We hadn’t gone far up the bayou, when Roscoe pulled up in front of the small local store and gas pumps asking me if I wanted something to drink. Never one to drink much but coffee in the morning, but not wanting to hurt his feelings, I said sure–anything. Quick as a flash, he was back with a glass bottle in a sack. It was a bottle of wine. Guess he figured after seven days on the job, I would want a drink, like any other oilfield hand getting off his seven-day hitch.
I had to smile at the thoughtfulness and secretly laugh at his choice—Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, which resurrected mental images of taboo high school drinking after football games. Strawberry Hill was what kids drank who didn’t know any better, but not wanting to embarrass him or myself, I took a swig offered from the paper-shrouded bottle. I later learned there wasn’t much choice in that little store except cheap wine and beer—and no thanks on the beer.
The wine warmed my empty stomach and then went through my veins straight to my head. Surely this nice guy isn’t trying to get me drunk, I thought as we sipped our way to Thibodaux. When we pulled up to my two-story townhouse, not wanting to seem unsure of myself, I asked him if he’d like to see the place. Am I breaking my own rule about not dating someone I work with?
Little did I know how impressed he would be that a young woman could be so independent and have such a nice place. I played it down, explaining that I had a roommate who shared the expenses. She was a deck hand on one of the boats at the previous dock where I had worked, and she was aspiring to be a captain one day. (I’m wondering now, if she ever achieved that goal?) He commented that he had seen her before when his boat made a couple runs for the other dock.
Other than the decor and my roommate, there wasn’t much else to talk about. It’s strange how we could talk for hours at the dock while I was working, but the silence and seclusion of my townhouse came with a case of the cat getting both our tongues. During those talks, we had become very close and were quite comfortable in each other’s company as a result.
I asked him if he wanted to watch TV, and as I turned to him, he answered me with the manliest kiss I think I’d ever experienced. He was, after all, six years older than I. Uh oh. I’m breaking my rule, I thought briefly. Sparks flew, and Mr. Boone erased all sense of propriety as I cast care to the wind, not fighting the passion that flowed between us.
“A million bucks! You make me feel like a million bucks!” he repeated, as I gazed out the naked window over his shoulder. A lone squirrel sat on a branch looking in at us. Feeling giddy, I pointed and exclaimed,
“Oh no! My parents sent a spy to check on me!” The look of panic on his face made me laugh, until he turned to look where I was pointing.
“You are one crazy chick!” he let out as relief wiped away the panic, followed by our conjoined laughter.
That was the beginning of the secret relationship between us, because I made him promise he would not tell anyone we were dating. There was no way I wanted any of those “hard legs” back at the dock speculating about us, which turned out to be a short-lived promise.
Secrets like that are hard to keep, and before long, all the men knew Roscoe had staked his claim on the new chick in the office. The Captain and The Dispatcher were embarking on a new journey for the both of them.