"East Europe 2005-06" story # 40

Tarnaveni, Romania           May 5, 2006

I was hitchhiking in Romania when two guys picked me up.
     From the outside, their car had looked like a little tuttering low-rider that an old countryside man would've driven twenty miles and hour in during the 1930's.
     From the backseat of the inside, the interior seemed as wide as it was long. Sharp edges gave the interior the shape of a flattened cube. Thus, my knees pushed into the over-sized soft, cotton seat cover and its broad brown or blue stripes filled with classic slanting cross-patterns.
     The ceiling was a foam patchwork mat. The dashboard was a spaceship-long rectangle dressed in glossy black vinyl, and this vinyl also serpented around the steering wheel. Racing stripes supported the car's name, "Dacia," and in the long shelve that was the bottom of the dashboard lay nine bright tulips. Three were pink, five were half-purple/half-white, one was yellow, and their sepals still covered them.
     The passenger wore an un-showy red t-shirt, jeans, and grease overflowing from his neat haircut. He slouched, making him look like a 60's "cool guy."
     The driver and passenger seemed to be in their late-twenties. The driver's polo shirt wore black and gray columns filled with stars. It looked like the coolest shirt available in the 70's, and his bland brown-tinted sunglasses seemed also to have missed their era. His even-like-a-beaver haircut had been buzzed by un-hungry clippers. He sat up calmly straight, with hands never leaving optimal steering position.
     No one talked. We heard a CD of that young good-looking married American country-singing couple, and I looked past my knees, past the seat, past my drivers, pas the dashboard, as we drove a winding countryside road with trees hanging over it that could've been in Tennessee. It was the best that country music had ever sounded to me. There were so many pot-holes damaging the road that we must drive slowly and weave from one side to the other avoiding them. One was big enough to fit a household door inside.
     After a while, we reached the outskirts of a small village, and the driver began waving to smiling people possibly out tilling their small front yards. The road curved past a cemetery-on-a-mound and its proud white crosses. Large, slightly-aching old buildings in soft brown or blue or orange sprung up in the village's center.
     When I got out of the white Dacia, we exchanged names. Theirs were Soreen and Kalee.
     This is Romania.

bye, Justin

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