The Hitchhiker

Originally posted at Charting My Words

For Addie:

He sat on the shoulder of the bustling freeway,
Twirling a blade of seeded grass between his thumbs,
Lost in thought.

A semi drove past, horn blaring, jarring him back to reality,
He looked up, and down the horizon.
His cardboard sign tucked beneath him as a makeshift cushion
against the hardness of the asphalt.

Standing up, he brushed his jeans off,
shouldered his pack, and grabbed his sign.

Wherever you take me,
I’ll go.

it read. He smiled, and stuck his thumb out
As the cars whipped past.

He smiled at them, waving even, happy just to see them living their lives.
The other through hikers couldn’t get a grasp on him,
what made him tick?
He just enjoyed the ride. No destination in mind.

She pulled over slowly and cautiously. Her minivan loaded with
groceries from this mornings run to the market.
Her three kids argued in the back of the car, begging for her attention.

She reached for the door lock, and locked her doors.
She’d seen him here on her way… and she had no idea why she was stopping.

He stood there, smiling. And held his hand up in a friendly wave.

She cracked her window, and inched her car forward.
Something about his smile… something about his eyes.
He could tell her where her life was headed. She’d always wanted a co-pilot.

He leaned close, smiled at her, then at the children, who had suddenly grown quiet.

Where are you headed, she asked.

Wherever you’ll take me, he said.

I could use a little more than that… could you tell me where to go?
Don’t you have more than that?

Nope, he smiled. I’m just along for the ride. And if we could perhaps just talk, that’d be great too.

This was too confusing, she thought. I need more than this to go on.
I can’t trust someone who has no direction for me, who can’t tell me where to go.

I’m a little busy, she sighed. Just tell me where you need me to go, and I’ll take you there.

Only you know that, he smiled. I can’t tell you that. I can only join you for the ride.

She narrowed her eyes…
Listen buddy, I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to get you where you need to go. You want to drive? Fine… I’m trying to do the right thing.

His eyes saddened, but his smile stayed.
I just want to be with you for a while. I’m not in the business of telling you what to do, or dragging you and your beautiful kids where I want to go.

She rolled up the window. Angry at his lack of direction.
And veered off into traffic, heading home.
She just wanted to help him. She’d hoped that he could help her.
She’d just wanted a co-pilot… or even a pilot at that.
Someone to guide her.

He watched her pull away, and his heart felt sad.
He noticed the bumper sticker, and smiled at the irony..

Jesus is my co-pilot.

it read. If only she knew he’d rather hitchhike his way
into her heart.


2 responses to “The Hitchhiker

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