"All right, Doc. Tell me what you saw on those tests so I can get home," Beau smiled, sitting across the desk from Dr. Turner.

Dr. Turner gave him a half-smile. "What are you in such a rush for?"

"First local race of the season tomorrow. Got work on the dirt bike to do and I need to practice. Want the track layout in my longer-term memory." He tapped at his temple with his index finger a few times for emphasis.

Her smile turned sad and she shook her head. "The scans weren't good, Beau. The spot on your medial temporal lobe that the original doctors thought was a glitch in the scan has progressed. When comparing it with all the scans you've brought me from before, it's clear to see that it's getting bigger."

Beau's heart fell and he could feel his entire world soon to follow. "What does that mean?"

"More tests," Dr. Turner replied, giving him a sad sigh. She pushed up from her chair and went to stand in front of him, leaning against her desk. "The spot could be anything. It could be a tumor, it could be an aneurysm. I don't think it's a bleed though; a bleed progressing over this length of time would have presented much more severe problems sooner."

"I can still ride, right?"

"I don't think it's a good idea. I'm sorry."

"Come on, Doc. Riding is all I have left. I can't live on my own, I can't hold a job, I can't be a productive member of society because no one can figure out what's going on with my stupid brain. The doctors have told me I can't do a lot of things because it could hinder the studies or endanger my well-being, but riding is the one thing I have left. Please don't take that away from me."

"I know how much this means to you, really. I do, but I can't risk letting you endanger yourself further. If it is an aneurysm, one tiny fall could burst it and you could die within minutes."

Beau nodded. "I understand. When do I do the next tests?"

"A scheduler will call you with your appointment, but it'll be late next week or early the week after." She took a breath as he stood, and shook his hand. "I promise you, Beau. We're going to figure this out."

"I believe you," Beau replied. "I just hope it's sooner rather than later."


Although she hated the rain, Absidee had never prayed for it as fervently as she did Friday night before she went to sleep. Too much rain meant the next day's race would be postponed, and she wouldn't have to feel guilty about leaving her grandfather's care to someone else while she went and played.

"You don't have to feel that way, Sid," her father had assured her before she left work late Friday afternoon. "You rearranged your entire life to come home and take care of Grandpa. Julie can work an extra few hours; she won't mind at all."

"I know," Absidee had sighed. "I just worry about disrupting his routine too much."

"This will just be a new routine for Saturday evenings. It's not going to ruin anything, all right?"

Now she was trying to remind herself of that as the bright sun streamed in through the curtains and warmed her entire body. Sunlight streamed in through her translucent curtains and warmed her entire body. She was awake thirty minutes ahead of her alarm, but at least that gave her some time to think, and in the one place she could calm herself and think the most clearly.

The garage wasn't large by any means, but it held a world of memories for Absidee. Her grandfather had taught her how to start a lawnmower in this garage when she was young. Both her grandfather and father had taught her the ins and outs of car maintenance in this garage. She and her father had worked on many a dirt bike there, despite her grandfather's grumblings about the dangers of the sport. The amount of tools and machines had dissipated over the years, and now the small building that was attached to her grandfather's house held nothing more than the old pickup truck her grandfather used to drive and Absidee's dirt bike. One small work bench housed the few tools and other things that Absidee used to keep her bike in shape.

"I could skip this race," she thought out loud. "I don't need to place this season. It's just a local series, after all. Grandpa's had a few good days, and I don't want to ruin that."

She picked up a screwdriver and went to work at digging the dirt clods from between the knobs of the tire tread on her machine. She had cut out of work a couple hours early one day that week to practice before the race coming up but had yet to clean her bike.

"What's the point when it'll just get dirty again?" she added to her words. "Then again, I've placed in every other season since I started riding. I've given up a lot of other things, but I have to admit, I don't want to give up riding."

Was that selfish of her? She'd given up her last two semesters of college, her friends in Manhattan, everything she'd gotten herself together to achieve two years before. But she had done it for her family so that her grandfather wouldn't have to be put in a home. Although some family members thought that might be better, Absidee was determined to show them that her grandfather deserved the attention and care only a loved one could provide.

Still, she was barely twenty-four and didn't want to completely lose herself. With all the dirt clods gone from the bike, she reached for a wrench to tighten up a few parts that usually caused her trouble. Motocross was the one thing that had always defined her, and without it, her life might change entirely -- well, more than it already had.

"I guess that decides it then," she said, throwing the wrench on the work table and hurrying to turn off her alarm and begin her grandfather's daily routine.


Beau stared down at the notepad in his hand and concentrated very hard. He knew that the higher the pressure of a situation, the worse his memory was, but this was one thing he didn't want to mess up. If he could just remember her name, even if nothing else about her, he'd feel like he accomplished something.

"You're studying that little page pretty hard," Beau's father commented from the driver's seat.

"Yeah," Beau replied with a slight blush. "I met this girl when I went to pick up parts the other day and she was really nice. She knows about bikes and stuff, and I'm hoping she'll be out here. I have been looking at this every day and I think I remember, but I just want to be sure."

"Are you sure you're ready for that after Heather?" Owen asked his son as he directed them towards their exit on the highway.

Beau shrugged. "I mean, I can't lie. Heather destroyed me. Thing is, Dad, I can't let the memory thing and Heather destroy my entire life. Maybe I was only around Absidee for a few minutes, but I felt calm around her. I know I acted a little off, with the list and everything, but she acted like it was nothing."

"Her name's Absidee," Owen smiled. "With a pretty name like that, I'm sure she's wonderful."

"She's got to be, right?" Beau replied with a more cheerful tone. He pointed to a line of vehicles, mostly trucks with dirt bikes in the back. "This must be it."


Clemens Motorcycle Supply brought a trailer to each race, knowing that last minute parts were always a necessity. They threw out a few racks of t-shirts and racing jerseys, kept some other gear in the trailer, and cut special deals on race nights. Absidee showed up early with her father, but only after assuring herself that Julie had things under control with her grandfather.

"Opening night is going to be big," her father noted, helping her set out the racks they used for apparel. She set a few shoe boxes underneath the shirts and crossed her fingers that her father was right. The shop wasn't floundering by any means, but races were a huge part of the store's sales over the summer months.

"Yeah, I think so," Absidee agreed. "Here comes Bill. I'm going to change and take a few practice laps."

"All right. Just remember to take it easy at first," Michael cautioned.

She nodded and climbed into the bed of her truck, parked right next to the store's rig. She pulled out her gear and took her time pulling on the heavy duty riding pants and the stocky boots. Her jersey was the last thing she pulled on before pulling her hair into a ponytail and away from her face.

The track wasn't too crowded with fellow riders just yet, and Absidee took advantage of the lack of traffic to do as her father had directed and take a few easy laps. She stayed to the outside to let the faster riders get around her without collision and maintained a steady breath.

It wasn't until her third practice lap that Absidee picked up the pace. The speed seemed to take any remaining tension over leaving her grandfather in the hands of another caretaker from her body, and she was able to easily maneuver the bike through the turns and over jumps.

After two more laps, she navigated herself back to her truck and stood the bike up on its stand. She sat on the tailgate and took of her helmet, trying to catch her breath.

"You're looking good out there," Michael complimented. "Have some water."

Absidee gratefully accepted the water bottle he offered and nodded. "I feel good out there."

"You know, Sid, I've been meaning to talk to you about your grandfather."

And all at once the tension returned. She knew that tone in her father's voice. She knew that the man felt horrible that his daughter, who was just getting her adult life together, had to put it all on hold so that his father could be cared for. She knew that after just six months of seeing his daughter change everything for her grandfather, Michael thought it was time to begin looking into nursing homes.

"Now is not the time, Dad."

"It's never going to be a good time to talk about it. I know you don't want to think about your grandfather in a --"

"You're right, maybe there won't be a good time," Absidee cut him off. "But there will be better times than tonight."

Michael held up his hands in defense. "Fair enough."

"Fair enough," Absidee repeated before jumping off the tailgate and heading for the bleachers at the far end of the track. Maybe a short walk would bring back the peace she'd felt earlier.


Although Beau was trying to concentrate on his father's remarks of the practicing riders and how their skills measured up to Beau's, he found himself distracted by the prospect of seeing Absidee. His memory had already faded her appearance from his mind, but he had a name. Surely if he saw her again it would spark something in his brain to bring everything else back.

"Well, since you're not paying attention to me, perhaps the pretty girl at the parts truck will spark your interest," Owen mentioned.

Beau spun around to spot the girl his father was pointing out and all at once the transaction in the store came back to him in full detail. He smiled and got up from the bleachers, his father not far behind.

"Hi," he greeted her with a smile. "Remember me?"

Absidee smiled. "Yeah, the new guy. Beau, right?"

"That's right." Beau racked his brain but even though he'd looked at the page in his notepad a million times by now, he couldn't remember her name. "How's the track?"

"It's great, actually. Did the spark plugs not work out for you?"

Beau frowned, and then remembered the new brand of spark plugs she had recommended for him. "The spark plugs were fine."

"Oh. I'm only asking because you don't look like you're ready to practice or race."

Owen, who had been speaking with Absidee's father, appeared next to his son. "Hi, Absidee. I'm Owen, Beau's father."

Absidee extended her hand. "Nice to meet you. You're not racing either?"

Beau stumbled but Owen covered for his son. "We thought maybe it would be better to check out a race first before participating. Beau told me you gave him a great deal of help with parts the other day. I appreciate that."

"Anytime. It's what I do."

"Are you racing?" Owen asked.

"I am," she confirmed. "Just for fun, though. It's what I love."

Even if Beau didn't already have a problem with his memory, the smile that showed across Absidee's face would have made him forget exactly where he was at and the conversation he was having. Her love for the sport was obvious, and it made him fall for her a little more.

"We'll be on the lookout for your heat then," Owen said, holding out his hand to shake hers again. Beau did the same and followed behind his father back to the bleachers.


Even though Absidee told herself racing was just for fun, she had to admit that she wanted to do well that night. What she refused to admit, to herself or her father when he asked about it later the next day, was that her drive for that particular race had anything to do with Beau Montgomery.

She felt good on the track though, and ended up taking second overall. Her father was just pulling out with the supply rig as she was putting the last of her things in the back of her truck to head home. A recent text from Julie had informed Absidee that her grandfather had done just fine for the evening and was now safe and peaceful in bed. Still, Absidee wanted to hurry home and see it for herself.

"Second place, not bad."

She hopped down from the tailgate to see Beau standing there with his father nearby. "Thanks. Felt good to be out there."

"You ride really well." He shoved his hands in his pockets and kicked at the dirt, casually glancing to see if his father was paying attention. "I was wondering, Absidee, if maybe you'd like to go out with me sometime? Nothing too intense, maybe just pizza and a movie or something?"

The cheerful countenance on her face fell a little bit, and she gave him a sad smile. "I'm sorry, Beau, but I can't."

"Oh," he replied quietly. "Boyfriend? I should have guessed. I mean, a beautiful girl who has your knowledge of motorcycles …"

He trailed off, but Absidee shook her head. "It's not that. I'm single, and please don't think I'm not interested. We've only ran into each other the couple times, but I enjoyed it. I just … it's complicated."

"I can handle complicated."

"No," she said. "It's really complicated. Well, maybe not so complicated in the explanation so much as the actual complication. Anyway, I'm rambling. See, I live with my grandfather, and he's very sick. He has advanced Alzheimer's, and a strict routine is very important for his quality of life at this point. So, you see, it's not that I don't want to go out with you, Beau, it's just that I can't step outside of that routine."

Now that was something Beau could understand better than if she had refused him because she already had a boyfriend. One of the few things all the doctors had been consistent in telling him was that a stable routine was healthy for his memory. He wasn't about to explain that to Absidee, but at least he could try and make her feel at ease about the situation.

"That's not a problem; it's admirable that you are that committed to your family. Would it maybe be all right then if I brought you lunch at work one day next week? I mean, I can understand not dating, but we can still be friends. Friends bring each other lunch at work, right?"

"Right," Absidee beamed. She'd never expected anyone to be understanding about her situation; even most of her friends thought she was crazy for making the decision that she had. Beau, however, had set all of her worries aside just in the one offer. "I'd really like that."

"Great. I'll see you next week."

Owen waved at her as they walked away and she bid him good night. Maybe having a new friend who could accept her social limitations wouldn't be such a bad thing.


"Where am I?"

The words weren't quite yelled, but the sound was enough to wake Absidee from her sleep. The race the night before had worn her out, and she was dreading the hour when the alarm would go off and wake her from her rest. A look at the clock on the bed stand told her the alarm was just a few minutes from going sounding so she turned it off and made herself get out of bed.

"Where am I?"

The question came again before she could make it to her grandfather's bedroom. It hurried her along down the hallway until she reached his door.


The man had been sitting on the edge of his mattress, facing out the window. He turned quickly to look at her and his eyes grew with fear -- the fear Absidee hated to see because it meant her grandfather didn't recognize anything or anyone.

"Where am I? Who are you?"

"Grandpa, it's me. It's Absidee. Your oldest son, Michael? I'm his daughter."

"I don't have a son named Michael! Where is my wife? I have to see my wife! She'll tell me what's going on."

Absidee shook her head. "I'm sorry, Grandpa, she died. Three years ago. Don't you remember?"

"Stop calling me Grandpa! I'm not your grandfather! I don't know why or how you've got me here, but I'm leaving!"

Before Absidee could stop him or move quick enough to help, Mac had pushed himself off the bed. Without the aid of his walker or someone to steady him, his weak legs gave out and his head hit the corner of the bed stand.

"Grandpa!" Absidee called out at, she rushed to his side. She looked around for anything she could use to stop the blood that was coming from the cut on his head and spotted a shirt draped over the end of the bed.

"Grandpa?" the old man repeated quietly as his thoughts began to reorganize themselves.

"I'm sorry, I meant Mac. You're going to be all right, Mac."

"Sidee, is that you? What happened?" he asked in a meek voice.

"It's me," she confirmed, relieved at least a little bit that he could at least recognize her now. "You fell getting out of bed. I'm sorry I wasn't here to help you."

"Must have been feeling adventurous," Mac mumbled.

"You must have," Absidee repeated back, trying to conjure up a smile. "Let's see if we can't get you up off the floor and get this cut cleaned up, okay?"

"Okay, Sidee. Sounds like a plan."

As she struggled to lift her grandfather at least into a position where between herself and his walker he could get up off the floor, Absidee felt like crying. She would have to call her father to tell him about the incident, especially if her grandfather was going to need stitches, and that meant the inevitable discussion about putting her beloved grandfather in a nursing home would have to happen.