I was born under a tree. A yearning, handsome chestnut, whose drip, drip, was my father, and lack of investment in rural infrastructure, was my mother. A loose stone created my tiny face in poorly repaired tar, in 2011. After the hard winter of 2012, I grew. Fed well on an ambitious diet of constant traffic and low maintenance. That summer, I became a small pool, where brave birds bathed and drank. The sun shone and soon I filled up with the leaves of my father and became a tiger trap for tyres, large and small.
The windows froze in 2014. Santa came and went, no gift was made. With the freezing and the thawing I grew large and strong. My mother held her breath as a man with a black, belching hose and a bucket of stone tried to kill me. I don’t know why then, for I was now nearly 3 years old. Then I was photographed. I was tried in a court for trying kill a crying cyclist. He said he did not see me. How could he not see me?- so big and strong was I! That bucket of stones could not kill me. Soon I could see again. Each passing car de-smothered me, one pebble at a time and within weeks I was back.
I became sad. No one loved me.
I grew and grew. 2016 ignored me. Strong now, my heart beat du-dud, du-dud with the slam of each car wheel. Some tried to steer around me, but my mother road was narrow and busy. Du-dud.
With the leaves unravelling on the trees, a small man stopped his car beside me. He lit a cigarette and stared at me. I looked back, but neither said anything. Then he went to the boot of his car, took a large can and decorated my outline in yellow. Another summer and another passed and the yellow circle faded. My headache become constant with the thudding of traffic and foul abuse shouted at me. Thankfully, I now had friends all around to keep me company.
This year men in orange stopped all the cars from driving over me then they painted me, a shiny black. Not only me, but all the road. Then put grey stones over the whole road and left. Without actually filling me in, just disguising me. Perhaps it was halloween. One day later I was back.
10,000 bangs later I now sit strong and deep. Rarely on my own; Sunday mornings are my busiest when the fourth in a group of cyclists always gets very intimate. Now I have a new partner. A bus banged into me last week. Some of the suspension broke off and struck me like a dagger. I bled, black, for a while. Now it is part of me. I will learn to love it as I do all my passing, shouting, banging friends.
I just wish the cyclists would learn my name. They scream “hole” and point at me……but my name is Michael and it looks like I am here to stay.