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True to his word, after the driver parked and locked down his rig for the night, he took her to the hotel and paid for two rooms. He also left a wake-up call for each of them.
As exhausted as she was, she slept fitfully. When the phone rang it startled her, but it was only her wakeup call. She barely had time to brush her teeth and wash her face before there was a knock on the door. The driver was there to take her down to breakfast.
Just as they finished breakfast, the first rays of light were greeting the new day and he told her he had to get moving. With a worried look on his face, he asked her again if she was sure she wanted to continue on her journey. When she affirmed that she did, he sighed and, after one last word of caution, climbed into his rig. With a big rumble he started out of the truck stop, looking back and waving before he pulled out on the highway.
The girl went back into the restaurant and ordered a glass of tea to sip on while she waited for more of the truck drivers to wake up and mosey in. As the sun rose and scattered colors across the sky, the drivers began to go out to their trucks. She finally paid for her tea and went outside. She began to walk from one rig to another asking about a ride. Some drivers simply declined to give her a ride. After a dozen or more queries, she found a driver that was willing to give her a lift as far as he was going.
They had only been on the road for about an hour when the girl began to feel sick. Assuming it was just something she had eaten it didn’t worry her too much. But as the miles passed she felt worse and worse. Although plagued with kidney infections all through high school, they had always been managed with an over-the-counter medicine called Cystex and she didn’t even think that might be the problem.
By early afternoon, they were approaching Roswell, New Mexico. The driver began to hint, not so subtly, that he expected her to pay for the ride by riding him. Horrified and scared, she informed him that was not going to happen. Angry, he pulled the truck to the side of the road and ordered her to get out, then tossed her bag after her and rumbled away. She knew she was lucky that he had not forced himself upon her and shuddered at the thought.
With no other choice, nor any idea how far outside Roswell she was, she began walking. The few cars that passed her ignored her outstretched thumb. Although it was tempting to find some shade and sit there until it cooled off, she was feeling worse by the minute. Finally, she spotted a café. Quickly crossing the road, she entered the small café, reveling in the feel of the cool air after walking in the sun and heat. And boy, was she thirsty!
She approached the wizened man behind the counter and asked for a glass of ice water while she looked at the menu. After a couple of glasses of water, she finally felt less parched. She decided to spend some of her money on a plate lunch and think about her next move. While eating, she asked the counterman and the waitress if either one knew of a church that would be willing to put her up for the night, but they didn’t. Resigned to continuing to walk and try to thumb another ride she tried to pay for her meal. However, the man, who as it turned out was the owner, declined the money. As she started toward the door, the waitress told her she was welcome to spend the night in her house if she didn’t mind sleeping on a pallet. Gratefully, she accepted the offer and was glad to wait in the blessed cool air for the waitress to finish her shift, which coincidentally was when the café closed.
After sharing an evening meal with the waitress and her family, still feeling rather sick, she laid on the pallet and quickly went to sleep. All she really knew for the next couple of days was burning up and trying to pee with little to no success.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . . . .in Part Four