“East. I’m pretty sure I know where you’re headed and trust me, you could use some company.”
Considering that I was the one driving the car and I had never seen this man before, it seemed like a rather odd response. Before I could say anything else, he had opened the door and shifted his weight onto the passenger seat. He only had a single backpack on him and he threw it over the seat, narrowly missing my nose and landing with a thud in the back of the car.
Immediately the car was filled with the smell of a man who’d been outdoors for a good, long while. It wasn’t necessarily a horrible smell, but it was the smell of a working man who hadn’t had a chance yet to wash off the stench of a long day of labor.
I lifted my foot off the brake and turned to look at him. As the sun made its way across the car, the light was getting brighter and I could see his face a little clearer. Wrinkled lines ran down the length of his face, making him appear older than he may have actually been. His hands, sitting across his lap, looked worn as well. Calluses on the outside of his knuckles had gotten to the point that they almost looked like blisters. It was obvious that he was not an office worker. This man worked with his hands and he worked hard.
I must have been staring for an awkwardly lengthy amount of time, because it took him clearing his throat before I looked away. There was just enough time for me to catch a shimmer in his eye that I’d seen before.
“So, what are you doing out here, anyway?” I asked.
With a long, audible swallow, he answered that he’d been traveling a long time and I had come along at the perfect time for him. He had been waiting on that stretch of road for a good amount of time. He knew that I would be the one to pick him up and we had a lot to talk about.
See more of “THE RIDER” HERE.