Semi autobiographical, i might expand into a longer project. I appreciate reviews!!
|Johnson was nervous. It had been three years since he had talked to a woman in any serious way. He had come to my room drunk on Friday night, rather beside himself. Some woman he had known for nearly 7 years but hadn't spoken to in almost 3 had reached out. “ I'm out of practice man. I have no idea what to do.” “Well lets see what she said then.”
He'd done a good enough job simply making conversation so far, but it was clear she wanted the conversation to go forward. I followed Johnson to his room and shared a drink and a cigarette with him. A common thing among marines on a Friday night. I coached him as he texted with her, guiding him through what to say. It seemed to work very well. Soon enough they were sharing intimate details.
30 minutes later we were out of cigarettes and beer. We found my roommate sober enough to drive us to the liquor store, and soon we had plenty of both. I kept the conversation with the girl going for Johnson, while he paced and smoked. He alternated between cursing me and singing my praises. We finished the cigarettes in an hour.
Johnson was perhaps one of my best friends in the service. It had been over a month since I'd seen him. He had been out on field operations while I remained in garrison speaking regularly with a therapist over my depression and drinking. It was the first night we had spent hanging out together since he had left. Between the texts I made for my drunken friend I couldn't help realizing how much I missed being with him and the others in my platoon.
When we heard there was to be a brawl with the company in the next barracks over we went and stood with our fellows to posture and bark, but nothing ever came of it other than a few shouted insults and some laughter. Eventually it resolved itself into more drinking, which all Marines enjoy. After another hour or so of this I bid everyone goodnight and excused myself to bed.
It had been another average Friday night.
That weekend I was paid, and being negative since my last check my bank account was a bit light. I still went on two dates that weekend, with two different women. Both were nice enough, and I made love to one, but they were essentially unremarkable. My bank account went negative again.
Monday morning came too early. 5:30am my alarm went off. My roommate had already been up for 5 minutes, slowly preparing for the day. I was dressed with my bed made, Prozac taken and water drank, standing in formation outside by 5:45. Our first sergeant didn't arrive till 6:15. When you spoke to his face or to someone important, he was First Sergeant Yazzie. When you were speaking among friends, he was “first sergeant crater face” or “the diamond” after his rank. He called us to attention and dismissed us. I ran two miles, showered and ate.
This was my routine, and it had not varied much in the two years since I had reached the Marine Corps proper. It would not change for another year, till I had left.
My journey to the Marine Corps began like many other young Americans. I had always known I would join the military. But to many who knew me it came as something of a surprise, or maybe a disappointment. I had gone to an arts school for the last 4 years in a well off area of central Florida. People told me I was an actor through and through. I had been accepted to perfectly good colleges, had good grades and was generally a model student. But I wanted something different from the average track of life that so many young people seem doomed to today. I wanted travel, adventure, and to be assured of my manhood.
The Corps, or at least its image in the popular imagination, promised me all these things. Looking back, that was certainly no accident. My recruiter was honest enough, and nice enough. Within a month I had signed a contract, after a few more all the necessary medical examinations had gone through. After one last check, I was loaded onto a van in the rain, while my family looked on. My mother and sister held each-other and tried not to cry. They failed. My father held his wife and smiled sadly and waved. Once the van was loaded my recruiter stepped up to the door.
“Don't come back unless your Marines”.
Then he slammed it shut, and the driver pulled away.