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Gentleman Hitchhiker

January 2004

I come from Albuquerque New Mexico, and have an experience I would like to share with you all. At first it was eerie and terrifying, but soon I came to cope with the event as something that was bound to occur.

North of Albuquerque on the northbound I-25 is Santa Fe, the capitol of New Mexico where my grandmother lives. My grandmother is a very sweet old woman, who was widowed at the age of forty. My father himself hardly knew his own father, my grandfather, and my grandmother hardly spoke of him, as she loved and missed him so dearly.

The event takes place on March 27th of 2001, around eleven thirty at night. I was going to visit my grandmother for the night, and I chose a time when there would be little traffic. About fifteen minutes up the freeway, I spotted the bulldozed remains of a fast food diner that used to stand when I was a child, and I continued onward as usual. About five minutes after that, I spotted a man in a brown suit and a brown hat walking up the edge of the freeway. Not wanting the man to freeze or to be mugged, I pulled over by him, and asked him for a ride.

When I turned to look at the man, my skin suddenly tingled with fear as the man looked at me. He was a middle-aged man, with a thick black mustache and thick eyebrows. His skin looked very pale, as if he really was cold, or quite sick. I asked the man where he was headed, and the man replied Santa Fe. As I opened the door for the man to enter, I noticed his form of attire was very distinct and old fashioned. I looked at the man, who smiled kindly, and soon I began driving back on the road.

We spoke as we coursed to Santa Fe, and I asked the old man his name. He replied his name was Roger, and that he was eternally grateful for me picking him up. He replied that his own car had broken down back at a diner on the road, and that he was walking to find a station down the road, or in hopes that someone could help him. At this I looked at the man, and mentioned that the diner had been bulldozed and that there was no car there. Roger smiled kindly, and informed me that I had to have been mistaken. I mentioned nothing, thinking him to either be mistaken, or lost.

As we arrived closer to Santa Fe, I grew tenser and felt an urge to look back at Roger. The man had his hands calmly at his sides, as a puddle of blood was forming on his shirt. I screamed in terror that he was bleeding, but Roger shook his head and begged me thoroughly to drop him off on a certain street. I turned down the street, hoping that there would be a clinic or a store to call help from, but then Roger placed a cold hand on my shoulder, and told me to stop my car here. I opened the door for Roger, and gazed at the empty home in front of him. Roger thanked me kindly, and closed the door. I watched Roger walk to the door, and simply disappear. At this moment I lost all courage and tore out of the neighborhood, regardless of the sleeping people and traffic.

I got to my grandmother's home ten minutes later, and found her to be reading a book. My grandmother told me I looked very pale, and told me to have a seat, and then asked me what had happened. I told her she wouldn't believe me, or even half the story, but she insisted regardless. I shook my head, and she said she would bring me some water to drink. As my grandmother walked out of the front room, I tried to relax myself by looking at a group of pictures on the coffee table she displayed. Aside from pictures of my cousins, of my dad and his siblings, and me one picture gripped me beyond fear. It was a picture of a man in a suit, with a thick moustache and thick eyebrows. I looked closer, and the man was holding my grandmother. As I picked up the picture, my grandmother sat next to me, and sighed.

The man was my grandfather I remembered, and my grandmother commented on how much she missed Roger. I looked at her, and asked her to swear to keep this event between her and me. I mentioned that on my way over, I picked up a hitchhiker on the I-25, and the man claimed to have had a stalled car at the diner along the freeway. He told me his name was Roger, and that he was headed for Santa Fe. As my grandmother felt tears trickle down her face, I pointed to the man in the picture, and my grandmother finally spoke.

My grandfather indeed stopped by the diner over fifty five years ago, and stopped for some food on his way back from work. My grandfather had picked up his check at work, and cashed it as well that day. After the meal, my grandfather went to start the car, but it failed to start, and the restaurant owner suggested a tow station a few miles up the road. As my grandfather walked up the road, a few men from the diner left as well, and drove their car to follow my grandfather. When my grandfather stopped to speak with them, one of the men brutally stabbed my grandfather, took his car keys, and drove off back to steal his money. The crooks were caught and jailed, but my grandfather died on that freeway, from a combination of the cold weather and because of his wound.

I mentioned that my grandfather asked me to drop him off at a home, and my grandmother insisted on me showing her the home that very morning. At nine thirty we road out to the home, and I showed her as my grandmother smiled meekly. As tears streaked down her cheeks, my grandmother smiled and grasped my hand. She told me that was wear her and Roger had lived, in that empty home. My grandmother moved away shortly after the murder, and never looked back.

Since that night, my grandmother no longer hold back on talking about Grandpa Roger, or talking about his fate. I asked her recently why she felt so liberated about the whole affair, and my grandmother responded when we drove away from the home, she spotted my grandfather walking down the porch steps to wave at her. At that point my grandmother said, she felt the same warmth and love she felt when she was married to Roger, and that he indeed never forgot about her. She says whenever she goes, she won't be afraid to go, because my grandfather will be they're waiting for her patiently. And as for me, I am glad I got to finally meet my grandfather, even under the odd and terrifying circumstances.

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