“I don’t mean to frighten you.” As he bends to look me in the eyes, a greasy clump of hair falls forward. “I’m sure I look a little scary right now. My name is Conner Adkins, and when I see someone who needs help along the road, I try to help any way I can.”
Staring straight ahead I keep thinking, Travis, what should I do?
The man continues talking, so I turn to look at him again. His eyes shine over his thick, ungroomed mustache. What is that in his mustache anyway? “He smiles, and his face softens to look reassuring, so I put my window down a bit so we can talk easier. A whiff of body odor waifs through my window. The air seems so thick I can almost taste his odor.
“I’ve been traveling as an amateur photographer getting some great photos of the woods and flowers of Maine. While staying out in the wild with the animals, I haven’t been the greatest about caring for my hygiene. I just left Camden….”
“I’m heading to Camden for the summer,” I interrupt. “I’ve never been there. What’s it like?”
I was stalling as I searched my purse with my right hand for my pepper spray and phone then slipped them into my pocket before opening the door. We walked together to the back of the car. My heart is pounding so hard I wonder if he can see it pounding in my chest. I think it’s best to be in control of the conversation.
“I hope everything we need is in the trunk. I never worry about these things.” I unconsciously hold out my left hand still bearing my wedding rings. I pop the trunk lid.
“Indiana?” He sounded surprised as he read my license plate. “Why are you going to Camden?”
“I pulled out on the highway, looking for adventure….” I feel sure that sounded a little nuts.
“Steppenwolf, 1968” We laugh and do a high five. It relaxes my mood, and he seems less threatening.
“Are you born to be wild or do you like to talk in song lyrics?” We laugh again.
“Music calms the soul, they say!” I start pulling my bags out so we can get to the spare tire and tools.
“So why did you come to Maine?” He grabs the spare tire and finds the jack and other tools.