She got out of the car and tossed the key across the road into a hedge.
She slammed the door shut and, walking to the pavement, phone in hand, keyed in her dad’s number.
Geoff got out of the car, his face red with fury.
‘You stupid bitch,’ he said, ‘Where did you throw the key?’
She stopped speaking to her dad and pointed to the hedge.
‘Your car’s causing an obstruction,’ she said, ‘I expect the police will be here soon to get you to move it. I’ll explain if I’m still here.’
He walked quickly across to the hedge as a lorry driver sounded his horn.
A report to Stacy
That evening, Mel described in detail the events of the lesson.
‘Okay, Mel,’ Stacy said, ‘It’s up to you now. You’ve confirmed the rumours that I’d heard about him. You did the right thing telling me about it. The question is, “What next?” What happened could be described as a technical sexual assault and my advice would be to report it at the station – we could go there now and I’ll go with you. Are you okay with that?’
‘Fine,’ Stacy said, ‘We’ll do that. I’ll tell you now what they’ll almost certainly say. If it’s a first offence, he’ll be told to report to the station and he’ll probably be cautioned for “inappropriate touching”. They’ll not want to pursue it because the Prosecutor’s office won’t think it justifies a formal court indictment.’
She looked at Mel to judge her reaction, but Mel told her to continue.
‘You may feel disappointed,’ Stacy continued, ‘but the caution will remain on record for years. Any further reported instances and he will be up in court and may well lose his licence to instruct. Are you still okay about going to the station?’
Mel agreed, nodding.
‘Let’s do it then.’ Stacy said and they finished their drinks and left.
At the station, Mel was advised very much along the lines that her friend had told her. When asked did she still wish to make a formal complaint, she told the desk officer that she did.
She later heard that the instructor had been cautioned. Mel booked her next lesson with a firm that employed only female instructors and passed her driving test on her second attempt.
A new opportunity
One Monday morning in mid-June, during a lull in footfall, Jamie walked across to the counter to talk to Mel.
‘I’ve got something to ask you,’ he said.
Mel stretched out her left hand to him, ‘Don’t tell me you’ve bought the ring,’ she teased.
‘Don’t tell me you’d say “Yes”,’ he said, his hands on his hips in mock astonishment.
‘One of these days,’ she said, ‘You never know.’
‘Mel, Dad and I were talking over the weekend,’ he said, ‘about your progress since you started. You clearly no longer feel the need to refer customers to me when they ask questions about kit you don’t know well – you know as much as I do now. These days there are even customers who come in specifically to see you rather than me. You’re great with people. Well done!’
Their easy banter was typical of their relationship, of her increasing self-confidence and of his pleasure at her contribution to the business.
‘Aw, Jamie,’ she said, blushing, ‘Thank you – and thanks for all the support you’ve given me.’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about.’
A change of scene today. While we’re still in bluebells season, I thought that I’d include a few shots that I took in my local park on 28 April. Today’s photo shows some more trees – now coming into their Spring greenery.
I used my Pentax KP 24 MM cropped sensor camera with a Pentax 28-105 mm f/3.5 to 5.6 lens. The EXIF data were shutter speed was 1/200 seconds at f/5 and 28 mm. The shot was handheld. I post-processed the shot in Lightroom.