“Tell me a little about yourself,” I asked the hitchhiker lying in the motel bed next to mine. I had met Cindy that morning and traveled with her for that entire day but I didn’t really know anything about her.
“I suppose I could give you that much since you haven’t kicked me out yet and that you’re actually driving me all the way to Oregon,” Cindy said. “I really didn’t know if you were going to go through with it.”
“I’m being coerced though.”
“You’re just really nosy and want to hear the rest of my story.”
She sort of had a point there, but alongside being nosy I also have a strange need to win arguments. “I’m nosy?” I said half chuckling in disbelief. “You looked through my purse!”
“I didn’t know you.”
“I still don’t know you!”
She paused for a moment as if she was digesting the sentence that I had nearly shouted at her. “This is true,” she said staring up at the ceiling. “Anywho, my name is Cynthia Wendel and I spend my time traveling.”
I looked down at Cindy’s bag and dusty jacket. She then saw my skeptical glance and explained herself.
I’m not homeless, although it may seem like I am. I have a house that was handed down to me in Montana. I love living there in the land of the shining mountains, but I’ve lived my entire life with this feeling of “get-up-and-go” in the pit of my stomach that I just can’t shake. I feel free wandering the road without being tied down and living my life according to only the direction of the wind. I guess the big sky country isn’t the last best place, at least for me after all, because when I step off of my property out there in the wide open spaces I feel as though I’m being lured out in to a strange new world that needs exploring.
I was taken aback by her story. She chose to live a life on the road? And for what—there was no certainty to her day, no reassurance of comfort when she laid her head to rest at night, and any thoughts about destiny were thrown out the window. But then again, there wasn’t even a window, or some structure sitting above her trying to contain whatever it could inside its familiar walls. She lived her life out in the sun and underneath the dazzling lights of the stars, and for whatever reason, she was able to choose to get into my car and share her story with me. I felt as though she wasn’t restless and that she knew exactly where she was going in life. She a grip on the world that I would most likely never understand, but in this time we have shared I hoped a little piece of her view on the world had rubbed off on me.
Read the story, “Shock Wave,” every Wednesday.