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the hiker without a trail

the hiker without a trail

long story written in the middle that doesn’t need to be but is.

after driving past him for five miles at a hundred miles an hour
i made a quick decision after consulting with caution
then reversed the curves and turned round to find him again

i stopped in the middle of a one way road and asked him to come inside
it was ninety-six degrees outside and although we were deep in pandemic
he didn’t hesitate to jump in

traffic behind blared their horns as i barreled forward without warning
not intending to scare the fella who may have had second thoughts
as neither of us wore masks and were much closer than six feet

he said he was an avid hiker, and had been hiking for six hours before losing his way
i glanced over quickly at the sweat dripping from his face wondering why that was the
day i didn’t have water bottles in the car

he didn’t look like a hiker to me nor did he seem to fit the bill for someone walking that long in hot weather
he was a sandy blonde blue-eyed boy with really long and hairy legs
he was really a man but a child to me, somewhere in his twenties and
sporting only a brown satchel, the kind an executive might keep to hold his work papers
observations didn’t matter cause i decided he was the one on edge

he led me to his car, eight miles away in a hidden parking lot near the beginning of where he’d began
i waved goodbye once he was safely inside

he taught me that disease is secondary to being a carrier and that hikers without trails
are the best at finding their way home

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