The others left; the man looked back at her angrily, his face a grimace of impatience.
She was very late when she finally locked the front door behind her, pushing her bicycle into the road. The rain and wind caught at her, as she mounted her bike, trying to push her back.
She reached the four-lane boulevard; traffic was heavy, the wet asphalt black and shiny in the bright headlights and street lamps, large plate glass shop fronts mirrored and increased the busyness tenfold. She managed to weave her way through lines of cars and buses, overtaking knots of cyclists, who swerved out into her lane at the same time as she was trying to pass them.
Her legs pumped furiously, heart pounding and throat aching with the effort of breathing, she raced the race of her life.
At the station the train was still on the platform. Dishevelled, panting, the sweat trickling down between her shoulder blades, she jumped off her bike and was about to lift it into the guards’ carriage when she looked up and saw the man standing at the open door to their compartment, his arm beckoning her on imperiously, a look of fury mixed with disgust on his face.
She stopped abruptly, put down the bike again. Dimly she heard a whistle being blown. Her right hand let go of the handlebar of her bike, and slowly rose into the air in one smooth and graceful movement, two fingers sticking up triumphantly.
A few seconds later she took the handlebar again. turned the bike round in a semicircle and wheeled it back down along the platform. She never once looked back and therefore missed entirely the look of utter, dumbfounded, open-mouthed astonishment on his face.