Fiction, Short story


Oindrila Gupta, December 7, 2022

The path on the coast which leads to the Abbaye is prohibited to cyclists interdit aux velos is the public announcement on one of those annoying stark signs loved by the French citizenry or at least most of them is it because of the danger of collision or experience of litigious conflict on the narrow ascending gravel tracks which overlook the bay of ostentatious yachts no can remember when there was last even the smallest amount of rain here the hot gravel makes a kind of light dusty smoke when the wheels of my racing green bike trailer pull along and little Max can stay put in there with his teddies his Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak which only half scares him half makes him want to be a King this is a text that is most underestimated for its political message even if I have to get down and walk the sharp stones make me daydream of puncture proof tyres as I’ve had so many punctures recently it may be a tarot sign for a broken heart or maybe the opposite as if I’m some kind of invincible lover from out on the water here or there a mussel or shellfish catcher with their buckets and wellington boots mostly middle-aged masculine Ile de Ré voices some with upper arm marine tattoos or their first girlfriend’s names Melodie Anne-Laure Fannie some scratched out try to keep relatively open minds or wider erotic nonmonogamous relationship options still open to address the obstinately closed world of their prey the track is steep one wonders at other nonobvious reasons for the prohibition of bikes spiritual ones whatever that might mean these days now that god is dead so they say although let’s be honest who knows when it comes to measuring the supernatural realities my daughter finds and photographs two ladybirds mating although they were trying their upmost to keep it a private affair and titles it the most beautiful event in nature knowing full well she is foregrounding a sexual encounter smiling to herself inwardly at the Abbaye the temperature goes past twenty degrees and it is still only mid-May the ruin is twelfth-century Cistercian who still followed the rule of Benedict and the geckos green and grey and longish lithe bodies which rule its stony back walls are prehistory my oldest son finds a baby starling fallen from its high nest and cowering in a corner he gently rubs its furry black-grey shiny plumage and it regains some courage to seek flight again but the odds are now stacked against it Dad that self-same oldest son reports honestly and with a tone of real sadness as he can get quite sentimental like that and sentiment isn’t to be discouraged in boys especially right now still if Max my youngest son still in the buggy reading intently was King I can tell you all for nothing those wild things well they’d have to get in line once and for all and he would never abide the continuing hegemony of Patriarchy as above all he adores his one and only

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