Behind the dark lenses her eyes could see nothing but Mark Stocktan's eyes. She'd left him, but he still burned a hole in her heart. She knew it wasn't cause she wanted him. She didn't love him; could care less about him-- really. She'd left him on a white porch in the middle of nowhere, Texas with spurs on his boots and a bottle of rum in his hand. The sloshing in her stomach and pain in her eyes were only for Mark, the man she wanted to move on from, but didn't know how to.
Grace wasn't surprised she couldn't get over him even with 1800 miles and countless days between them. It took her eight fights and two slashed tires later before she actually left. Five times she packed a suitcase and paid for a cheap hotel with a heart-shaped jacuzzi. The hotels always called them "Honeymoon Suites." Grace preferred "Hell but in a Luxurious Bathtub." Hours of boiling water seeping into her pores and countless bottles of champagne later equaled nothing but fire for the months to come.
"Damn," Grace said as she threw the gear into first.
"What am I gonna do with myself?" she murmured, cranking up the radio as strands of red hair flew out of the hatch.
It all appeared very clear months before: She'd become someone important in the small, New England bay area, just like her dad. She would make her fortune at her dad's lobster company, helping to boost business with more buyers and sellers, with more fisherman and with well, just more. Grace would bring the untapped lobster masses to the company she'd one day take over.
"What the hell is wrong with me?"
Grace's forehead hit the windshield. Queasy, she touched her forehead. The knot formed instantly as she looked ahead where her emergency lights reflected off the metallic white road sign. Sweating and huffing, and rubbing her eyes she saw what she'd become those last 12 weeks-- nothing but a bum. She spent her days sitting on the wooden porch of her parent's home, watching fishing boats pass and listening to the squeals and cheers of successful lobster catches, and people wrapping up their work days. They would either be heading home or off to the bar. She plastered her butt to the porch for hours, just like Mark always wanted her to do.
His voice come out of the speakers,
"Pretty girls like you don't need to work, cause what if you aren't home when I get back?"
Grace opened the Jeep door. His voice and the Maine she had returned to pumped out of her stomach and onto the blacktop. Lobster and salt water. Lobster and gabbing about lobster. Maine would hold nothing for her but endless days of lobster casseroles, pies and lobster cakes served with a side of lobster.
Her body shook as her slim figure leaned up against the maroon Jeep. Her sunglasses fell into her hands, where she saw Mark's face appear. She learned a long time ago that there are two types of people out there: the ones that care and the ones that don't. It really was that simple and she knew it, though she fought the idea with Mark time-after-time. She told herself he cared. But propped up on the side of the road that day she knew he'd never change his leather chaps for another tune, and it was time she stopped playing the same song on repeat.
Wiping her nose, Grace stood up and grabbed her atlas from under the passenger seat. She flipped through the pages of states hoping to strum over a highway, interstate or back road that would let her drive onward. Grace closed her eyes, held the atlas above her head and breathed,
"I'll let the road choose for me," as the atlas fell face up on the gravel.
She peaked. She grinned. She laughed.
"Peaches can't be any worse than lobster."
********************Grace Pickering and Mark Stocktan are fictional characters crafted by Megan Blevins. Read previous posts to catch up on their story. Enjoy, Mb