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April 27 2023, Gravel Springs Hut to Thornton Gap:
Annabelle wasn’t as bad as people made her out to be. I definitely heard her squeaking and running around for a bit, but nothing out of the ordinary from what I experienced in previous shelters. I slept well and all of my items stayed intact.
I had a dream about painting my nails red. In the dream I felt melancholy as I used soft stroked movements to place the color on. Apparently, the dream symbolized that I was expecting the temptation of passion and erotic wishes.
I did a shorter mileage day since I planned to meet up with Pusher near Bland, VA. I really wanted to show him that I was committed to seeing him, even though it was mainly just to cross him off my list.
I started my hitch down south and got picked up by a man named Brooklyn. He gave me some money to help me on my travels and dropped me off a few miles down the road.
Shortly after, a young guy in his mid twenties pulled over to let me know he would come get me in five minutes after he dropped his son off at his baby mamas house. When he came back, I got a closer look at him and his car. There were wires hanging out from the dash and cigarette ash scattered about, giving it the appearance it was trashy and barely operating. Still, I got in and said fuck it. Figured if I die, I die.
First, we drove to the gas station so he could fill up his tank. Afterwards, he had to turn his key numerous times before his car even turned on. The transmission was completely off and it felt as if his brakes were about to give out. During the drive we talked about random stuff, such as bartering. He had mentioned how he traded something for a tattoo one time.
I said, “I love trading!”
Immediately after I said that, I knew exactly how he took it.
He asked, “Have you ever traded sex for a ride?”
“Absolutely not,” I said.
He asked if it was because the people were nasty and I said no, it just wasn’t how I rolled. I told him I often got offered a lot of money to go to hotel rooms and have sex with men, but it just was not my thing.
He brought it up again, even though I had switched up the topic.
He could tell that I became uncomfortable with the conversation and asked, “Oh, are you uncomfortable because of trauma?”
I said, “No, this just isn’t a subject I want to talk about.”
He said he wouldn’t bring it up anymore, however only about two minutes passed before he brought it up again.
“Can you trade me sex for this ride?” he asked.
“No,” I said, then looked him in the eyes and continued, “most definitely not.”
I had told him numerous times along the drive that he didn’t owe me a ride and that he could drop me off at the next exit—that there was no pressure or obligation to take me anywhere. I could tell where the energy was headed, sensing he expected a certain behavior out of me. He insisted to drive me further, so I rolled with the wave.
When he dropped me off, he said, “You are really pretty. You at least owe me a sexy picture of yourself for the ride.”
I slammed the door and got on the nearest on-ramp. Then, I got picked up by a guy named Sky who talked a lot about his son that passed away. His organ had stopped working and he felt it was due from too much alcohol. He offered me Starbucks and said I could get anything I wanted to satisfy myself. So, I got a sandwich, croissant and some coffee.
I was only nine miles away from Bland when it started pouring rain. He said he didn’t have it in his heart to just drop me off at an on-ramp, so he bought me a room for the night. I felt so grateful any time someone did that for me, because the first thought I had was, Yay! I get a quiet space to write!
So, I called Pusher to let him know that I wouldn’t make it. I started laughing because I found it cute how easily I found my direction apparently changing. It was a reminder to never take my plans seriously, because the change of direction was always for fun and for my highest benefit!