A classic movie moment. Wide angle camera pan of a white oldish looking church in a mountaineous area, church gets into focus, woman sitting in front on the stairs in cycling clothes at dusk. A puppy comes up to her sniffing the bike and trying to jump on her. She is in tears, pedding and cuddling the puppy. He leaps on her, expecting, and she cannot help it than to hold his head in her hands and rubbing his ears. He is licking her hands.
Leaning against the church frame in sheer exhaustion I felt like giving up. Get a taxi, flagging down a truck and just going home. Get any flight I can find and be back in my bed with my boyfriend and my cats. My legs were jello, my mind was exhausted.
I cycled the day before at dusk as well along narrow winding streets in Kentucky with a whimpsical front-light that was city but not country road appropriate. Some dogs were barking in the dark. I could not see them but they were close. Would they attack me? The evening before I was climbing a hill alone in a mountain range when it was getting dark. Once in a while a SUV would fly by me not expecting to see a cyclist at that time.
It was again 8pm, 40 minutes before sunset. 12 miles to go. There was no way for me to avoid again darkish roads. I called Matt if there was a hotel or motel or cab since my cell service was weak. The data took too long to load.
"No, there is nothing." His voice sounded distant repressing his worries about me.
The puppy owner called his dog. He had a truck, yet, I did not had the courage to ask him for a lift.
"You should probably get going." Matt gently nudged me.
Holding my phone, standing up on my wobbly legs, I looked at the hill that I had to climb before leaving the town where the church was.
My mind wandered. Could I sleep in front of the church? Would or could I be arrested for that? I could catch up in the morning with the group. It sounded so tempting. They had grass. I could just throw my sleeping bag down.
"Nathalie? How many more miles?" Matt brought me back. I knew he would not be ok with me sleeping in front of the church and be worried all night.
I pulled myself together.
"I am gonne get going."
After the hill, the road winded down slowly over the next 12 miles until I arrived at the camp. A beautiful spot at a lake. Almost everyone was about to go to bed. Rich and Terri were still up and welcomed me to the camp showing me where they left some food for me.
I was home and safe for the night.