He sat in the middle of the backseat, not lounging against the upholstery, alert. He filled the space of the car, squeezing out our silence, our thoughts, maybe my breaths. He rested a forearm on the top of T.'s seat, and the other arm on the back of mine. His face loomed between our ears.
"Go left here," he'd say, and T. would turn the steering wheel. Nobody spoke except for the clipped sentence fragments guiding our way.
We might have driven a mile for an hour or a week. The thick cloudy sky stifled even our thoughts, suspended in limbo as we drove and waited for whatever would happen next to happen.
And then it did.
He punctured the silence with a brusque, "let me out here," and he unfolded out of the back door at the next stop sign. "Turn left by that sign," he gestured, and he was gone into another dark alley, sparkling with broken bottles and swallowed hopes.
The nameless hitchhiker was gone. We turned as instructed, and T. let me out at the train station. I spent the hour riding to the next town listening to my Walkman and wondering if she found the way to the bridge. I wouldn't find out until the weekend was over.
(part three, tomorrow)