Grandfather’s Motorcycle

It wasn’t flashy; it wasn’t new, but it had belonged to her grandfather. That alone made it worth restoring. Britney grunted as she pulled on the front wheel of the bike a second time, trying to get the thing to dislodge from the rest of the mess in the back of the garage. It just didn’t want to budge. “Damn it. Let go,” she said.

The motorcycle slid no more than an inch or two and she lost her grip on the tire, tossing herself back on her butt for the third time since she began this endeavor. She was still sprawled on the concrete when her mother pulled into the driveway. Britney sat up and waved as her mother got out of the car. “Hey, mom.”

Her mother walked over to where she still sat on the concrete. “What in the world are you doing on the floor?”

Britney looked over at the front tire sticking out of the mess. “Trying to get Grandpa’s old motorcycle out of that pile.”

Her mother moved past her and began lifting things off the pile and setting them aside. “Why do you want it?”

“He said I could have it if I could fix it up,” she said. 

Her mother laughed. “Of course he did. But you realize it’s going to take a lot of work to get this old thing up and running.”

Britney got to her feet. “Yeah, I know, but it’s important to me.” She said, helping her mother move things off the pile. “You know we should sort this old stuff out and get rid of most of it.”

“True, but I’m not ready to go through Grandpa’s things.” Her mother said, moving the last thing onto the other pile. They stopped talking and within a few brief minutes had the motorcycle out in the center of the garage.

Her mother smiled. “I’m heading into the house. Yell if you need me.”

Britney pushed the motorcycle out into the driveway on the far side of her mother’s car as she called back, “will do.”

Heading back into the garage, she picked up the toolbox and went back out to the bike. Tinkering had always been something she enjoyed. Restoring her grandfather’s old bike would be the ultimate job. She couldn’t wait to see his reaction when she drove it over to the care facility he was now living in. Britney tinkered for over an hour before the thing coughed to life for the first time. “Sweet.” She waved away the smoke from the barely running engine. “Gonna have to work on that,” she said. 

Her mother opened the front door and called out. “Dinner in half an hour.” The woman closed the door again before Britney could say anything. 

“She acts like I never eat,” she mumbled to herself. 

“You and I both know that once you get into a project, you won’t unless you are reminded.” Her grandfather said from behind her.

Britney took a deep breath, forcing herself to remain calm. “Just like you, gramps.” She began tucking the tools back into the toolbox, keeping her face away from the man standing behind her. There was no way it should have been her grandfather. He wasn’t allowed to just walk out of the care facility.

“That’s right. I’ve taught you as much as I can. You’re going to be on your own from now on. You need to remember what I’ve spent your life teaching you.” He said.

Britney felt a hand touch her shoulder. “Grandpa?” She questioned, unable to keep the words behind her teeth.

“Yes, child. I know what you are thinking and you’re right. I just wanted to say goodbye.” She felt him press a kiss to the top of her head. 

“I’ll miss you.” She whispered as his touch faded. Leaving the toolbox on the ground next to the bike, she headed into the house. 

As her feet touched the wood of the porch, she could hear the phone ringing. She stepped into the house just as her mother answered it. Britney knew who was on the phone. It was the care facility. She could see the truth of it on her mother’s face as she stood in the hall by the kitchen door. The pain in her eyes told Britney what she already knew. Her grandfather was dead.

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