Bike Ride

My story today, which I posted on the Flash!Friday challenge, is inspired by a true story.  During college, I had a chance during semester break to backpack through Europe.  Travelling alone got lonely, and sometimes I spent the day with folks I had met in youth hostels, with unexpected results!


He had introduced himself as Paul. What a lovely, traditional name, Jennifer had thought.

They chatted amiably as they rode their rented bicycles over the cobblestone streets to the end of town. Conversation died when they reached the dirt road up the mountain. Anticipation of the winery at the end of the ride was all that kept Jennifer going. They stopped to catch their breath on the steps of a parish church near the top.

The surprise of their presence stopped an olive-skinned grandmother in her tracks. She spoke animatedly as she asked a question in Arabic. When it became clear that they spoke as little Arabic as she spoke English, she pointed to her hand. She slipped her fingers over her fourth finger and looked questioningly at Jennifer.

“No, no ring,” Jennifer said, suppressing her laughter.

The woman walked away, shaking her head and muttering.

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