I first saw the truck at what had to be miles off in the distance. One light brighter than the other. The engine knocking slightly into the silent air. The cloud of red dust kicked up into the fading light of the day. He kept walking what seemed impossibly slow towards the truck as it chugged towards him spots of rust poking through the faded green paint.
“Where you headin?” he asked me. A bit of a confused look on his face. It must not be a common place for them to see a hitchhiker.
“Anywhere,” I told him. I held out my hand, “names Danny.”
“Mitch,” he answered. He grabbed my hand. The shake was firm and the skin was rough. He must be a farmer. “I’ve got a spare room made up in the barn. It was my old hands room before he ran off to the city. You’re welcome to it for a night. Longer if you’re willing to work.”
I looked once again worn, but well maintained. A bit rough around the edges, but it still ran. Clearly it had seen his fair share of work, not quite unlike the man driving it, he literally had chipped away some of the clear coat just by touching it. “Mind if I ride in the bed?”
“Go for it,” said Mitch, grinning. “We’re about an hour away from my house yet. Why don’t you take a nap back there? You look tired.”
“I think I will,” I said. “I’ve been on the road for months now. I haven’t seen an actual bed in weeks.” As I laid my head down on my worn green bag. I remembered all the times I slept on the ground with nothing but this bag for company. I left home well over a year ago and had run into all sorts in the process. Running away had its perks, but it had its drawbacks as well. I hadn’t felt like I had a home when I left my old home in Maine. Yet, in all the places I had been since I still hadn’t found home.
The bright lights on New York City. The oasis that was Las Vegas standing bright and flashy within the Mojave Desert. Not even the bright greens of the forests in the Pacific Northwest, but Mitch seemed to calm the wanderer in him. His life story wasn’t something he wanted to let Mitch in on right now, nor did he seem interested. For now, he was content to lay back and enjoy the gentle breeze, the cool metal of the truck bed, the familiar soft indent of his bag, and to drift off to sleep. Looking forward to the sense of purpose that the promise of working for his keep tomorrow gave him.