TG Universes & Series:
So of course I’d barely left the Express before it started spitting, whilst the stuff I was carrying remained dry, I didn’t. By the time I got to the club I was thoroughly wet, not quite to the skin but enough to be uncomfortable.
“Why didn’t you ring, I would’ve fetched you,” Margot pronounced as I dripped my way inside the building.
“Never thought,” I admitted.
“You got any dry stuff?”
“Guess I can wear some of this stuff.”
“What is this lot?”
“Let’s see, poms,” I shuffled the bags, “my old uniforms from the Foresters and some notes I made.”
“You have been busy.”
I ended up donning my Foresters uniform, not exactly what I’d prepared but it was dry and covered most of me. The first potential recruits arrived about ten to six; by five past we had over a dozen girls and surprisingly two lads waiting. Besides Pia three other members of Garde had turned up, one or two faces I sort of recognised, Analise who was in my Weinkönigin entourage and surprisingly Christina, you know, her parents own Der Mühle.
I let Margot do most of the talking, I’m not exactly great at public speaking and she’s used to telling people what to do! Eventually I had to say something though.
“Um hi everyone, I’m Gaby Bond and I’ll be your coach. Margot has explained what we hope to do, it’s my task to try and make it happen. I’ve done some cheering at my last school and in America so I hope that experience will be something we can all draw on.
I guess you all have some idea what cheerleading involves, it’s not just ‘cute’ uniforms and pretty girls, even the most basic level needs good co-ordination and precision, the more athletic stuff, needs fitness and trust as well. I’ll try to give you a taste this evening so if you all find a space we’ll give it a go.”
You don’t really want a blow by blow account of the next hour, suffice to say that some of the assembled teens had two left feet, one didn’t know left from right and I’m sure the lads had only turned up to ogle girls! I think it went quite well; we ended with a simple cheer before finishing. I guess next week will really tell us how enthusiastic any of them really are.
“That was fun,” Pia supplied between sips from her water bottle.
“It can be hard work too.” I mentioned. “I’ll just get changed and I’m ready.”
“Dad’ll be about ten minutes.”
I stripped the yellow and blue outfit off; it felt strangely good to wear it again, not for some daft prank but to actually do ‘proper’ cheering. My shorts and t-shirt were almost dry, for a moment I was tempted to put the leotard back on but that was actually quite damp with perspiration, yeuk!
“So how’d it go?” Mum asked when I got back home.
“Okay I think, we had a dozen girls, they all seemed enthusiastic enough.”
“Ah you’re back,” Dad noted joining us in the kitchen, “I’ve got Leeds sorted out, you’d best ring this Mary girl to let her know.”
“I’m not taking days off,” I reiterated.
“You don’t need to, I’m driving over with Anita and Erika with all the bikes and stuff, you’ll fly over with Mum Saturday afternoon, we meet up, do the dinner thing, Sunday you do the race then you and Mum fly back whilst the rest of us catch the ferry.”
“Neat!” I checked my watch, ten past eight, ten past seven, early enough, “I’ll go ring Mary now.”
“Don’t be too long on that phone.” Mum admonished.
“It was really fun last night, you guys shoulda come,” Pia was enthusing when I arrived at Thesing’s.
“Morning, Gabs,” Steff smiled spotting my arrival.
“I was just telling them about last night,” Pia mentioned as I took a seat.
“I don’t do sweaty,” Con stated.
“She says,” Brid grinned.
“I need coffee,” I mentioned.
And so another day started.
With the session with Anita and Erika on Sunday I’m a bit light on mileage this week so as it looked to be staying dry I got home and ready for a ride.
“You want some company?” Mum enquired.
“Give me ten minutes.”
I’ve not really done much riding with Mum lately, especially on her own.
“So where’re we going?” Mum enquired as we set off towards the main road.
“I was gonna go over Effelsburg then round to Adenau, just steady like.”
Of course, steady with Mum along is more intense than on my own, it’s almost inevitable when you are with someone else. The extra bit of pace made its presence felt when we climbed up past the Tanzklub into Altenahr; I was blowing a bit by the time we came out of the tunnel.
“You alright, Gab?”
“Yeah, bit tight after last night I guess.”
Mum did hold the pace down a bit after that, mind you that’s almost a given when you’re negotiating Altenahr’s narrow main street, the bypass takes a lot of traffic but we were still dodging beer trucks, post vans and local shoppers. Across the level crossing and as the road looped past the campsite we settled into a comfortable pace, no longer trying to outdo each other. Another couple of minutes and we were on the quieter Münstereifel road, riding abreast.
“So how you doing?”
There had to be a reason for her riding out with me.
“Okay I guess.”
“You okay with doing the cross, George and your Dad can get a bit carried away with their plans.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “the cross should be fun I guess.”
“You can say no you know.”
“Are you okay with Amanda coming next week, you’ve never said.”
“She’s a mate,”
“That’s not what I asked.”
The road started to ramp up into the hairpins which delayed any conversation for a few minutes as we both danced the pedals out of the valley, nothing like the climbs in Italy and Switzerland of course.
“So?” Mum pressed.
“I guess, but it won’t be like it was with Bern.”
“You’ve known Bernie for a long time, you only met Amanda, what, three months ago? Its bound to be different.”
We picked the pace up a little on the slight drop before the climb up to the roundabout.
I took the opportunity to think about my relationship with Amanda; even in the few weeks since we met at the velodrome in Manchester we’ve had some ‘adventures’. That weekend with Gran, all that stuff with Jess at Lilleshall, Switzerland and Italy of course. Now we’ll have more common experiences but I guess I don’t really know her that well, I’ve never been to her house, met her parents, exchanged presents – none of the stuff friends usually do with each other.
It’ll be hard for her too, moving not just away from home but also to a different country, a different school, away from her clique at school.
“Whatcha thinking?” Mum enquired as we started the drop into Bad Münstereifel.
“I was just thinking that it’s gonna be hard for Manda, you know leaving home and stuff.”
“It’s a big opportunity for her,” Mum offered.
“Yeah but she’s having to give up a lot too, I know what it was like when you came over here, Mand’s gonna have all that stuff, it’s not like it’s a five minute ride back to Croydon.”
“She won’t be a prisoner, kiddo.”
The traffic was quite heavy around the town; we cut through the pedestrian zone to miss some of it before picking up the road towards Adenau.
“You’re okay with her staying though? Maria’s offered to have her stay if it doesn’t work out.”
“Yeah, it’s just gonna be different I guess.” I surmised.
“You’ve remembered you have a hospital appointment next week?”
How could I forget? The quacks are going to want some sort of a decision, a decision I don’t want to make. I guess I’m reconciled to becoming Gaby 100%, get my plumbing sorted out but my head still thinks of me as Drew, male of the species. In reality that’s been the lie, Gaby is the truth but my head doesn’t want to accept that.
“I know it’s difficult kiddo, I wouldn’t wish what you are going through with this on anyone but what’s done is done.”
I must admit that I’ve pretty much been wallowing in my own misery over all this gender stuff but of course it affects the rest of the family too. Jules makes a big joke of it, annoyingly so sometimes but it must be difficult for her having had a brother who’s really her sister. Dad never really says much to me about stuff that isn’t bikes; I guess he uses that as some sort of anchor on the situation.
Mum, I’m sure feels guilty about the whole thing. Maybe it could’ve been sorted out before, I don’t know, I didn’t even know I had a plumbing issue until a few months ago! I want to hug Mum and tell her it’s okay, it’s not her fault – if I do that we’ll end up in the ditch though!
We climbed wordlessly up the draggy road away from the town before chasing down to the main road to Adenau. It’s a bit narrow in places so we singled out which halted any further discussion about Amanda or me. Mum picked up the pace a little but we got caught behind a tractor that slowed us to twenty K.
“Which way?” Mum enquired.
“I was gonna go up to the circuit then back down to Ahrbruck.”
“We’ve got time, the Ring it is.”
The tractor eventually pulled off just outside of the town but of course then we had to negotiate the traffic through the centre. We ignored the direct route up to Nurburg instead taking the longer but no less steep climb up through Quiddelbach. The sounds of motorised speed junkies on the circuit echoed around the hillsides, screaming acceleration, lower tones as they braked before accelerating once again, up down, up down.
Mum instigated a rotation on the fast stretch alongside the race circuit which we continued until we started the climb around Hohe Acht. From there it was every man, well woman, for themselves on the headlong descent to Kesseling. Mum took the lead on the fast but lumpy ride down – if nothing else will, riding down here will get your adrenalin flowing!
I might have ridden slower but Mum was now pushing the pace, I was having to work to hang on! Ahrbruck, Altenahr, Mayschoß, Rech and we were back in Dernau. I thought the ride would be a chance to clear my thoughts; instead I’ve more stuff running around my head than I started with.
Maddy Bell © 30.10.2014
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