules replied

"I'll miss you both"

"Go on mum"

"I'll see you in a few weeks yeah?"

"We'll be there!"

"Ok, well behave for your dad, jules look after your brother and Drew"

"Yes mum?"

"You be careful on that bike"

"Yes mum"

"Time to go guys" dad stated

We both gave mum a hug through the car window and then waved until the car was out of sight. I felt really down, I'm sure Juliette did too, but we didn't have time to get maudlin as the gang arrived not ten minutes later.

Maddy Bell 25.03.03
Copyright 2003

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