The girl was so hot. Sleeping in her car was safe. Sleeping in her car was hot. She had to cover herself so no one knew she was there. Florida, in July, under covers in a car is stifling. Fortunately, she could shower at work before her shift started. The boat man saw her getting out of her car one morning in the parking lot. It was a back lot, grassy, no tree covering. Her car sat there alone all night. He got there in the morning and saw her climbing out in last night’s clothes. He asked her if she needed a place to stay. She did. But she knew he would want something. The boat man had to want something in return. So she waited for the price.He made the couch up for the girl. She couldn’t sleep. He slept with his bedroom door closed and she was afraid. After a number of nights she asked if she could sleep on the floor in his bedroom. He put a mattress on the floor for the girl. She waited. She felt safer in there. She just wondered when she would pay for a place to stay. He would come for her. They always did.
The days at work were long and hot. It was so nice for her to have an air conditioned place to sleep. She had nightmares screaming often. He rarely woke up. When he did she asked if she could sleep next to him. He had a girlfriend and she hoped the girl friend would never find out.
The girl climbed into bed with the boat man. He rolled over and went to sleep. His girlfriend came by the next morning and was not at all surprised to find the girl sleeping in bed with the boat man. In fact, she invited the girl to have a cookout with her and the boat man at her house that weekend.
The boat man never touched the girl. He never treated her differently at work. He taught her new things to further her career every day.
One day the girl was very ill. She climbed the steps to his apartment and fainted. He lifted her into his arms and put her into her car. He drove the car so quickly to the emergency room that the car started smoking. He burned up the catalytic converter the girl was later told. The girl looked at him as he carried her so gently in his arms and saw fear. He was scared for her. He cared for her. The boat man sat and waited until she had scans and found out she had a concussion from a previous fall at her job.
The girl was cared for by the boat man and his girlfriend. She slept in his bed with him until she was better. The boat man was a father. His girlfriend was a mother. She’d never slept with her mother and father and felt that kind of safety. They must have discussed her, decided she needed to be saved.
She quit the job shortly after that and moved back home. She didn’t stay long. That world was the one she was running from. The next man was not so kind as the boat man. Not many are.
But the boat man gave the girl faith that a man could love without hurt. A man could take care of her without asking for anything in return. A man could choose to not take from her, or touch her.
Her life has been sprinkled with saviors. Her life has been blessed by short spurts of light that got her through the darkness. The boat man was a ray of sunshine in a world of darkness that had surrounded the girl for a very long time.
Thank you boat man. Wherever you are. Thank you for loving the girl. Thank you for being the one of the sprinkles of light that touched the girl’s heart and gave her reason to keep on going.