I am ashamed of myself. I can hardly believe what I became a couple days ago. It wasn’t any better when I started walking last night, I hated the world, I kept thinking about, hoping for, someone to jump out a put a bullet in my head. I wanted to die. I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, I didn’t care. I was just walking because that is what I do at night…I walk.
Before I knew it I was at San Simon. I didn’t stop, I just kept on walking. San Simon is a nothing little place, but anything that was there is nothing more than ashes now. Not a single sign of life, dead as a cemetery. I started to cry, tears rolling down my face. Beans just walked right beside me the whole way. She didn’t pay attention to me but she never left my side. I just kept walking…that’s what I do.
Just as I got to the far side of San Simon Beans trotted off. I looked up and there she was licking the outstretched hand of a man standing fifty feet in front of me. I froze, I forgot the pistol in my pocket, and I just froze. Beans was acting like she had found her owner that made me really sad. What’s new about that…I felt as if the whole world was sadness.
The old guy slowly waved me over to where he was standing. Honestly, I didn’t care who this guy was. “Kill me quickly and get it over with” was all I could think. I walked up to him and this guy was old, really old, he had to be in his 80’s or so. Beans trotted off again. I looked over at her and there she is being all friendly with two other guys standing off to the side about thirty feet away. So now I know I am going to be killed or captured, being killed is OK, captured…no freaking way. I start reaching for the pistol but this old guy was gently holding my arm right below the elbow. How he grabbed my arm I will never know, I never saw him move. At that point I was completely immobile. It felt as if my arm was being held firmly by feathers. It was light and gentle, but my arm was in his absolute control.
He then gently took my hand and clasped it in both of his. I feel to my knees, I wasn’t able to stand. I couldn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now. Last thing I remember is falling over onto my side. I wasn’t able to stop myself from falling. But, it felt like I was twenty years old again just before I blacked out, I felt at peace. I wondered if that what dying felt like. He had killed me and I was dying.
I have no idea how long I was passed out, I mean that, no idea whatsoever. But when I woke up I was completely refreshed as if I had slept at a Holiday Inn Express on the best bed in the world. It was still dark when I awoke, really dark, but there was Beans laying right beside me. I started to move around and she licked my face like I was covered in gravy.
I got up, stretched a little bit, and decided to keep walking until it got light. I hadn’t taken a dozen steps and there were two railroad company utility trucks sitting there on the other side of this thick mesquite bush. I wouldn’t had seen if I hadn’t looked directly at it. I am sure I would have walked right past it earlier in the night becuase I was paying attention to absolutely nothing then.
I walked over to the truck and looked in the first cab. There was a case of MREs sitting on the front seat. I guess I should have tried the door handle but I broke the window to get in and filled up my pack. I started rummaging through the compartments, found their first aid kit, which went in my pack as well. And much to my pleasure there was a large unopened bag of Jack’s Links Peppered Beef Jerky sitting on the dash. The good stuff, not some slum beef…the premium cut stuff. I started to put that into my pack as well but Beans was jumping around like crazy. I gave her the biggest piece in the package, the rest went in my pack. She laid down and actually chewed on it…not just gulping it down like my own dog Abby would have.
I was going to go through the second truck but just had a feeling like I shouldn’t. So I didn’t. I got back to the tracks and started walking again. I walked about five miles by the looks on my map, like walking through a park on a Sunday morning. I was coming up to the mountain on the north side of the tracks just west of the state line pass. Actually it is called Steins Pass. I found the name in really small print in the atlas. Apparently named after the really big mountain (Steins Mountain) that makes up the north side of the pass. All part of the Piloncillo Mountain range.
It was starting to get a little light off to the east so I backtracked to a really nice deep arroyo and settled in for the night. I ate some wheat crackers with nacho cheese spread from one of the MREs. It tasted so good I can’t even tell you. I am glad the MREs contain toilette paper, I’ve been out for days.
But, while I was walking last night I kept thinking of the old guy I ran into. It was something right out of the Twilight Zone. He never said a single word to me and I don’t think it was more than, probably less than, 60 seconds from the time he grabbed my arm until I was falling over and blacking out. “Grabbing” is not the right word. He put his hand on my arm and I had no desire to continue grabbing for my pistol. His grip was firm, his hands very large, but it was so gentle. It may sound weird but like I said earlier it was as if I was grabbed and held by a bunch of feathers.
So I was walking along last night after I woke up and the whole time I was walking I kept thinking about his guy. Well, technically there were three of them but I only interacted with the old guy. He might have been old, but he was still a pretty big dude. I realized that when I woke up I was calm, absolutely calm. More than that…I was peaceful. Sure, I was rested, no doubt about that. But I just felt peaceful. “Serenity” comes to mind.
Then it came into my mind like a flashing neon sign…”God loves me.” Come on…don’t laugh at me. I am telling you it was like a sign in my mind. I just kept thinking that God loves me. I’ve never felt that way before. I mean sure, I believed in God and all of that. But last night I felt like He actually loved me. And that seems very weird to me too.
And my attitude is better. I read what I wrote over the previous few days and I can’t believe it was me writing that stuff. I sounded mean, almost hateful. No, I did sound hateful, and I think that was pretty much all that was left in my heart…hate. I think it was getting to me. After all I’ve been on the road for over two weeks now. I am physically exerting more than anything else I’ve ever done, under more stressful conditions than I have ever lived through, for a longer period of time than I ever experienced. I mean…come on…this is the end of the world and the crap did hit the fan. Towns are burned down, people are killing each other, and I saw a prison camp of some kind…maybe slave labor. A woman was chased down, shot multiple times, she killed herself, and people hacked up her body into pieces. Yeah, I would say that is a little stressful…and it all got to me. I lost it.
So, who were those guys last night? Why didn’t he talk to me? Why am I still alive? Why did I fall and black out? Why did it even happen? Maybe I should be asking…Did it happen?
I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you this…I will make it home, Lisa is alive, she needs me, there is plenty to do once I get home, I am needed. And one more thing…God didn’t do this horrible mess, He didn’t have anything to do with this. This whole thing is man’s doing. An evil man. A man at the top. Or, a group of men hiding in the shadows.
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