Grace & Hayden : Part XII

[Continued from Grace & Hayden : Part XI]

When Grace went to have lunch, the camp owners asked about Hayden. She managed to say he had a family emergency and had to leave. And that she would find a way to leave the next day.

But it would be tough for you being all alone here at the campsite, they said out of genuine concern.

Haha, Grace laughed, faking her genuine fake smile, no issues at all. I love this place and the greenery.

You are welcome to stay as long as you want, Senorita. They replied.

No one had any idea that the conversation was overheard.

8 long hours passed. After always looking at the gate every minute, Grace’s hope of Hayden’s return diminished. She knew him, and she knew he wouldn’t return. She hoped he was safe. She resisted the temptation to call him. She wanted no contact with him. She contemplated if she should quit her office. She pondered how she could hurt Hayden. The thought of use and throw did not matter as much as abandoning her in the middle of nowhere did. He just left. And even for a strong person, that was unacceptable. That’s against any sort of bro code or rider ethics, something Hayden prided himself on.

Hayden took no stop. The farther he got, the lesser he thought of what happened. Distance is all it takes to forget something. Out of sight, out of mind. The breeze, the engines, doing the magic they always did. Constant stress on the mind made Hayden lose control of the bike sometimes. He knew how risky it was. But he just had to get back to familiar ground. Pretend none of this happened and go back to his familiar friends and the new girlfriend. Grace was a strong person. He did not want to deal with her emotions. She will handle it. He convinced himself.

As dusk fell, Hayden had ridden continuously and took a break. He was calmer now but still did not want to debate if he did the right thing by leaving. He wanted to call the camp to check if Grace was alright, but he knew that was risky. This was the right thing, he told himself. It was much calmer now with none of Grace’s constant pestering presence. She was a pain in the ass always anyways. He made stuff up about her to convince himself that she deserved this abandonment. Hayden had no strength to deal with his real emotions.

Watching the sun go down, Grace figured this is how this has to be. A realization that her life is to be lonely and abandoned by people in the middle of nowhere with no sense of accountability. She would trust and fail and trust and fail and trust and fail. Someday she will give up and leave the planet. She wasn’t happy with the way she was reacting. She was giving up on life itself.

As Grace retired for the night, she was exhausted from thinking. Hayden’s abandonment was all she thought about and she forgot to add a lock to the camp flap. She fell into a sleep constantly thinking about Hayden and if he had reached safe and how things had messed up. With closed eyes, she did not realize the shadows around her tent. A silent ruffle woke her up, but she attributed it to the winds. She should try and get some sleep if she wanted the thoughts to die down, she told herself. In a flash of a second, even before she knew it, the camp flap flew open, and she felt a heavy hand on her mouth. Oh god, Hayden was back? She felt instantly happy in a minute and glad to hug him. This was a lot of force, and through the subtle light, it looked like a bigger person. The rider jacket, maybe? Did Hayden want to surprise her? Hayden? She tried to call out through the hand, but before she knew it, she blacked out.

Hayden hated thinking. It took him to places he never wanted to go to. He tried hard to let the road and the bike replace his thoughts. It was doing little. All he could do was talk. As he rode, he called his friends one after the other and spoke as though nothing happened. He spoke to them about the trees, the amazing roads, the curves, but nothing about Grace. Every time he curved down to an angle, he would hear Grace’s excitement. He shut it down. He must not hear it. He called people he hadn’t in a long time. With each call and each conversation, he felt better. He knew he did the right thing. He called Helen and set up a date for the following night. He called his best buddies and asked them to keep the joint and the liquor ready because he was in a mood. He sounded joyful. He was away, and it felt better. All was set, and soon he would be back home. Half-hour more and he would make a stop for the night, he decided. A good decision he had taken, he thought and accelerated to go faster on the straight road. All of a sudden, with no indication, a car swerved into Hayden’s lane. To avoid crashing into it, Hayden slammed his brakes as hard as he could and veered right. But his 136kmph couldn’t come to an immediate halt. Hayden hit the road barrier and was thrown off his bike. The last he remembered was the loss of control on the bike, him through the air, crash landing on the road, the impact on his head, and… Grace.

[Continued in Grace & Hayden : The epilogue]

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‘There are only two ways to live a life. As though everything is magic, or as though nothing is.’ Albert Einstein modified.

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Dhivya Raj

Dhivya Raj

‘There are only two ways to live a life. As though everything is magic, or as though nothing is.’ Albert Einstein modified.

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