Without hesitation he replied "Try the Foc'sle." "Ok, thanks," I said, a little puzzled at the reply, as I wandered off to find the others.
Later that day I ran into him again in the restaurant by the docks. "Hey, sugar, can I buy you a drink?" There was that gravely twang again. He had his sunglasses off and I could see the clear blue of his eyes. "Sure," I said, hoping he wouldn't notice how nervous I was.
It was during that first conversation that I learned he grew up in Ft. Lauderdale (me too!), he was turning 40 on the 11th of September (I had just turned 40 in May!!), he was single (so was I!!!), and he was working on a party, or head, boat. He was trying to save enough money to get back to Ft. Lauderdale to see his daughter for the first time in 12 years. I spent that rainy weekend with him in the little cabin on his boat. When it was time to go back home I thanked him for the wonderful memory he had given me. I gave him my phone number but never expected him to call - but he did!!!!
For the next several weekends I made the eight hour journey by bus from my home in Connecticut to the shore in Narraganset, Rhode Island.
He took me on the boat with him and taught me how to tie a rig, cut clams for bait, and filet a scup.
I listened with rapt attention to tales of his life on the sea. he told the worst jokes and the best stories I had ever heard.
We shot pool and drank beer and played "Rebel Yell" (his) and "Sweet Child O' Mine (mine) endlessly on the juke box at the Foc'sle . . . his comment from earlier in the day coming clear to me.
I was totally smitten.
Now, when I close my eyes, I see that day as clearly as if it were a photograph. I don't know what forces were at work that rainy Labor Day weekend that brought each of us to that fishing dock in Gallilee almost 21 years ago, but I shall be forever grateful.
Steve is my Sweet Love, my partner, my biggerst supporter, and my BFF.
Take care til next time. K (aka Mad Beach Maven)