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Saturday September 27

Saturday ~ September 27th

“Good mornin’ honey! What can I get ya?” I glanced up at the chalkboard sign that said ‘Weekly Breakfast Special: biscuits and gravy’. I nodded toward the sign “That will do thank you.”

“Anything to drink hun?”

“Just some water please.”

“Alright dear, I’ll be back in a jiffy.” She was way too perky for how early it was in the morning. Maybe that was part of her job? It didn’t really matter. What did matter was that I had run away. I had left my home, and my dead parents behind. Now what was I supposed to do? Would anyone look for me? I didn’t know. What I did know was that I was not far enough away from home. Not yet. If they did decide to look for me it wouldn’t take much time to locate me. I didn’t want to worry about being found. I needed to get away couple hundred miles. The further the better.

“Here we are, biscuits and gravy and a glass of water. Is there anything else I can get you?”

“No thank you ma’am. This is perfect.” I basically inhaled the food in front of me. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until then. When I had finished I wiped my mouth. I dug the money out of my bag and placed the bill and tip on the counter.

“Thank you ma’am” I said to the waitress as I headed out of the diner. She smiled and called back “Glad ya liked it sugar.”

She was a character that was for sure. There was a large rock on the side of the highway. I sat on it, pulled out my journal and started another entry.

Dear Journal,

I just finished a very southern breakfast in a small diner on the side of the highway. I guess you know you’re in the south when your waitress calls you sugar, and hun. I’ve never been to a southern diner before this morning, but I suppose it was everything I imagined.

I stopped there I didn’t want to say anymore. I knew if I did I would start writing things I didn’t want to see in black and white. I could feel them, the words in the back of my mind waiting, ready to spill out onto the page. I wasn’t ready to face them. Snapping my journal shut I stood, slipped it back into my bag and resumed my journey alongside the highway.

I had been walking for several hours when a rusty, red pickup truck passed me. I didn’t pay much attention. Cars had been passing all morning. However this truck slowed, pulled off the road and stopped. An older man hopped out and approached me. Fear sprung up inside me, and swirled in my stomach. What should I do? Should I run? Why couldn’t he just leave me alone? He was so close and I didn’t know what to do.

“Hey Miss.” I looked up.

“I saw you walking and thought you might like a ride?” I stared blankly at him.

“I’m headed south and I could use the company.” Thoughts raced through my head. What if it was a trick? What if he wanted to hurt me? He was at least three times bigger than me. There was no way I could win in a struggle with him. But why should I doubt him? After all he could just be some nice old man who wanted to help a kid out. Maybe he thought a teenage girl shouldn’t be walking by the highway on her own. I had to answer. Should I trust him?

“You said you were headed south?”

“That’s right Miss. I plan on driving about two hours south of here. Like I said I wouldn’t mind the company.” Two hours in a truck would get me further than I could hope to get in a day on foot.

“I think I will take you up on that ride.” He smiled, motioned toward the truck and headed there himself. I followed tentatively.

“You can put your bag in the back.”

“Thank you but I would rather keep it with me if you don’t mind.”

“Don’t mind at all. It’s up to you, just thought I’d offer.” I slipped into the passenger seat and put my backpack between my legs.

If I could have imagined how this ride was going to go I never would have doubted him at all. From the moment I was buckled and his truck was back on the road he was talking. He might be a stranger but one thing was clear to me, he needed someone to talk to.

“And that was how my brother and I ended up sleeping in a tree all night.” I was laughing so hard my sides hurt.

“You and your brother were quite the adventures.”

“Yes we were. I should tell you about the first time we drove a car. Now that is a story!”

“I’m not sure you can get much more exciting than sleeping in a tree cause you were be hunted by wolves.”

“Oh I think this one could surprise you.” I smiled. He was so sweet. I could tell when he got someone’s ear he took advantage of it. All his stories were so interesting and exciting. I was sure that they had been tweaked somewhat but who wouldn’t tweak these stories?

“Alright tell me about the time you and your brother first drove a car.” He started off on this wiled tale of the two of them in the car with their dad. It was a slippery slope from the moment he turned the key. After a while I zoned out, not because I was board, but because all this talk of driving made me think of how my dad had promised to teach me how to drive but had never gotten around to it. I was sixteen and had never put my foot on that gas pedal once. This was yet another memory I wanted to forget. I pulled myself back to the real world shoving this memory deep down.

“We crashed through the cow pasture and before I could stop the car we landed in the middle of the pig pen. Dad was not happy with me. I spent the next two weeks fixing all the fences I had wrecked and cleaning up the debris.” He looked at me.

“I bet you’re a much better driver. You seem like a safe and careful person.” I had to smile at that. I’m pretty sure safe and careful people don’t run away from their homes and fears.

“I don’t know. I’ve never driven before.”

“Really? How old are you? You look like you are at least sixteen, older in my opinion.”

“I’m sixteen sir.”

“How come you’ve never driven before then?”

“My dad just hasn’t gotten around to teaching me yet.” I didn’t see the point in telling him that he would never get around to it. That was my burden, not his.

“I see.” This left him silent for a while. I could tell he didn’t understand but he was too polite to ask.

Before I knew it our two hour trip south was over. We were pulling into a small town when he looked over at me and asked

“Can I drop you somewhere?”

“Is there some place I can grab a bite to eat?”

“Yes there’s a small diner just up the road. Similar to the ones we passed this morning.” I nodded and he drove me there.

We reached the diner in all of two minutes. I hopped out of the truck and grabbed my bag.

“Thank you sir. I really appreciate the ride and the stories.” He smiled.

“No problem miss. It was nice to have some one to tell them to again. Just about everyone in town has heard them all before. It’s always nice to have a fresh pair of ears.” I smiled.

“Hey, thank you for not asking about what I’m doing.”

“It’s none of my business.”

“Well thank you anyway.” He nodded and I closed the door. I watched as he pulled away then headed into the diner.

As I sat and ate my lunch I thought about what I was going to do next. Where was I going? I knew I needed to answer that but my head was so full of questions that didn’t have answers I just couldn’t take one more. I wandered around outside for a while but before long I stopped fighting the urge to leave and followed it.

I walked until the sun had almost set. I was on the side of the highway. There weren’t many places to go. Not too far from where I was there stood a sturdy bridge. I slipped down the slope next to it. It wasn’t so bad down here. It was a bit damp, but what did I expect sleeping next to a river? I curled up using my backpack as pillow and closed my eyes. I was so close to being asleep when I heard an odd sound near the water. I pried my eyes open and curled up next to my foot was a large black snake. I froze. Snakes were cool but not in the dark when I was trying to sleep. Moving very slowly I grabbed my bag and climbed back up the slope. I was tired but not tired enough to sleep with a snake.

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