| Sitting on the bench, kissing, I was rather surprised when a fist suddenly struck my face. Up until then it had been a great date. At the time, we were stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia, and met when Jennifer transferred into my unit two days before.
Jennifer had fiery red hair, green eyes, a slim frame and a heavenly smile. She was a few years younger than I but I couldn't resist and suggested we Irish people go out for Saint Patrick's day. She accepted.
Our first obstacle was our handicaps. I was recovering from a knee injury in basic training and she was on crutches from spraining her ankle while jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Adding to the obstacle was our limited choice of options considering we had to stay on post and neither of us had transportation. We decided to bowl.
At the bowling alley we had a few beers and even more laughs as we cripples tried to actually hit some pins. On the slow hobble home we stopped to rest on a dark bench with only starlight to see by as it was a moonless night. Personally, I couldn't believe how well things were going and at just the perfect moment we kissed briefly and our eyes met before a more passionate embrace began.
Suddenly she pulled away and punched me in the face. Cold water couldn't have been more shocking so I was more surprised than bruised. I leaned further away from her just as she began pummeling me. I was dumbstruck and this delayed any reaction on my part. Finally, I grabbed both her arms and held on while she struggled. When she ceased jerking her arms away her eyes met mine and she began sobbing while leaning back into me.
Utter confusion took over and I did the only thing I could think of which was to hold her close while her body heaved and her tears flowed. Finally it subsided.
I asked her what was going on and she looked away before explaining that two weeks before, still in her last unit, she had been raped by another soldier. I listened, with horror, to her retelling of the incident and comforted her before we finally returned to our barracks with no thought of further embraces.
The next day I spoke with our Sergeant who arranged for her to get the help she needed and we remained friends. To this day I've never had a more memorable date with less romance in the memory.