Lauren was doing her best to keep up with her boyfriend, Alex, but she was exhausted. They’d been riding for around six hours, stopping only for a quick lunch and several short coconut water breaks to replenish their electrolytes. But she was not used to rides of this duration and distance.
Lauren hated bicycling, but Alex was an avid cyclist, and she felt she needed to pretend that she, too, was into it, lest she lose him. She’d invested too much time and effort in him to let that happen.
Even the flat street they were riding on seemed daunting to her. She could feel both thighs seizing up and she knew that she couldn’t go on. In desperation she called out to Alex.
Alex looked back and saw that Lauren was struggling. He swung his bike around and rode back by her side.
“I can’t go any further,” Lauren said to him. “I feel like I’m going to faint.”
“I got you,” Alex said, and as she started to fall, he grabbed her and pulled her off her bike, cradled her in his arms, and held her tight as she cried.
But she was smiling on the inside.
Written for Susan Spaulding’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: C.E. Ayr.