On March 11th, 1983, I got a chance to act on the promise I made.
I found myself awoken in the middle of the night by someone knocking on the front door. I walked over to the door, mumbling in aggravation.
�Hold your damn horses!� I yelled. �I�m coming! I�m coming!� slid the front door open. An eighteen-year-old boy stood in the rain looking in. He looked like a high school senior student. His black-brown hair had been neatly cut. The boy still had on his school uniform. In his arms, he held what looked like a little ten-day old baby. The boy kept his coat over her just to keep her dry. I looked at him with tired eyes.
�What do you want?� I half-mumbled to the boy.
�Please sir!� the early-bird guest pleaded. �My daughter and I need a place to stay for the night! Can you put us up?� I stared blankly at the boy, then to the baby. She looked so little and cute with her pink cheeks. The baby slept peacefully, wrapped up in her little yellow blanket. Just seeing her stirred something in my frozen heart.
The boy became desperate. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a fist-full of yen.
�Here,� he said. �I�ve got the money!� I looked on silently and kept my eyes on the baby. I felt great pity for her. I held up my hand up to the boy.
�Keep your money,� I said. �You can stay as long as you want.� The young man looked at me with big, happy eyes. He bowed.
�Thank you, sir!� the boy said. I moved aside and let him into my house.
March 12th, 1983.
I showed this young man around my quiet village the next morning. The eighteen-year-old held his eleven-day old daughter close to his chest the whole time as the baby slept on. I had many questions about my new guest. What�s a high school boy doing here with a baby? He seemed like a teenage runaway. I wanted to ask, but decided not to.
He�ll talk when he�s ready. The boy and his baby stayed silent the whole time. He observed everything. At the end of the tour, we came back to my house. I turned to the boy.
�So,� I started. �What do you think?� The boy thought for a moment.
�No one comes looking for anyone here?� he asked.
�Nope,� I answered. �The police don�t even bother us here.� The boy raised an eyebrow at me.
�So you house criminals here?� he asked.
�No, no,� I said. �Rarely any persons your age or younger come here.�
�Why is that?� the boy asked, holding his daughter closer to him.
�Hard to find. Only when found by chance do we old timers get any young people here,� I said, to try and ease his mind. This boy nodded some.
�And this is all on consummated ground?�
�Yes, the main priest has blessed this village himself,� I summed up. The boy began to smile.
�Great,� he said. �We�ll stay.� Oh, you have no idea how happy that made me.