--donation bonus (day #26, post 2/5)--
Hector shook his head. At this point, he was honestly just curious. “If that’s the case... then why didn’t you just put me up for adoption?”
She seemed amused by the question. “I thought about it more than once. But your father was stubborn. He insisted we keep you. Though, if you’re thinking it was because he loved you, then--”
“I already know he didn’t,” he said, suddenly wanting to get there before her. He felt a change taking place in himself, a kind of quiet epiphany, though he wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from just yet.
The look she gave him then seemed more disappointed than surprised.
“Dad never wanted to show any weakness. If he didn’t want to put me up for adoption... then it was only because he was worried how it would look.”
“At least you’re not stupid.”
‘Oh, fuck her!’ said Garovel. ‘Hector, let’s get out of here.’
“One last thing before I go,” he said, sterner now. “Mom. Thank you for being honest with me.”
“And... I still love you. I don’t know why. You’re a terrible mother. But I’m realizing... that I don’t give a shit, anymore. I’m going to protect you, whether you want me to or not.”
She snorted. “Is that so?”
She didn’t have a response for that.
So he left her there. He donned his riding helmet, pulled on his gloves, and mounted his bike. He gave one last wave to Lynn and her family before following Gina and the King out of the bunker.
It had been a while since he rode at night. The stars were out, shimmering in a clear sky, and he greatly appreciated the brisk air. It was almost cathartic.
Garovel was quiet for a while, perhaps still uncertain what to make of that last exchange. Then he finally said, ‘You sure you’re okay?’
A few beats passed.
‘You’re really, really sure?’
He laughed weakly inside his helmet. ‘Garovel, I’m fine. I won’t let what she says get to me anymore.’
‘Huh,’ repeated Garovel.