Driving on the way out of town, the uncertain cloudiness of morning had been well washed clean as passage through good times during the day.

Twice during the trip from the left lane of the highway I had seen hitchhikers on the far right shoulder trying to avoid the spray of passing cars over puddles in ruts. Each time traffic so dense that by the time I could pull over it would have been too far down the road, still a guilty tinge regardless. Knowing how it feels to watch cars for hours pass by with no intention to stop, despite how even for just a couple it would be a minor inconvenience and so helpful for those miles you need to cover. People afraid to pierce their isolation and the intimidation of the unknown, they try to tell you both ways. Watch out for the people hitchhiking there is no telling who it could be and what they might do to you, and at the same time, watch out for people who would pick you up hitchhiking for the same reasons. But those are the exact reasons to set yourself out floating and see just who will pick you up, do you the favor, come into contact with someone who otherwise you never would have, break down some of that isolation that everyone is trying (if unintentionaly) to build. And so rolling through those stoplights on the way out I caught sight of the third hitchhiker this weekend, pulled over and waited till he caught sight and came jogging up.

It turns out that he was on his way to the same city that I was, climbed in thanking me with the sweet smell of liquor floating on his breath. As some can be, he was eager to tell me a little of his story. A month past his sink had been clogged at home, poured Drano down and let it sit. He went back the next day to find it still clogged and turned on the garbage disposal, Drano shot up and covering his face, burning his eyes. He flushed them with water and went to the hospital where they placed a suction device over his eyes to remove the rest, though his corneas were already burned and warped. Slowly his sight was coming back, only blurry and vague compared with his previous vision. He was frustrated, insurance was taking as long as possible to pay, social security was still somewhere over the horizon, unable to work at his autobody job on commission he was broke. He described going into work, just stepping through some of the motions out of habit even though he could not do any actual repair since it required precision and care, taking his tools out and putting them back frustrated. After twenty three years the job had grown tiring, but to be forced from it was different than quitting on your own will. He explained that it would be nice to get angry and frustrated, but knew it would not do him any good or solve anything, just letting time take its course and hoping that his vision would improve over the next couple months. I dropped him off in the south part of town, wishing him luck and him the same to me for my own side of the hours story.

They each have an endless story to tell, we all do really, and it just keeps unfolding. These are just a few broken pieces, they keep falling into place. So tell me of people you knew only by that small part of their story before parting ways.
walking, alone and frightened by the prospect of people appearing smaller than insects and fields becoming tiny squares, i clutched my purse, and made my way slowly through the terminal hallways towards gate "t". i have never been filled with such an overwhelming uncertainty, i half expected some sort of eerie twilight zone sort of music to start playing quietly from behind me. footsteps, approaching, soft but steady, i did not turn around. i always seem to display fear in wide eyes, and so i lowered my head and prepared for the nothingness i was anticipating, slowed my own pace slightly as to leave myself behind the little human approaching, whoever they might have been. she slowed, as well. she walked up beside me with her large duffle bag and friendly smile, and she commented on the length of the corridor. i nodded and smiled a bit, and assumed that to be it, but she asked which gate i was headed to, and from there, the conversation picked up.

we walked down past gate t, i noted its location as we passed. we exchanged little bits of life information, i followed her to her gate and we sat, tossing words around for half an hour.

she was from orlando. she had been visiting some relatives, trying to play the neutral party between a quarreling couple. she said she thought she'd helped, but was not so sure it would last for too long. she seemed disappointed, but i could tell she was glad that she had at least tried.

we exchanged personal life details, but never names, never ages or any of the minor formalities i've never much cared for anyway. we talked about the american thanksgiving i'd be attending, she told me she loved it because it was the only time of year she felt like she was actually really taking the time to appreciate everything she has in her life. she made me smile, we laughed a little, she talked about flying and how neat little parts of it were. i showed her my tickets and she informed me that i had a window seat, and that flying at night is so nice if you can see to the ground and watch all the leetle lights fading.

there was a brief interlude. a man sitting in the corner of the waiting area was talking on a cell, his voice sounded nervous and louder than most would have been in a public area. i made out only a few word strings, including "if he is trying to kidnap you, call the police!", and "i am rescheduling my flight, i'll be there as soon as i can." drama in the airport. it was surreal. he grabbed his things and ran out of the place in a hurry.

i would have wondered at the entire situation a little more, but i had to head off to my gate then. we said goodbye, expressed pleasure in having met at all, and then we went our separate ways. i walked away, reeling at the fact that this random person now knows more about me than most of my immediate family. at the fact that i'd managed to drop so many barriers, to open up as much as i did. i was so caught up in the tiny pieces of someone else's world that i pulled myself out of fear, and found that i was left excited at the opportunity to travel, to meet new people.. but especially to watch the ground slip farther away from me, to watch the lights..

and she was right, they were lovely.

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