Stan and the bike

It’s Monday morning in Bristol. The rain is falling and the day is uncommonly dark.

Out in the streets the ghostly figures of commuters in the early morning light shuffle past the large glass display windows of local shops making their way to school and work or where ever it is they need to go.

Inside Fowler Motorcycles on Bath Street Stan is signing a deal on a new Triumph Thunderbird. He is 52 and overweight. Never an active man his legs hurt him more often than not these days and he’s not sure why.

The salesman eyes Stan with curiosity from over the top of his glasses and wonders exactly what a guy like Stan is going to do with a machine as powerful as the Speedmaster T-16

In Stan’s mind today is a landmark! A day that signifies a new chapter in his life. In reality, buying the bike is yet another attempt to get over the messy divorce that crippled him emotionally just over six months ago.

During the disintegration of his marriage the kids gradually took their mothers side and when it came to the crunch Stan found himself stood on the doorstep with an over night bag one muggy night in October facing the world as only a man thrown out of his own home could.

He won’t admit it but the emptiness he feels inside scares him half to death. Stan doesn’t sleep too well these days and he is always awake before the alarm sounds each morning, lying in the dark wishing the world would go away.

The sky is beginning to clear a little by the time Stan is standing on the forecourt of the bike dealers garage, trying to tie the strap of his new helmet. It takes him a little while to do as its years since Stan rode a bike and he is quietly aware that eyes are watching him from inside.

The salesman has pulled open the office Venetian blinds with one hand and is looking directly at Stan through the slats waiting for him to start the bike and leave but there is something about Stan that worries him. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want the bike but needs it for some greater plan. He has a curious feeling that he’ll never see Stan again.

Finally a lonely figure mounts the bike and pulls away from the forecourt into the mid morning traffic. Inside his helmet Stan is wearing a curious grin. His legs no longer hurt and the pain inside his head is gone. He opens the throttle and heads out of the city.

The next morning, local newspapers ran with a lead story reporting the death of a lone motorcyclist who seemingly drove a brand new Triumph Thunderbird into the Avon Gorge…..