The Hitchhiker

The Hitchhiker

About E.L. Drayton

Writer of novels, short stories, scripts, and reviews.
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  • “Sally pull into this gas station here before we hit the highway. I really gotta go,” Trip said, pointing to a station not too far up the road. She gives him a strange look, knowing something is up, then looking at son sleeping soundly in the backseat decides it’s okay and pulls in. “I’ll only be a minute,” he says, jumping out of the car before she can say anything.

    “Honey,” she says, nudging her son slightly to get him to wake up, and he does. “I’m just going to be right outside putting gas in the car okay?”

    He smiles and nods at her to let her know he understands then closes his eyes and falls back to sleep. Several hours go by and Andy wakes up
    when the car hits a bump.

    “Whoa there fella, you alright?,” a stranger sitting next to him asks Andy who’s rubbing his eyes, surprised when he sees someone is sitting next to him.

    “It’s okay honey,” his mother reassures him, putting her hand on his leg to get his attention. “My son is deaf,” she says, as Andy reads her lips intently. His face begins to turn red, embarrassed that his mother is telling this to a perfect stranger.

    “Where’re you folks headed?,” the stranger asks, smiling at Andy to make him relax a little, and he does.

    “There’s a school not too far from here that will help little Andy herelive better in the world. I didn’t want to send him away but Trip here
    convinced me it’ll be the best thing for him,” Sally answered, sadness showing on her face. Andy squeezes his mother’s hand and she smiles at
    him reassuringly.

    “Well your husband there would be correct. I’ve heard great things about that school,” he says, winking at Andy then putting his long brown hair behind his ear, revealing a hearing aid he’s wearing.

    Andy suddenly smiles and points and doing all kinds of sign language at his mother who’s trying to understand what her son is saying.

    “Slow down honey, what is it?”

    “I think he wants you to ask me if I’m deaf like him?,” the stranger replied, showing her his hearing aid as well. He then then begins to sign and speak, “I can do you one better Andy, I’m the principal of the school you’ll be attending.”

    “It’s a good thing we were at that exact gas station just now when your car broke down isn’t it Carl?,” Trip asked, looking at him through the
    rear view mirror, making sure to keep his eyes on the road.

    Suddenly Sally knew what was going on. Trip set this whole thing up so she wouldn’t keep worrying about leaving her son at this school. She
    squeezes his forearm and mouths the words ‘thank you’ as her son starts up a rather animated conversation with Carl.