A Love Story — Part 1

August- September 1997

I got back from basic training at the end of August, just in time to start my senior year of high school. I had met and started dating ‘Jerk-boy’ before we both had left for basic training. Jerk Boy and I were both starting our senior years, and we were both 18. I was fairly happy with the way everything was going. Jerk-boy was my first boyfriend. I was basking in the glow of being in a relationship. This glow is wonderful, but it can also be dangerous. Jerk-boy lived in a town 3 hours away from mine, so we had a relationship over the phone. I was giving a lot of my waitressing money to MCI calling cards. Jason had just returned from active duty. He was going to finish up his second enlistment in the guard, while going to school at the local university. He was 25, and was dating a girl from his high school years, her name was ‘IT’. He had dated her on and off all through his Army years. He would come home on leave and they would start dating. He would leave, and she would break up with him. When he came home to stay, they thought that would try it again. My first drill wasn’t until September, and that was the first time Jason and I met. Drill was in the city Jason lived in, and I had to drive 2 hours to get there. I was very nervous about going to drill that first time. I was new, and didn’t know what to expect. I was scared to be in such a big town by myself. Would I get lost? Would my little beater car make it? Would I fit in? Would I know what to do? When I got to the base I had to register my car. The person in that building was quite short with me so that only made me more nervous. He pointed me in the general direction of the building I needed to go. I drove around for a bit until I found the building. For such a small base, nerves can wreck havoc on your sense of direction! The secretary was friendly enough and she helped me get settled in my room. Well in a large barracks. With cement floors and metal bunk beds. I was perfectly fine with staying there, only I assumed there would be others there with me. There was not. I was in a huge, cold, and deserted barracks alone. This did not help my nerves. At all. But I bucked up and I got dressed in my BDU’s and made my way to the drill hall. I met our platoon sergeant, and was issued all of my gear. This took forever. Sgt. G. took my on a very vague tour of what I needed to know. While I was standing in the drill hall waiting to follow Sgt. G. to wherever he planned on going, I was standing there trying not to look bored. I saw this guy come into the hall. He was carrying a Maverick coffee cup, and he was walking straight towards us, with such a confident stride. It appeared as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He was the first one to acknowledge my presence. I knew I was going to get along with him right away. He was funny and lively. Not stuffy and grumpy like the other men in the platoon. I was the only girl, besides the 40+ year old woman, who I quickly realized why she had the nickname of Mom. We talked effortlessly. It was like we had known each other for awhile. There was something about him that I couldn’t  quite figure out……………

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