I was raised on the south side of Tampa Bay. Summertime, I just changed from one bikini to the next. I often fell asleep in my swimsuit because I lived in the water. If I wasn’t at the beach, I was on a boat.
Jim was our family friend when I was growing up. If he wasn’t working, he was fishing. A real Floridian. And if I wasn’t in school, I had a standing invitation to join him. He was a father figure, of sorts. And the kind of “extra dad” any girl would have been proud to have.
Jim taught me how to bait a hook, make chum, filet a fish and cook it. There was only one problem with spending so much time on a boat: even with motion sickness tablets, I became extremely seasick.
But Jim knew that about me and was very patient. He taught me if I ever started feeling sick, all we needed to do was find a sandbar. If I could just get my feet back on the ground, maybe swim a little, everything would be fine. Countless times before I ever mentioned it, Jim would ask if I needed to get out of the boat.
I opened my eyes to the most annoying sight. The laundry I’d folded on Tuesday was still sitting on the chest at the end of the bed. That’s the definition of a busy week for me. I like it loaded, swapped, folded and put away in the same day.
This week, I had a load of additional demands at work. The preschool class I’ve taught for the past nine months was graduating. Moving on. Aside from the typical daily chores, there were end of the year parties, graduation to attend, and “thank you notes” to write.
When I finally laid down Saturday night, I was hoping for a restful night’s sleep. I figured it would be one of those nights where you wake up the next morning in the exact same position you fell asleep in. Not a hair moved.
But that wasn’t the case.
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