Strange Encounters
 

The Encounter

by DeVonna R. Allison

 
  Winter 2015 Fiction, Memoir & Poetry Anthology  |  Contents  |  Authors  |  echapbook.com

 

An icy wind threaded its way through the deserted gas pumps, as I struggled with the door to my gas tank. It was January in Michigan and the arctic air had frozen the tank’s access door; I needed help. I looked around the empty station before noticing a man crossing the street in my direction.

Even from a distance I could see the man’s stained coat was open to the wind that tossed his straggling hair and beard. I hesitated for a moment, but when that same wind set the ends of my scarf whipping straight out in front of me I called out to the stranger.

“Excuse me sir, could you help me, please?”

The man came over and when I’d explained my problem agreed to help me. At this distance I became aware the stranger was unwashed.

Showing him the release lever next to the driver’s seat, I took my place at the tank opening. It was then that I noticed my wallet, lying open on the driver’s seat, mere inches away from the man’s hand, my cash, plainly visible.

Better get this over with quickly, I determined; the sooner this stranger was on his way again the more comfortable I’d feel.

I nodded to him, and while he pulled the lever I successfully pried the access door open with my credit card. I confess I was a little too relieved, as I thanked him for his help. Now, we could go our separate ways again.

But, the man didn’t leave. Instead, he stood motionless, silently looking at me. We were only a step apart and the chill traveling the length of my spine now had nothing to do with the weather.

“Thank you,” he said, “Thank you for letting me help you.” And turning, the stranger continued on his way across the frozen parking lot.

 

end of story

© 2015, DeVonna R. Allison