Like riding a bike

by Colette Coen

I sit on the bench patiently waiting for my text to be answered. I watch another mother (20 years younger than me), run along; hand on the saddle; gently encouraging.

Her tensed back judders as her daughter fails to break for the third time. The bike and girl fall sideways to the stony path. She cries indignantly at her mother, who bites her tongue.

The mother’s shoulders rise, then are pushed back down: once, twice, then she mouths words I cannot hear. They’re off again. I see the woman straighten, and they both look straight ahead along the path in front of me. The woman carefully retrieves her hands from the saddle, and slows to walk.

“Look mummy, I’m doing it on my own. I don’t need you now.”

I take a breath and mutter underneath it, “Fall”.


“Sorry Mum, can’t meet 2day. 2 bzy. CU l8r. Sx”


Colette Coen
is an ex-librarian, ex-literacy tutor, now full-time mum and part-time writer.

  1. #1 by Bob Clay on April 7, 2009 - 8:05 am

    Bitingly sad. (if there isn’t such a word as bitingly, there ought to be for this little gem).

  2. #2 by Susie Todd on April 8, 2009 - 12:50 pm

    More stories from this author please

  3. #3 by Catherine Tracey on April 8, 2009 - 9:56 pm

    from a busy mum with busy kids – lump in my throat. Thanks Colette

  4. #4 by Frances Bradley on April 13, 2009 - 5:07 pm

    We want to let them fly but wish they were all homing pigeons. Well done Colette. Thought-provoking as ever! More please.

  5. #5 by fiona on April 15, 2009 - 8:36 pm

    ouch, that hurt! very good.

  6. #6 by Michael on April 16, 2009 - 11:13 am

    Well done, Colette – an excellent piece.

  7. #7 by barbara on May 6, 2009 - 11:58 am

    So poignant. Gives me a wee twist in my stomach – a clever nugget of insight. Lokking forward to more!

  8. #8 by Carrie on May 7, 2009 - 1:24 pm

    Brought tears to my eyes – and I am just a new mum wondering when my baby will need less attention! Well done Colette!

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