The sun shot a panorama of golden-orange light like lasers through the windshield, and I lowered my visor. The hitchhiker sitting beside me in the passenger seat did the same. Ever since he tried to light a cigarette and I told him not to smoke in my car, I felt uncomfortable. But he
didn’t say anything. He respectfully put the cigarette back in the box and stuffed the lighter in
“These things never fully block out the sun,” he said as he adjusted the visor. He looked at the road and squinted, shifting his head around. I assumed he was trying to see the lines on the asphalt.
“I hope you can see the road better than I can,” he said. “I can see it just fine,” I said.
“The way the sun sets like this makes it feel like we’re in Mexico, don’t you think?” he said.
“What makes you think I’d know?” I said
“You’re from Mexico, aren’t you?”
“I’ve got nothing to do with Mexico,” I said. I shifted in my seat, “Not even closely.”
“I’m sorry, man,” he said, “it’s just that you look-”
“Brown?” I said.
“Spanish,” he said.
“So where are you from?”
“I’m Hispanic. I’m from Belize.”
“Belize? Where is that?” he said.
“Not Mexico,” I said, and we didn’t say anything to each other until half an hour later when I pulled into a gas station’s parking lot and said I needed to use the bathroom. He got out and leaned his back against the door, pulling out a cigarette from the pack and lighting it. For a few moments the orange glow of the tip matched the backdrop of the sky. When I came back out, he was gone. I kept driving into the sunset.