Vignettes: On the Roadside

Okay, quick preface: I’m posting this a day early. You shan’t be getting a Saturday post this week, because I won’t have time; I’m helping some friends with set-in for their play tomorrow, so, woohoo, two posts in two days for you! That said, let’s do it:

 

The truck hummed under me. My hands were on the wheel, my eyes scanning the road, listening to the radio without really hearing it.
Wait … was that a person?
I shifted my car into reverse and scanned the ditch beside me. There! I parked and got out. The girl sat up and looked at me fearfully, looking like she was going to stand up.
“Hey, it’s alright,” I said, holding my hands in front of me. “I’m not gonna do anything, I just wanted to see if you’re alright.”
She shook her head.
“Okay,” I said slowly. “How old are you?”
“Fifteen.”
I looked at her. She look more like twelve, maybe thirteen. “What are you doing out here?”
“I ran away.”
“From where?”
She was silent.
“I can take you somewhere, if you want.”
She shook her head again.
“Okay, that’s fine. Is there someone you can call?”
“No.” She was shivering. She wasn’t dressed for the cold weather, and we were getting into the evening.
“Hey, want me to grab my coat for you? You look cold.”
The girl nodded. I quickly walked back to my truck, grabbed my coat, and put it on her. She looked like she was drowning in it, but she shivered less.
I opened my mouth to ask her another question, but was interrupted by the sound of a car on the road and a woman’s voice.
“Excuse me?” She said. “I know her, I can give her a ride.”
I looked back. The woman was young, maybe nineteen or twenty. I turned back to the girl. “Do you know her?”
The girl looked at the woman and nodded.
“Can you go with her? Will that be okay?”
She nodded again. She slowly got up, and handed me my coat back. I watched as she got in the car and they drove away.
I shook my head and got back in my truck.

************

I felt the cold seeping through my clothes and heard the occasional car pass. My right side was going numb, and this ditch was gross, but I didn’t really care.
I heard a truck go by. I felt my hair freezing to my cheek. It was getting colder. The snow that had melted on me was re-freezing.
I heard the truck that had just passed reversing toward me. My eyes flitted to the road. Who was stopping?
The truck stopped and a man got out. He was tall, he wore flannel, looked like he worked outside. I sat up and considered leaving. Everyone knows you don’t talk to strangers, especially strange men. The fact that I was alone became really important all of a sudden.
“Hey, it’s alright,” the man said. He held his hands out in front of him. “I’m not gonna do anything, I just wanted to see if you’re alright.”
I shook my head. I figured, the less I say, the better. Maybe he’ll leave me alone.
“Okay,” he said slowly, like he was worried I would bolt. He wasn’t wrong. “How old are you?”
“Fifteen.” That wasn’t true. I figured if I added two years, I might seem more like I could handle myself. He wasn’t buying it.
“What are you doing out here?”
“I ran away.” Well, that was true. Oops. Just kind of slipped out.
“From where?”
I was silent. If I told him, he’d take me back. That’s how it works. People think they’re helping, but they just make it worse.
“I can take you somewhere, if you want.”
I shook my head again. The only place I could think to go was back.
“Okay, that’s fine. Is there someone you can call?”
“No.” I was shivering. The re-freezing water was getting to me more now.
“Hey, want me to grab my coat for you? You look cold.”
I nodded. The man quickly walked back to his truck, grabbed a coat, and put it on me. It was huge, but I shivered less.
He opened his mouth again, but a car pulled up.
“Excuse me?” Rose said. “I know her, I can give her a ride.”
The man looked back at her. He turned to me. “Do you know her?”
I looked at Rose and nodded.
“Can you go with her? Will that be okay?” The man seemed genuinely concerned. I decided he wasn’t much of a threat, after all.
I nodded again. I slowly got up, and handed the man his coat back. I got in the car.
I turned and saw the man shake his head and get in his truck.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s