Friday, July 7, 2017

Final bike ride . . .

We know her sister got a good night's sleep the previous evening. *

But did she?

She'd been busy for most of the afternoon, and maybe she did collapse in bed that night.  The next morning, she was going on a bike ride.  Her riding partner was due to be there very early in the morning, and she needed to be ready to go the minute her partner arrived.

We don't know what was going on in her mind.  Did she sleep?  Or did she lie awake thinking about that next day's bike ride?

Did she envy her sister's sound sleep in the next bed?

Did she hear the beginning of the rain that night?  Or did she wake up and, only then, find out it was raining?

The rain wasn't going to matter, because she was going on that bike ride no matter what.

Next morning, the ring of the doorbell or the knock at the door may have made her jump, but she was there with her bike at the appointed hour.  Immediately, after telling her parents good-bye, she mounted, gripped the handlebars, set her feet on the pedals, and pushed.

Perhaps the last thing her parents said to her was, "Be careful," as millions of parents all over the world say to their children before they start off on a bike ride, or a car trip, or before doing something risky or downright dangerous.

Telling her not to go, in spite of the rain, was out of the question.

She probably wore a raincoat over her clothes that day.  Her bike tires splashed through puddles and her feet may have slipped a few times on her pedals as she followed her bike partner on their chosen route for that day.  She wore glasses, and if she wore them while she rode her bike, they were spotted with the raindrops, and she would have had to stop and wipe them occasionally so she could see.

Her body was used to her bike seat, and she knew how to maneuver her way through the streets.

This ride, though, held more than its usual share of apprehension.

Were there people looking at her as she pushed her pedals, steered her handlebars, braked as she needed to?  Everyone that met her eyes, did they know who she was and wonder where she was going?

She was missing a mandatory meeting in order to take this bike ride.  Was her name being called at this very moment?  Did anyone know yet that she wasn't there?  How long would it take before her absence was noted, and how long would it be before people started looking for her?

Her heart pounded harder than usual as she rode, and today, it wasn't because she was getting her exercise.

Nearly an hour later, she and her riding partner, soaked from the rain and weary from negotiating the streets, finally slowed, braked, and stopped.  They hurried inside, out of the rain at last.

When the bike rider, fleeing from a Gestapo summons, stepped through the office door at 263 Prinsengratch in Amsterdam, on July 6, 1942, she would not emerge until August 4, 1944.

We know that Anne Frank got a good night's sleep the previous evening.

But did Margot?

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

* ("I was exhausted, and even though I knew it'd be my last night in my own bed, I fell asleep right away and didn't wake up until Mother called me at five-thirty the next morning." -- Frank, Anne; The Diary of a Young Girl : the Definitive Edition.  New York: Doubleday, 1991, p. 21.)

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