Not Today

He stood at the side of the road, a young man lost and alone. He wore a cap pulled down to shade his eyes from the westering sun, a plaid shirt that had seen better days, and a pair of pants that one could assume had probably not always been quite that dusty of a brown. The cars raced past him, his bag on his back and the sun on his face. Periodically, he would hold out his hand, thumb raised skyward, and hope. But universal as the call was, none heeded it.
The sun set and the stars filled the sky, cars becoming nothing but headlight streaks and the whoosh of their passing. With a sigh, he raised his head and watched as a pale gray sedan pulled up alongside him. It seemed to have stolen the moon’s glow in that newly fallen night. The window rolled down, and though he could not see the driver, the boy knew who stared into his soul.
“Are you ready?”
Defiant, the young man raised his chin.
“Not yet, old man, I got too much world left to see.” Then he grinned. “Too many girls to fall in love with.”
There was a sigh from within and the boy braced himself in case today was the day he was finally told No.
“Someday, for your mother’s sake, I hope you will come home, my son.”
Lightning crashed in the distance and both men looked up. Neither boy nor car cast a shadow on the ground.
“Someday, sure.” The young man adjusted his cap, taking a step back. “But not today.”
As he faded into the air, the pale gray sedan pulled away to seek him in another twilight.


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