It was late afternoon on Valentine’s Day, and I was driving home from work.
Up ahead, I saw someone standing on the corner where the dirt road met the pavement. This was the spot where people stood to bum a ride deeper into the Wild West of dirt roads that was my neighborhood. I figured the person was hitchhiking.
As I got closer, I saw that the hitchhiker seemed to be a man. His clothes were drab from long wear and infrequent washes. He shoulder length hair was peppered with grey and probably hadn’t been shampooed in a while. He had a big puppy with him and a medium-size backpack on the ground at his feet. Because he wasn’t hauling a large pack, I sized him up as a guy who lived in my neck of the woods and was trying to get home after an excursion to town.
Before I got to the dirt road, a small, red, shiny clean car turned from the pavement onto the dirt road. That car would have to roll past the person standing next to the road.
I was surprised to see the shiny clean car leave the pavement. The car didn’t look like one that had been rolling on a dirt road recently. There was not a clod of mud on it, no film of dust. My truck, on the other hand, looked like I’d taken it out for some recreational muddin’. Of course, I’d only been to work and back, but my truck was dirty, just like every other vehicle in the state that had been traversing the muddy roads of February.
Another problem that little car would have traveling up and down the roads where I lived was the low clearance. The embedded rocks and potholes drivers on those roads encountered daily would eat that little car for lunch (and breakfast and supper too).
These factors made me think the driver of the shiny clean car did not live anywhere that dirt road would take them. I wondered why the car had turned onto the dirt road in the first place.
The shiny clean car stopped next to the fellow standing on the corner. I figured he’d get into the shiny clean car and be whisked away.
As the fellow approached the passenger side of the shiny clean car, I turned onto the dirt road. The shiny clean car was stopped just about in the middle of the narrow dirt road, so I didn’t try to get around it. I stayed behind the shiny clean car and waited patiently for it to move.
I was expecting the fellow to open the passenger door and fold himself into the small car, but he never did. Instead he was handed something through the window. Then he walked away from the shiny clean car and back to the side of the road. The shiny clean car started rolling away. I could see the fellow was now holding three brightly colored heart-shaped boxes.
When the shiny clean car started rolling, I took my foot off the brake and started slowly rolling too. I looked to my right and the hitchhiker had his thumb out and was grinning in my direction. Of course I stopped for him.
In the meantime, the shiny clean red car had pulled up enough to turn around in the middle of the road. I realized it wasn’t going the hitchhiker’s way after all.
As the shiny clean car headed in my direction, I could see the driver was a blond woman wearing big sunglasses. She looked as shiny and clean as her car.
The fellow and his pup climbed up in my truck. As I drove us down the bumpy, muddy, slippery road, I asked about the women in the shiny clean car. The hitchhiker said he didn’t know her. She stopped, so he walked over, thinking she was offering him a ride. Instead, when he approached, she rolled down the window and asked him if he needed some Valentine’s candy. He’d said Sure! and she’d handed him the three heart-shaped boxes. Apparently she’d turned onto the dirt road for the sole purpose of giving candy to the hitchhiker.
When I stopped the truck at the end of the hitchhiker’s road, he proceeded to unload his backpack and his dog. After he thanked me for the ride, he asked me if I needed some Valentine’s candy. After a moment’s hesitation, I said Sure! It took me just a split second to decide there was not reason not to take the offered candy.
Once the fellow was out of my truck, I continued on my way home. I was excited to have a bite of chocolate once I parked.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed when I read the words “chocolate flavored candy” on the box. I was hoping for real chocolate. I was hoping for gen-u-ine chocolate. I was hoping for dark chocolate with almonds, but hell, beggars (or in my case, the recipient of a gift gifted to a hitchhiker) can’t be choosers. I unwrapped the red foil wrapper from around a piece of the chocolate flavored candy and popped it into my mouth. I decided chocolate flavored candy is better than no candy at all.
I took the photos in this post.