I woke up wet.
“Be back at nine.”- An unfamiliar voice.
A front door slammed.
I gagged and writhed around enough to kick up the vomit smell I would later learn was omiting from my hair and lap. I had fallen asleep sitting up in a thread-bare recliner chair. I tried to pull the close-your-eyes-and-go-back-to-sleep-and-deal-with-this-later thing but opted for the half-assed-attempt-to-remove-vomit-from-self-in-a-filth-encrusted-bathroom-(unsuccessfully)-approach. Then I did the ole slip-out-of-the-house-when-you-have-no-idea-where-you-are-to-avoid-interaction-with-anyone-from-last-night-and-hope-you-never-see-them-again maneuver. Two blocks later I realized that all the cars has Delaware plates.
My cellphone was dead.
The fucking sun stabbed through my eye sockets and into my gut. My burps tasted like jager. I hate jager. That Television boy wan’t that cute and I don’t even like Television that much. One of those bands you are supposed to like. They were playing on the jukebox and he turned to me and asked me if I liked them and I don’t hate them. One of those bar moments when you feel like you have to really like something or really hate something.
I’ll skip all the boring parts (the only parts I remember) and go right to Television boy revealing that he deals “junkie juice” (liquid percocet), and asking me if I wanted some (“sure”). I think I danced somewhere and then I woke up semi covered in vomit.
Delaware was a state that I previously thought had the sole function of making my trips from Philly to Baltimore longer. I was never fond of Delaware but I fucking hated it then. I could barely open my eyes. I was a wet, empty plastic bag walking down suburban assed street after suburban assed street begging for another human walking a dog or a corner store with a human working at it.I needed directions. I talked to myself. Why the fuck did so many people have boats?
I tried to decide if I was going to faint or have a panic attack until it didn’t matter. I sat on the side of some road and closed my eyes. That red veiny daylight eyes closed thing, no darkness. Birds chirping. When I didn’t die I got back up again. Walked a little more and sat back down wondering if I should/could go to the hospital. I had suffered through the morning after some alcohol posioning but never like that. I just focused on breathing for a while. A couple of cars passed and I felt desperate. Modern civilization and I couldn’t stumble upon a human being. I had to catch one.
I had to stand up and try not to look too shitty with a thumb out begging for help. You know when some crackhead asks for for just fifty cents to “take the bus”? When you see some head yelling at their nodding boyfriend at CVS buying gummy worms and newports and you just instantly think: crackhead! Ugh. Some 90 pound piece of human leather decorated with running mascara and the wrong shade of foundation caked on to cover up the pock marks? All I could think was that I looked exactly like that. That was me. Someone to write off. I accepted it. I was her and it was the first sobering experience I had in months. I was the skinny bitch on the side of the road with lazy remnants of vomit in her hair. That desperate look, on the verge of collapse. Simply begging. Mercy. Human mercy. I hoped someone could see that human in me. I wouldn’t have picked me up. Someone did.
His name was David. I closed the door to his red pick up and suddenly felt more woman than monster-mutant. I felt like a vurnable woman: he was my savior. Maybe he was a Christian. Maybe he had hitched before. Maybe he was bored. Maybe he was a creep. But he stopped and I prayed he wouldn’t rape me. I pulled my tank top up and my skirt down and felt uncomfortable.
“Where are you headed?” He asked. His Southern tinged accent only appeased my fear.
I did not have an answer.
“Downtown.” I said, assuming.
“Well, where are you going downtown?”
I let him in.
“I need to get back to Philly, so, ugh, I guess a Greyhound station or something like that.”
I noticed he had not automatically locked the doors.
“Suurre, sure. You’re not far off. I was actually headed right near the bridge… Yep, if you want… I can take you over. No problem.”
His name was David, yep. He said yep alot and nodded yep afterward to confirm those statement twice. Then he kept lifting his Cleveland Indians hat up and down. He talked about his family and the girl he moved up there for. His sister was in trouble, knocked up by some gangbanger. He turned on the radio. “Smoke on the Water” came on half way through and he sort of sang along. He turned the radio up a bit and sang a bit louder.
“Smoke on the Water” ended and “Wild Horses” came on. He sang along a little, messing up the words.
I became very aware of the fact that I would never see David again and that we both knew it. I rolled my window down and put my hand out of the window. He half sang along and I joined him.
He had his whole life and I had my whole life. There was a comfortable silence. When the commercials came on he changed the station but he looked over at me, like he wanted some sort of approval first. Then he looked away really quick. I just smiled and made a wave with my hand in the wind.
One thought on ““MY FIRST TIME HITCHHIKING””