I rolled off the couch at 4:30 a.m. The test was at 7:30 a.m. I had plenty of time to hitch a ride to Ann Arbor 10.2 miles away. I was excited! Three more hours and I’d be on the first leg of my journey to a new life!
Fifteen or twenty minutes later I was standing alongside Washtenaw Avenue wearing my army coat, a scarf wrapped around my neck and mouth, one foot on the curb the other on the roadway, my thumb extended at a right angle to my body watching the cars pass by in the bitterly cold wind.
I called on the magic I use to look into the mind of each passing driver, to find the stranger with pity who will ferry me to my destination. But that morning something was wrong. The magic wasn’t working. One by one the cars with their pitiless drivers passed by. So I hitched while walking backward facing traffic. Still … no ride.
After a while, I looked at my watch. Shocked to discover how late it was I had no choice. I started running along the side of the road. I heard my boots thumping on the concrete, the jangle of loose change in my pocket, the sound army canvas makes rubbing against itself, the sting of the wool scarf against my cheeks. I felt the pain of cold air sucked past my throat into my lungs. Beneath it all, the pounding bass drum of my heart pumping blood. continued …