A Hitchhiker’s Tale

Here is a little short story chunk… enjoy


When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.

— Jacques Cousteau


Not quite sure what drew us into the idea of picking him up. The ragged tan jacket with a thick layer of dirt that matched the one in his thinning hair. The weathered skin and forehead wrinkles that made guessing his age impossible. The stench of his backpack that consequentially soaked into the seats of the car. None of this appealed to us. But something did. We pulled over as his arm stuck out from his side until we came to a complete stop. He didn’t seem to believe that we stopped at first, and seemed to be in a daze. The monotony of watching vehicle after vehicle pass you by through the winding mountain roads will do that. The first encounter outside of the car on the side of the road told us everything. Everything that would unfold the next hour that we gave him a ride. The calloused, thick muscled hand of a tough man. A quiet man with plenty stories. Many of which that went untold. He expressed his gratitude more than he expressed himself. However, he talked about his life on the trails the past few weeks. His encounters with the wildness that goes with stepping into remote wilderness. He joked about the time he cursed at the sky when it started pouring as he tried to cook dinner. He told us about the time he helped a few young men about our age start a fire because they were struggling with the wet wood. There was a calmness in his speech, and a peace that pointed to his heart for solitude. He told us everything and nothing. We drove down a few back roads off of the highway, wanting the entire time to ask why. Why did he do this? Why did he hitchhike back home? Why does he live this way? We pulled up into the driveway he pointed us towards and saw the old wooden house with brown spots under the roof, the uncut grass, and the dented, well-rusted Ford. No signs of family or neighbors. He grabbed his bags and walked through the unlocked door. We drove away with confusion and satisfaction.   

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