Cinfulcinnamon's Blog

Falling in Love in Basic Training ~part 2

Posted on: January 29, 2010

     We were down to the last two days of Basic Training. We had learned valuable history lessons about our country that would stay with all of us for the rest of our lives. We’d learned about taking a group of women from all over the country, from diverse neighborhoods and towns. Girls from the cities and country. Different religious backgrounds and beliefs. And we had been molded into a team. We worked together on academic exercises. The brainier girls helped us not so bright and the more athletic girls pulled the geeks through our physical training. There had only been a couple of minor spats in the time that we’d been together. This proved to me that women are a more cohesive and compatible group entity then men are. Come to think of it….aren’t it men that start all the wars anyhow? LOL

     We were a sharp bunch of women . Competing with our sister flight for the honor of  Top Flight for  honors at Graduation. Everyone had filled out their “dream sheet” for orders on where we would be going. I had come into the Air Force with a guaranteed job. A lot of the girls had not. And they would find out where they would being going the next day. Sandy didn’t know where she would be going, and I of  course prayed that it would be where I was going.

     We had only two physical tests left before we graduated. The mile and a half timed run, and the obstacle course. The run we were to do today, and the obstacle course early the next morning. It can get very hot in Texas, and so the instructors had split up the two tests for early morning. We were all convinced that it was also to drag out the punishment…We all marched out to the track and started our run. I kept my eye on Sandy, making sure that if she wasn’t keeping up that maybe I would get the chance to go back and give her some encouragement. It had seemed to me that in the last week or so she had started to warm to me. Now, if I accidentally stepped on the back of her shoe, she would laugh and call me an asshole. That’s an improvement in my book. Nothing was worse than the silent treatment. She had helped me with shining my shoes once or twice. She was really good at that, and I was able to help her making her bunk, something I was good at. She had confided to me that she was really worried about the obstacle course. She had trouble with one of the obstacles that involved water.  I had been thinking and thinking about how I could not only help her with that obstacle, but score some points with her. And I thought I had a way. But first, we had to all make it through though the mile and a half run. All the girls seemed to be doing well. The faster, stronger girls were running with and pacing the slower girls. You could feel the camaraderie with this group. I’m pretty sure that in Basic Training was when I decided that I wanted to always be part of a team of some kind. People that all thought alike about core issues, but had their own unique and different ways of thinking about other things. People that you could count on in a crisis or when a job needed to get done. People that you could trust. I haven’t always been lucky to find the right group to work with, but at least I have always tried to be a team player myself. Back to our story……………

     By the time the run was over we were all ready for the showers. The rest of the day would be spent cleaning our dorm, packing, and starting to say our goodbyes. I noticed that Sandy was really quiet the rest of the day. I asked her a couple of times if she was ok, and she only nodded. It hurt my heart to see her sad. She was the most bubbly person that I’d ever met. In fact, until I met her, I’d always hated that term…bubbly.  After dinner and a briefing from the drill instructors, who promised that we really needed to pass the obstacle course or we would be “held back” from graduation. No one wanted that. We wanted to stay with our flight and get the hell out of there, not have to stay with another flight that had started after we did and graduate with them. The talk that night was about how to get through the obstacle course and on to the parade field, win Top Flight and then graduate. Some girls folks had come into town and were staying at local hotels so that they could see us graduate in the afternoon. Mine couldn’t make it, but I had talked to them on the phone and they had wished me well. I had seen Sandy talking to her folks as well, and seen her crying a little. I only could assume she was talking to them about the obstacle course. I told myself that whatever I had to do to get her through that damn thing, I would. And if she failed it, I would fail it so that I could stay with her. Even now, I look back at that thought and smile. I know I would have done it. And thinking on it today, I still would have done it. But for now, all we could all do was get some sleep and hope tomorrow was good for us all.

     The bright Texas sun came up the next morning and we could all tell it was going to be a hot one. Fortunately they hadn’t forecasted it to be unbearably hot. If there had been a red flag on the flagpole, no one would have been allowed out of doors that day, and we would have been stuck there an extra day.  After an earlier than usual light breakfast, we were all marched to the obstacle field. If you seen any movies that have shown these things, you know they are pretty basic. Truck tires to jump through, a wall with a rope over the top to climb, another climbing obstacle with the rope rungs, that kind of stuff.  This exercise was also timed. Just like the run.  And you had to complete all the obstacles correctly and get to the end of the course before they blew the whistle. I hung back when they shot off the starting gun. This was so I could help some of the girls that had asked me to hang with them, and so I could be behind Sandy if she needed my help.

     One by one we all got through the obstacles. We had settled down and at some point it began to be fun. We were all yelling and laughing. Screaming encouragement to each other, calling each other obscene names in a joking way to get us moving along. Somehow, Sandy had breezed ahead of most of us, and I could no longer see her. I had a feeling that she was trying to get as much done as possible so that when she got to the water obstacle, she’d have more time to get through it.  I was right. As I rounded a curve in the course, past a group of trees and down the hill to the man-made creek, I saw her standing on the edge of the water. I’m sure you have seen this obstacle before. There are two ropes strung across the water. The bottom one is about three feet above the water and the other one is about five feet above the lower one. You stand on the bottom one, and hold on to the top rope and slide your feet along the lower rope until you are across the water below you. It gets tricky if there is more than one person on the ropes at a time. But we couldn’t be too slow about this obstacle. There were a lot of girls that needed to get over the water and we were running out of time. I hurried the girls that I was running with to get over there. Sandy and I were the last ones to get through it. Everyone else was standing on the other side of the creek cheering for us.  I got on first. I thought I could steady the rope for her so that it wouldn’t shake too much. Much easier to say than do. She was almost in tears at this point, but she grabbed the top rope and then stepped on the lower one.  The look in her eyes went from fear to anger when I moved the rope accidentally and her feet flew off the bottom rope and she was left to hang there for a few seconds until I could get it steadied again. I was out of my mind trying to get us both over that creek. It was only about twenty-five feet, but I swear it seemed like a football field. Slowly we slid our feet across. At this point the drill instructors had come down to see what was taking so long, and where all the flight was. They too started yelling and cheering us on. Finally, we made it across.  I stepped off the bottom rope and held on to the top one until I was sure that Sandy could get off the rope and not fall.  Then it was up the hill and over the finish line for all of us. We all fell down laughing and yelling. We’d all made it in the time allowed. All that was left was to march back to the dorm and clean up, have our lunch, a few more lectures and then spend the rest of the night packing and getting our uniforms pressed and ready for graduation.  As we all lined up to march back, Sandy caught my eye and whispered, “Thank you for the help”. I could have died right there. Happy and content. Finally. A break through with this woman.

     When we arrived back at the dorm, there was a nasty surprise for us. The electric was out in dorm. Don’t know exactly what had caused the failure, but it wasn’t going to stay cool in the dorm for long. The drill instructors told us to hit the showers, get dressed and we would go to lunch. Hopefully the problem would fix itself by the time we were back.

     It hadn’t. And it was getting hotter as the day wore on. Our joyous mood turned to grumpiness. We were told to open the windows in our common room and try to stay cool. We were allowed to use the showers to cool off, but that didn’t help much.  Evening came, still no electric. We had all gotten our uniforms ready for the next day, had marched to the chow hall for dinner, come back to the dorm, finished our packing and were now just sitting around. Hot and irritable; even the best of friends were snapping at each other. Ssgt Crawford our drill instructor came in before lights out (although there were no lights then) and told everyone to take one more shower and try to get some sleep. Everyone turned in but there wasn’t going to be much sleep for anyone with the heat. Everyone just kind of tossed and turned until they fell asleep.

     I woke up to the soft sound of the showers running. A thunderstorm had rolled in and there was a little bit of lightning. I wondered who could be in the showers at this time of the night. We were not allowed to leave our bunks after lights out, so whoever it was might be taking a chance that they didn’t need to. Now, because of the sound of the water, I had to use the restroom, so I creeped into the restroom/shower area.

     As I came out of the bathroom stall, I looked around the wall to the gang shower area. There was a window above the shower area that was letting in the moonlight.  Under the shower head I saw Sandy standing there. She quite nearly took my breath away. Here was the woman who had caused me so much grief and anxiety, the girl who I had apologized to a thousand times for stepping on her, saying something dumb to, or messing up something that she had tried to do…by trying to help. She looked so absolutely beautiful that all I could think was, “she makes  my teeth hurt”. That was so dumb it brought be back to reality. She hadn’t seen me yet and was just rinsing shampoo out of her hair. As the suds ran over her wet glistening body, I knew that I just had to kiss her. I didn’t care what would happen if we got caught. At that moment I would have sold my soul just to taste her lips. I slipped out of my clothes and headed to her. As I slipped my arms around her waist, she turned to face me. “I wondered if you were just going to stand there, or if you were going to come in,” she said. I captured her face in my hands and kissed her, half expecting to get slapped. But she didn’t. She pulled me to her and as the lightning flashed, I kissed her again. I could hear the water roaring in my ears, or maybe that was the sound of the blood from my heart rushing, I don’t know. But it didn’t take long for us to slip to the floor and start exploring each other’s wet bodies.

     Some time later….you didn’t think I’d go into tooooo much detail did you? LOL….. we went back to our bunks. And fell asleep holding hands across the space between our beds.

     The next day, we all woke up to electricity. And air conditioning.  I don’t remember much of Graduation Day. It was a blur. Sandy and I kept exchanging looks.  We sat together and waited for word about orders for technical school. When it was all said and done, she ended up getting orders to the same school that I was going to. We were thrilled.  We all left late in the evening on buses either to the air port, or to the technical schools that might be in the Texas area. Sandy and I sat on the bus together and talked for hours quietly. We made plans to be together. It felt so natural to say the things to each other that we did. She had been blind to how I felt all those weeks, but knew that she wanted to avoid me because she was feeling the same way.

     We arrived at our technical school, did our time there, actually had a room together. We dated guys to keep up appearances, and slept with some of them too. But we knew it would always be she and I that had the relationship. We put in for, and received orders to our first duty assignment together. And got an apartment together off base as soon as we could. And life was good.

     I wish I could tell you that we broke up. That one or the other of us wanted to see someone else. That we grew tired of each other. Or that the stress of maintaining a secret relationship in the service was too much and we parted ways. That would be so much better than the truth. What really happened was that we were really and truly in love. Our minds and bodies were so in sync with each other that neither of us could imagine not being together forever. But that wasn’t to be the case. One day, during a routine inspection of an aircraft, the details of which I do not talk about, Sandy was killed. Right in front of my eyes. The sight caused me to pass out from what I was told. By the time everything was taken care of and investigated, they had already shipped Sandy’s body home. I wasn’t able to go to the funeral. I never got to say good-bye to her. Her parents never spoke to me about our relationship and I have never been to her grave.

     But, the relationship that I had with her was one of the most important, and deep of my life. And for that I am thankful.

peace

Cinnamon

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2 Responses to "Falling in Love in Basic Training ~part 2"

Men DO start wars. BUT it is always over/for a woman.

You won’t get any argument from me on that !!! LOL

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Goofy Me

I am: an Air Force vet, Mom, sister, friend, Lifestyler, and all-around smartass with a heart of gold. I have lived all over the far East and learned many things about people and cooking, art and true value. I like to share my experience with the rest of the world. I will be the most loyal friend or most annoying enemy you've ever known. Honest to a fault. My life has not always been easy, but it has never ever been boring.

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