If I Were the Last Man Alive
Chapter 22

Copyright© 2014 by Number 7


Though I had prayed all through my adult life that God would send a Christian man into my life, I never expected one who understood my faith walk. But Jamie did!

It was almost more than I could take. It was like God planned this whole thing down to the littlest detail, missing nothing. How like a personal, loving, caring, God!

Until just a few hours ago, I had been suffering from the worst loneliness anyone could ever imagine.

That had ended.

Jamie was real.

He wasn't some kind of delusion. His kindness and attentiveness took my breath away. He made me feel warm and safe.

Jamie started to prepare dinner and I jumped to help him, but he refused.

"Sit there. I'll get this for us," he said. "There is plenty of time for you to help. Tonight you are the guest and I'm the host."

His smile and obvious contentment couldn't be my imagination. We dined on hamburgers and fresh bread and an assortment of munchies. He seemed to appreciate that I liked his cooking. Jamie offered me a Coke. He even had ice! It was delicious. We ate at the counter. As I stood to clean up the table I told him, "You sit and let me do something for you."

He compromised. I washed, he dried and we put everything away in just minutes. Then he announced he was going to check out the generator and engines before he turned in, wished me a good night's rest and said to call him if I needed anything.

He told me he was sleeping in the hammock on the top deck.

If my mother was here, she'd say, "Whatever you do, Lori Ann, do not let this one out of your sight. If you do some little tramp is going to snap him right out from under you. Mark my words."

Thoughts of my parents saddened me as I prepared for bed.

When I slipped into my nightgown, I felt like I was back to being me. Opening my overnight kit and taking out my own soap and shampoo was a special blessing. It was as if God allowed me a second chance to be thankful for all the blessings — not just the obvious ones in my life.

For a few minutes I prayed in thanksgiving and asking Him to keep me in His care as this new life unfolded. Then as I slipped into unconsciousness, my thoughts were of Jamie.

The water and wind rocked me like a mother holding her baby. It was the first time since everyone disappeared that I slept without constant fear. The bed was very comfortable. It had some kind of foam rubber mattress that gave with my body weight, keeping me from getting stiff and sore.

When the morning sun brightened up the room, I turned to look at the battery clock on the wall. It was six AM — too early to start the day. I didn't want to disturb Jamie. He needed rest, too.

Lying there safe and cozy, I considered my situation. If there had been anyone to tell, they would never believe my story. If I'd only had the sense to trust God, the last weeks would have been so much more bearable.

My grandmother used to tell me, "The will of God will never take you where the Love of God cannot protect you." That made more sense now than at any time in my life. If I could approach every day like it was pre-planned by God in my best interest, I would not be afraid. Fear had controlled me for too long, until Jamie found me.

God never intended for me to live in fear. He wanted me to live in victory. And He gave me all I needed, including Jamie, to show me how much He loves me.

God Loves Me! But, does Jamie Love me?

If I live in God's love, accepting His gifts and attempting to follow His will, everything will work out. Even in the hard times, He will see me through. I prayed about the victory God intended us to have and promised myself to talk it over with Jamie later.

I quickly dressed and headed to the kitchen. I found coffee and brewed it, hoping Jamie liked it black, since I couldn't find any creamer. I threw together a quick meal of bacon and powdered eggs complete with the last of that delicious bread.

Jamie appeared as I was putting the finishing touches on breakfast. He was dressed in a pair of light green, double pleated, Savanne slacks and a pink golf shirt. As he neared, I caught a whiff of Old Spice aftershave. My Dad wore Old Spice and it brought back so many sweetly, painful memories.

I pushed sadness aside and complimented Jamie on his outfit, scent and the food supply. He laughed as he took out a can of orange juice concentrate from the freezer and mixed it up.

"Where did that come from," I asked?

His smile, though cute, seemed to hide secrets. "You won't believe how I spent my time before I came to Jacksonville." He laughed. "When you see the things I've stored back at home, you'll think you're dreaming."

If you only knew, I thought. You are already a dream.

I had a history of dreaming about dreamboats and that's exactly how I wound up with a broken heart when Kevin ended our engagement. I never saw it coming when he showed up one day and told me he wanted to see other women. I cried for three days. Then I was relieved that he did this before we got married and started a family.

My mother figured Kevin out almost from the start. When he took off, she let me cry in her arms and listened to my silly blubbering. Not once did she say, "I told you so."

Explaining our breakup to people was humiliating. Most meant well but didn't have the sense to leave me alone until I recovered a little. While the wound was still so fresh, I didn't need friends bringing it up.

It wasn't Kevin; it was marriage I wanted — so much that I lost sight of the person and focused only on the end goal. Kevin did me a favor by being so self-obsessed. We would never have worked out. I wanted to please Kevin. Kevin only wanted someone to please him. It would have been all Kevin, all the time.

Two months passed before I could talk about it without getting mad and tearful. I didn't love him as much as I loved being engaged and being the center of attention for a little while.

While I was planning my wedding, most of my girlfriends pitched in to help. They were as excited as I was. I'd never been the center of anything, and I loved it!

Then one day instead of looking forward to walking down the aisle I was canceling reservations, losing the deposits on the hall and reception, packing my dress away.

It just wasn't fair. Why did I have to be good, old, dependable Lori — everyone's rock? I wanted to be the center of attention, the blushing bride, the woman someone adored.

"Earth to Lori. Earth to Lori. Come in, Lori. Come in."

I laughed and thought of something my little sister used to say. "Space to Base," I called out merrily.

"If you can drag yourself back to planet Earth, we can get this big boat on its way and

make it home to Winter Haven by evening. I don't navigate cars or boats in the dark. There are too many obstacles in the river and way too many cars and trucks along the roads.

"If we get moving pretty soon, we'll be in Sanford by late afternoon. If so, we can go to the Sanford Mall and get the things you need then drive home before dark. Even if we don't find everything you need, we can shop some more tomorrow. One thing we have is lots of time to get settled before storm season."

He looked so serious. I wanted to hug him but knew that was a mistake. Instead, I tidied the kitchen while Jamie checked out the engines and generator before we started out.

The morning was still cool, and the air was clear and clean. Jamie said, "Since all the vehicles and factories stopped running, the air is a lot cleaner, I think. If nothing changes, America will revert to the way it was before anyone discovered it."

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