20. Something I lost.

Paddy and Trike

When I was a child, I had a thing for the colour green. If mum was handing out lollipops and a green one was pulled from the bag, my sisters took a small step backwards and averted their eyes. Green was mine.

My birthday cake had green icing. Always.

And my tricycle, that brilliant speed demon with the big, black & white front wheel – that was green, too.

I rode that trike everywhere. Well, everywhere within my admittedly small domain – the path around the house, the neighbour’s driveway, and the footpath down to the bus shelter and back.

It was the dog’s fault that I lost it.

Our lovable but dim-witted golden retriever Paddy liked to sleep in the middle of the road and wander the streets of Miramar Heights until he found his way back to the ocean he loved.

I was riding my trike along the footpath one Saturday morning when I saw him. He was lying on the road again – tongue hanging out and long tail swish-swishing as he enjoyed the warmth of the gravel and tar on his fur. I got off my bike and called to him but he wouldn’t move. I wasn’t comfortable with him on the road. I knew that wasn’t allowed to be there, and it seemed like a rule that should apply to animals as well as small children.

I decided to take him home.

Only, a golden retriever so fat he’s on a special diet your mother has to cook up on the stovetop every evening is not that easy to move. I pulled him, I tugged his collar. He grinned at me and rolled over so that I could scratch his tummy. Finally, after a very long time, he staggered to his feet and with my fingers tucked under his collar, we shuffled our way down the steps to the house.

I didn’t remember my green trike until I was lying in bed that night.

The next morning, it was gone.

I couldn’t believe someone would steal my trike, but they did.

For the next year, I looked in front gardens and down driveways, trying to spot the thief and my long lost freedom machine – but I never saw it again.


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