The Recurring Dream
Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
-- John Updike, Self-Consciousness (Knopf)
Appalled, she eyed the pile of feed she had laboriously drug helter-skelter onto the floor and seat, plagued by second thoughts. She watched him grow and grow in the rear view window as he did a tired jog up to the passenger door.
It would be helpful, if one decides that one just MUST pick up a hitchhiker, to have ROOM for him before making the offer. Now that I've GOT him, WHERE am I going to PUT him?
Motioning for him to open the door, she leaned across the alfalfa pellets, rolled oats and cracked corn to raise the lock button. She would have had to move a good 600 pounds of feed to reach the handle from where she sat.
If we put those sacks in the back end unprotected, the snow will weaken the paper, and some of it will get spilled before it gets unloaded. The grain up against the wet sack might mold. I can't risk losing a horse to moldy feed like that gal in Georgia did.
As he drew closer, he loomed even larger.
Swinging an exceedingly small pack into the bed of the truck, he prepared to hop over the side into the back.
She rapped sharply on the window, motioning for him to come up front.
He opened the door in an economical continuation of the same motion he'd started to climb aboard. His eyes grew slightly wider as he took in the jumble of sacks, then, placing one hand on the roof, he lithely moved onto them, curling into a human knot to get his head and shoulders below the roof line. Folding his legs in a roughly lotus position, he deftly shut the door.
She could see NOTHING past his body.
As big as all outdoors.
Noting his bluish, gloveless hands, she cranked the heater as high as it would go.
"I can drop you in the next town. I have to pick up some bags of salt." She bit her lip. Drat! What did I have to say that for? Where would four 50 pound sacks of SALT go?
"Where're you heading?"
"I see. Well, now that we have the "You Tarzan; me, Jane," bit out of the way, where're you heading?"
"I'd settle for someplace warm in exchange for honest toil, at the moment."
"Well, would you like to stop at the Chinese restaurant for a bite to eat while we figure out where you can find your ideal soft landing place?"
"What? Oh, yes, I need iodized salt for the weather vane feeders."
Silence. Finally Despina spoke again, "There are other restaurants if you don't like to eat Chinese."
"Anyone local hiring? I'd rather work outdoors."
Alarm bells went off inside her head. No money for a meal... but unwilling to take charity, she decided.
"I don't know of anything off hand, but I can sure use some help unloading this feed if you'd consider trading the labor for lunch. It will put you off on a side road instead of in town, however," she finished helplessly.
Whatever ARE you up to? You don't know anything about him. If you take a drifter home, what does he have to lose? He'll be warm and fed, and you'll have a hard time putting him out afterward if you couldn't even drive by him.
"I don't think I've ever eaten a Chinese. They're quite small, aren't they?"
Her quick sideways glance caught the smile that briefly tugged at the corners of his lips. Her own answering giggle sounded quite nervous to her ears. He didn't need that to make him devilishly handsome.
Surreptitiously checking her cash as they entered and were escorted to a booth, she decided he'd have to become acquainted with the hors d'oeuvre platter later.
She headed to the rest room after the meal, not spotting him when she went to pay. She felt curiously let down, instead of relieved.
Maybe he's in the john.
When she exited, he'd re-stowed the grain sacks. The four bags of salt should fit, leaving him with as much room as he'd had before.
Last updated 7/15/04.