Friday, July 18, 2008

"It was a dark and uncomfortable night...."

Early this morning, I walked past a man sleeping on a bench. The air was hot and humid. And he looked oddly comfortable. And for the briefest of moments, I wanted to curl up on my own bench and sleep the day away....

Once upon a time, I spent the night on a picnic table. Not on the tabletop. On the bench. And while the day had been steamy, with nightfall came the cold. But I was too focused on balancing my slippery sleeping bag on the narrow slab of wood to curl up in a ball or find a greater source of heat.

I couldn't sleep. I think I was in New Brunswick. Maybe Quebec. I'm not sure. There was a concrete building behind us, a hub for truckers in need of a shower. So as I lay there, staring up at a black sky, I determined that this would be a great location to be murdered.

Off the highway. A truck stop. Picnic table. Midnight. A 17-year-old missionary was smothered to death by her own sleeping bag. No one heard her scream.

As I lay there, I noticed a moving shadow. A hooded figure slowly circling the few of us who thought that waking up under a blanket of dew would be more exciting than sleeping in vehicles. Around and around he went, watching us. At least, I think he was watching us. If I were to be murdered, he would be the one to do it.

Realizing that my fate was officially out of my hands, I fell asleep. Awkwardly. Only half on the bench. Almost frozen.

As the sun woke me, I noticed that I wasn't dead. Not even bleeding. And at breakfast, upon recounting my dramatic tale of the menacing stranger, I was sheepishly interrupted by the young man eating cereal beside me.

"I couldn't sleep last night. So I thought I'd walk around and make sure you girls were okay."

My villain was actually my hero.

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