I was lost and I was found.
In the near darkness, my cycling companion was not fully visible, but from his bearing, he appeared older than me, but remotely similar. Helmetless, he was clad in simple cycling clothes. Windblown gray hair, with a slightest hump in his bent-over posture, his presence was neither maniacal nor menacing. The thing remarkable about him was his curiously wrought bicycle. But this could have been the uncertain, fading light, not an ocular deception. The road was near indiscernible from the dark sky which gave me the impression he was flying rather than peddling his bike. He pulled up beside me, intercepted the moment as if to pass and bellowed out a loud greeting that sounded more like a laugh. “Why are you riding in the dark? Where are you bound, my friend?” I peddled and panted to keep pace with the stranger. Embarrassed, I explained my dilemma. He gave me a barely imperceptible wink, and said “follow me.”
We rushed onwards, riding but not racing; riding steady, riding fast, I felt stronger, more capable of speed, more capable of hills; he was a soothing, silent riding companion. The road leveled and the ditch grew deeper, darker, giving the impression we were riding on the back of animal’s spine. We were riding straight into the void of darkness made by the setting sun.
My companion seemed to know the way to the church where we three departed. The moon had become visible, with heavy black clouds, which threw the vista into a diorama of shades of visible darkness. We came to an intersection and the stranger slowed, nodded his head and said, “That way…here we part.” The stranger’s eyes reminded me of burning flames, but a second look dispelled this illusion. Sooner than I said thank you, he was gone; he did not stop but kept riding on the other road. Vaguely I could make out his shadow in the moonlight. He was gone, but I had reached the starting point. Neither Quincey, nor Jonathan was near, nor in sight. The car was still there, I had won.