The conversation, which had begun pleasantly enough with idle chit-chat about the weather, sports, and the price of fuel, was morphing into ugliness right in front of Walt’s eyes. The tow truck driver, “Mike” by the name tag stitched to his coveralls, seemed oblivious to the pain he was inflicting. Had it not been pouring rain, and his Volkswagen Rabbit not been hooked to the winch, Walt would have told Mike to stop the truck and gotten out. Non responsiveness wasn’t working, either; it only seemed to fuel Mike’s pressing desire to talk. His hatred seemed boundless as he spewed forth racial slurs, epithets, and insults upon anyone who he deemed deserving.
Onward they travelled westward, jostling in the truck. The windshield wipers obliged with clichéd wump-wump as they beat back the rain. The town in which Walt lived, and the dealership at which they would drop off his car, was only a few minutes away. Walt mouthed a silent “thank you” that he had learned long ago (during a lengthy learning curve) that to engage in verbal battle only risked losing the war. Years prior, he would have foolishly stood toe to toe with such a judging character and, thereby, ignorantly proclaimed himself as judge and jury also. No, not this time. He would be a good soldier and stand down for the rest of this ride.
Not soon enough, they arrived at the dealership. Mike proudly exited the cab; and Walt, as though on automatic pilot, stepped down from the cab and watched as Mike unhooked his car. His only subtle retribution was to refuse to bite the bait of Mike’s hint that “for a few bucks” he could do him a favour by breaking company rules and taxi him home from the closed dealership. “No, thanks,” Walt said, “the walk will do me good.”
“Have it your way,” Mike said, with a toss of his head. Walt watched as the tow truck sped away, and then slung his small backpack over his shoulder and began to walk.
At home, Walt immediately changed out of his soggy clothes and gave thanks that the evening was drawing to a close. Still, the events of the evening ride in the tow truck lingered. He realized that persons such as Mike were actually full of self loathing. But what did he know beyond assumptions of Mike’s background? Had he been exposed to such abuse, or even battery, when a child, or told that he was worthless? How had he become filled with such hatred of others? Walt knew that to give love, you must first have it to give. Mike hadn’t expressed anything that even remotely resembled love.
Walt climbed into bed and shut out the light on the bedside table; but he soon realized that sleep was playing hide and seek with him; and no matter how much he tossed and turned, he just couldn’t find it. As with all matters that bothered him, especially those labelled “don’t-know-what to-do,” Walt surrendered the troubling issue to his divine Creator. He followed his instincts and quietly mouthed the following words:
Please help me to see with Your understanding;
To look beyond this world of appearance
And be a conduit of Your wisdom.
Oh, and please look after Mike.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2021 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏