You're really poor and you've hitchhiked a lot over the years, always hoping to catch that perfect ride. You've had some good ones, like the one time you got picked up by the guy who wasn't a fundamentalist Christian, or the time you got picked up by the lady who couldn't eat bread so she let you eat the rolls from her fast food hamburgers, and she even left some of the pickles on them too. There was also that time you got picked up by that group of high school kids who gave you a ride on the condition that you purchase beer for them, and they let you drink beers with them too, at least for the duration of time it took them to take you where you needed to go. Those high school kids were so cool, and you think they really dug you too.
Those were all great rides, but get ready because today is going to be 'the one.'
You'll be thumbing it on US 1 when a Firebird Trans Am will pull up and a beautiful blonde woman in a short white tennis skirt will be behind the wheel. You'll climb in, and tell her, 'Take me all the way.'
She'll say, 'That's gonna be an awfully long ride. Better settle in.'
You'll drive until dusk, when she suggests that you pull over for the night and get some rest. After some gentlemanly offers to sleep in the car, she'll insist that you share her room.
At first you'll just lie next to her with your hands by your sides, staring at the ceiling. Then she'll turn to you and ask, 'Could you hold me? I want you to.' You'll sleep that night with her in your arms.
The next day and night will follow the same agenda. Drive all day, sleep wrapped up in each other's arms that night. You'll suggest that you make love, but she'll claim that she wants it to be special. 'Tomorrow,' she'll say.
The next day, while driving she'll lift up her skirt to reveal that she's not wearing any underwear, so you'll make love to her while she drives 150 MPH down the highway. A bus full of nuns will see you guys and they'll all start praying. It will be perfect.
That night, you'll make love again in a new motel room, and you'll tell her all about how you saw your brother die when you were nine. 'My Dad blamed me. He wished it had been me.' She'll tell you that she's scared of the ocean.
The next day's drive will be like a ride on a cloud. Every rest stop and every mile marker will seem to have been put there as monuments to your trip together. She'll drive fast while you feed her French fries.
That night you'll get into a fight.
'What are we doing? Are we just gonna go and go and go?' you'll shout.
'Until we reach our destination, yeah!' she'll say. That's just like her.
The next day's ride will be a quiet one. You'll both be aware that you're going to reach your destination by nightfall, and you just don't want the ride to end.
Driving into the sunset, just ten miles from where you want to be, she'll say, 'Look into that sunset. Remember it, okay? And every time you see a sunset like that, you have to remember me okay? Even if it's on your wedding day, you have to remember me, okay?'
You'll stare into the sunset and make a mental note.
When she pulls over, she'll put her hand on your thigh and smile at you. Hand her your phone number.
'In case you ever wanna use it,' say. 'You can, you know.'
She'll say, 'I know.' But it will be clear she doesn't believe you. She won't offer you her number.
As she pulls away, you'll check your watch. Four hours early. Four whole hours.
'That was the greatest driver ever,' you'll think. 'Really fast. And she even gave me something to think about during sunsets.'
You'll never tell anyone about your ride. Partially because you'll want to keep it special. Mostly because you'll be afraid of finding out she was a ghost who picks up hitchhikers and makes them love her. You've ridden with four different ghosts over the years and they all came on pretty strong. You'll want to have meant more to her than just having been the one to fall into her eternally recurring pattern. You'll want her to have been alive. And as long as you never find out she was dead, alive she will stay. As alive as the colors of the sunset.
Happy Hitchhikin' For Love Day!