Well-built, genial, and hardworking, Mandie immediately got Lisa’s attention. He came in one morning at the bakery to ease her uncle’s heavy load.
Lisa grew fonder of Mandie when he taught her how to pedal. Even her father didn’t find time to do that. Yet this man whom she hardly knew volunteered to teach her. How nice of him, Lisa gladly thought.
“You just need to balance yourself on the seat. I’ll hold it for a while then let go when you seem OK,” he instructed.
“Balance” was not a foreign word for Lisa- just a lofty one. It baffled her how the bike would carry her forward when she was almost twice its weight.
“How’s that gonna happen?” Lisa, looking puzzled.
“Just place your feet on the pedals, set the seat at the right height, then push on the pedals. You’ll learn not to fall pretty soon. Trust me,” Mandie assured.
Lisa could still feel her weight as she was slowly moving onwards, then she looked back to see if Mandie was still holding her seat. He was not.
On three successive mornings, Mandie guided Lisa until she was able to bike on her own. She then began to hear birds joyously singing, row of trees clapping, sea waves shouting, the next thing she knew, she nearly bumped into an old woman’s body while she was washing her face at the sidewalk.
Lisa fell on the ground. Afraid of the cranky lady’s remark, she sprinted home leaving the bicycle lying on the dusty road.
“Queer, really queer! I already knew how to ride, right?”
“You need more practice. Try not to hurt anybody as you bike. Apologize to the poor lady and get the bike before Ritch finds it.”
Lisa meekly obeyed. Mandie could be reasonably strict, she learned.