Inspired from this week’s picture prompt
I suppose my life is average. I’m just a city kid, right out of high school, trying to pay the bills. I work at Bill’s Bikes from 8-4 every day. Then I head to my job as a waitress, get off work around ten, sleep, and repeat. That’s really all there is to it.
The lives of the customers at Bill’s Bikes, on the other hand, are quite interesting. Bill’s Bikes is a bike rental business – and we’re opportunely placed on the edge of a national park with 32 miles of bike trails. We get all kinds of people here. They come to ride, to see the country side, to get away from whatever ails them, to work out, or to spend time with friends. I work at the cash window. People often give me a glimpse of what their lives are like. While they don’t try to, it happens.
Today starts promisingly. I arrive early at the bike shack with a line of costumers already waiting. I love eager bikers. I assemble the cash register and attend to the first couple. They’re both grey haired yet muscular – they’re spry things.
“Two, please,” the man says. He’s tapping his fingers against my counter, but not in a rude way.
“Special day?” I ask, handing him his change.
“Why, how did you know? We’re celebrating 26 years together.”
“Odd number, isn’t it?” The woman chuckles. “But to celebrate all the hard and yet fantastic years, we’re biking a full, private marathon together.”
My inner hopeless romantic heart melts. I point them towards the blue bike rack, hardly twenty feet away from my place behind the window. They walk off, but I can hear them flip between bickering and flirting while they unlock their bikes.
The next customers, a family with three young children, step forward. The father holds a squirming toddler. The mother reaches for her wallet and at the same time tries to keep the two older boys from hitting each other. She apologizes to me when she drops her credit card on the ground. “Rough day,” she offers.
“No problem,” I say. “Adult bikes are on the blue rack.”
They’re the last of the early costumers. A moment passes, and I watch them unlock their bikes. The two boys take turns punching each other’s shoulders, and as soon as their mother turns around, they stand innocently and admire the passing clouds. I chuckled and turn away.
The morning picks up, I help a pouting kid put on a band-aide, and I rent out 217 bikes during my shift. Four o’clock comes around faster than I expected. Suddenly Allie, my co-worker coming to relieve me for the night shift, waltzes in. I take off my Bill’s Bikes hat and leave it on my hook in the back room. I pick up my backpack and head outside.
Though the job keeps me busy, sometimes I can’t help but wonder. This little bike shop sees so much. Often people leave Bill’s Bikes much different than when they arrived. I heard that once a guy proposed to a girl beside the bike rack. They weren’t even dating. Another time a couple broke up there. I was on duty for that one, and I had to hear the whole thing. It turned ugly. Sometimes other things are resolved on the bike rides. I notice that bickering families often return from their ride softer somehow. Perhaps they are simply too exhausted from the rough trails to argue anymore. I grin to myself. If only the bikes could talk.