Hardwick Pair

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Together the surveyed Hardwick’s glassy lake. Reflected in it, was their constellation far up in the starry sky. They had seen it often and as a couple, they would gaze at it again. For they together had weathered their own storms and days of darkness. And so, as one, they were forever bound.
But it was time to move on. Their young had grown, found wing and fled. The year too showed signs of turning and the earth tilting. At dawn, they made ready to leave for a warmer season elsewhere.
Out, out into the waters, they swam. Soundlessly, they wished each other well. They pushed through the leaden water, gained speed until they were free in the air. Flapping their long wings, the Hardwick pair stretched their necks towards the rising sun.
A bystander watched with breath held tight, thinking only of the elegance of paired swans in flight.

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The Cyclist’s Fight

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Through the illness, this moment kept him going.

He unearthed his bike and dusted it off after long disuse. He mounted and the wind breathed on his face. Down the main street with a few early shoppers barely glancing at the lycra-clad figure speeding pass. He, however, enjoyed being on a surfboard weaving easily around the parked cars. Next came the outskirts where business travellers encumbered with briefcases look enviously at the free rider. Little could they understand

The highway, tranquil and gentle, let him taste open country. Then he turned into a forest track. The effort he needed now increased multi-fold. He changed gear and pedalled hard with growing confidence. With each rising yard, he pushed himself more, oblivious to the cattle gawping in their curiosity.

Despite the cooling breeze, his legs burned as did his lungs. The acrid taste in his mouth told him he was closing into the ‘red line.’ But, sheer determination kept him focussed on each revolution of the wheels. Onwards and onward until he conquered the ascent. Then he stopped and looked in gratitude at the town nestling in the valley. Now he had surmounted the anxiety of the tests, the fear of surgery and the soul-sapping tiredness of the chemotherapy.

Another day of life lay before him and that’s enough.