From the top, the ride was long and steep. The boy deferred and watched eagerly as the girl flew down at such a speed that I jumped up from the picnic table where I was dicing carrots.
She screamed, half in thrill and half terror.
"It's too fast!"
The boy's voice, certain of her capability, was unwavering.
The road turned. I couldn't bear to look and waited for the sound of impact. She was hurtling towards a tree.
Silence, then a nervous giggle. Somehow she had diverted her course to the grass and rolled off easily. The boy was proud.
Thirty seconds later, he too had bolted past and they were on the way up as if nothing had happened. He asked her if she liked it here and wanted to stay. She said she didn't like being sweaty, and, laughing, rattled off a whole list of things she missed from home. They were still pushing scooters, but he was watching her with cocked head and contented half-smile.
This morning I saw him pushing his bicycle up the hill. He was alone, huffing and puffing with shoulders bent and eyes on the pavement, like any ordinary boy. I wondered where the girl was.