I’m skipping a few days and retelling one event. I’ll give you a more detailed report soon.
We were about a mile into town. The heat and humidity crackled on my skin, producing eczema rash patches and dark spots. I wanted to call it quits for the day, so I pulled onto a bike trail entrance to regroup and try to find a host for the night via warmshowers.org.
I called a man named Michael to see about transport into Harrisburg or another town for camping. “Wow, you’re the second person to call me today. Another young woman is headed in the same direction as you. You guys should connect.”
I called Hope, a very nice lady, traveling at my pace with a little bit of my personality. We decided to meet and see if riding together would work out. She was going to stay with friends a few miles away from where I had stopped to get my bearings. Although my mind wasn’t into it, I got back on my bike and started to head onto the bike trail.
A few feet later, I realized I still didn’t know where I was going. I saw two men sitting in a car and yelled out, “Am I heading in the right direction to go to Market St.?” A skinny, bearded fellow with a friendly smile got out of a old car, and proceeded to walk towards me. Smile or not, I tensed up.
“Here, come this way and I’ll show you where you need to go.” Thinking the worst, I quickly looked back at Fiji. The man sensed my trepidation and said, “No, just come a few feet this way. I’ll show you this map.”
Feeling a tad bit silly, I hopped off my bike, and walked it toward the map the guy now stood beside.
In order to make up for my original “jump to conclusion,” I listened to him with an engaged face. I told him about my cycling journey. He told me about his walking across America trip several years back.
His friend stood by the car, listening and smiling. I kept my eyes on both of them.
Fiji sat still in the trailer, so she wasn’t too bothered. I try to follow her intuition. She’s pretty good at sniffing out the creepsters.
“Hey (insert name here)? Is my oil in the car?” The man called to his friend.
“Ummm…I think so.”
Now, what are they rambling on about? I thought. He was explaining directions to me whilst asking about oil? What? Random…
“Make sure you turn left on Market St. You’ll see a house with a hole in it. Turn there.” He continued.
His friend came running up to his side. He held a small tube in hand fingers with brownish black liquid inside. My insides started to do flips.
Get out of here now, Jasmine, I told myself. But my legs wouldn’t move. What’s in that tube no more the size of a thimble?
“We’re going to anoint you,” the man answered. “Please bless this girl as she travels across the country. May her tires carry her without trouble…”
The prayer continued. I kept my eyes open still unsure of the man with a bottle of Gatorade in one hand and a cigarette and small tube in the other.
After saying a whole bunch of stuff, he proceeded to open the tube, dap his finger in the liquid and rub his finger in a cross shape on my forehead. Totally caught me off guard. He also did the same to my tires, but I can’t tell you much after that. My mind was spinning.
What is happening to me? Did he just put poison on my head? Am I going to go and pass out somewhere and him and his friend will pick me up in their old car and do horrible things to me?
I played it off and wished them a good day, thanking them for their prayer and anointing. You don’t piss off crazy people was my thought process.
I walked onto the bike trail–and maybe it was placebo–but I stared to feel a burning sensation on my head.
Well, I’m still alive to tell you this story, so the guys albeit in a very scary way, were just trying to “bless” my trip. But still…
Moral of the story: don’t ask directions? Eeesh…