After a bike (Charlie's bike, in particular) has been ridden for thousands and thousands of miles, it is inevitable that it shows some signs of wear and tear.
And it was that, just south of the San Mateo Bridge on a Saturday morning ride, Jim saw a part fall off Charlie's black bike. Charlie himself stepped off his bike just as the seat came off.
Back at home, Jim spent some time comparing Charlie's turned-over, seatless bike with another bike and then hurried over to the local bike store, got a new part, got the seat back on and off he and Charlie went for an Oakland ride.
(Because, after riding bikes with Charlie for thousands and thousands of miles, Jim is becoming increasingly adept at fixing bikes.)
For the rest of the day, Charlie was understandably anxious about a very unusual happening. He went from a smile while waiting with Jim on a bench while I turned around on Highway 101 to 92 to find them in Foster City, to sporting a very serious demeanor on the ride back, to a half-napping rest in the brown chair, to standing with his hands over his ears and a few meaningful looks at us during a visit from my parents later in the evening. Whether the conversation was about Bay Area real estate, my great-uncle Walt's health (yes, that means he is Charlie's great-great-uncle), an extremely popular local barbeque place or Charlie's upcoming Spring Break, we kept the tone positive: However many details Charlie understands, he can tell if the tone of what's being said is downbeat or upbeat and, given the earlier Incident of the Bicycle Seat, we figured he'd need an extra boost of positivity (and, he still has lag in processing experiences, especially those stoking emotions).
On saying good-night to my parents, Charlie was grinning so pleasedly that I pulled up the shade on the window so he could get a better view of them driving off. Then he runraning off to his room to fiddle with the music on his iPad.