Riding along a rural quiet mountain road, haven’t seen traffic for a couple of hours, tiled angles roofs down in the valley below. Kid shuffling center ahead, dirty khakis abused Chuck Taylors nylon jacket, I slow so as not to give a scare and as he turns I’m struck by his chapped lips. “Good morning”, he greets me back and as I gain speed past he asks, “will you give me a ride?” It takes a moment to register and consider, I smile surprised, bike lengths along when I skid stop. He runs to catch up, precisely the image of a hitchhiker thumbing in optimism but usually met in disappointment. “To where?” “Sapchaa, my village.” I direct him to sit on the saddle, I can tell he’d prefer to sit on the bag, but I’m pretty sure Eric doesn’t spec his rail attachment straps for 80 lb. kid passenger use. Coasting down the slope, I’m standing on the pedals thighs forward against the bars, Jonni is getting bucked a bit with his feet outriggered out. “Todo bien?” “Si!” We reach the village, some women who know him celebrate his enterprising transportation arrangement eyeing me nodding.
Festival in the square, I drop him off to a polite formal thanks, a small bow? Waving across the departing distancing, somehow more present than before.