Lizzy walked around the back garden in small circles. She kept her eyes on her shoes, trying to make sure the heel of one shoe just barely tipped the toe of the other as she took each step. She was so bored but in 3 days she’d be back in school. Usually she’d be wishing the Christmas holidays would last forever, but not this time.
She was grounded – no bicycle until she was back to school and only allowed out to play out the back garden.
Lizzy knew she’d made a big mistake taking her bike out on Stephen’s night!
She had tried her best to stay awake waiting for the house to go dark and quiet but she dozed off then woke with a start. For a minute she couldn’t work out why she had her clothes on under her nightdress. Ah yes! A night-time bike ride…
As she crept down the stairs she managed to avoid the squeaky step. Her bike was behind Jim’s so it took a lot of work to get his out of the way quietly. It wasn’t until she opened the front door that she realised it wasn’t dark any more. She’d been asleep a lot longer than she thought and had woken just before dawn.
She hesitated at the door for a minute but it was the day after Stephen’s Day. Who was going to be up early? So off she went around the block. After passing her house a second time she thought… ‘one more round and I’ll go in.” But the next time she got to her garden gate again her Dad was standing there.
Lizzy’s heart stopped as her Dad pointed inside the house.
“Why are you up?” she asked in desperation. as she hurried past him
“Why am I up? I’m up because it is Sunday morning and we are leaving for Mass in 5 minutes. Granny will be here early today. But the important question is, why are YOU up, dressed and outside at this hour?”
Lizzy was at the top of the stairs by the time he got to the end of his sentence. She was in her Christmas clothes and back down in less than 2 minutes. She held her breath waiting or more but he was already in the car.
There was so much going on that day, so Lizzy got away with what would have usually been a fairly severe punishment. But there was a whole week before school would start again and the grounding was punishment enough. It was so serious that her Mam wouldn’t even let her sneak out while he was in work.
Lizzy stopped her aimless circling and looked up to see her Dad looking at her out the window. She smiled at him and to her surprise he smiled back. She gave him a look as if to say, “can I go out on my bike?” His return look was a warning not to ask that question out loud.