Back in the Day…

I remember when it was time to go and Janey crying and then my mother starting to cry as well. I remember my father looking at me stoically and telling me, “It’s up to you now boy. Don’t look back and don’t think about us too much. Look out after yourself.” He gave me a hug at the Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard where I was to report with other recruits anyway. (Last of course, after my mom and Janey)547708

The hotel stay was only for one night. No consumption of alcohol because we were going to be taken to Fort Hamilton in the morning for last minute medicals before shipping out but people reeked of alcohol anyway. Male recruits were out roaming the halls hoping for a last fling with female recruits before basic. I was talking to my roommate, John when the phone rang and it was a girl named Michelle (The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) who was recruited from the same Recruiting Station. She wasn’t shipping out tomorrow and was just going to take her initial medical exam. I was thinking to myself what could she want because we were just basically “Hi and bye” and nothing else. She asked if I could come to her room for a minute and gave me her room number. When I went to her room, the lights were off and her roommate and some guy were passed out sleeping in the bed next to her. I said “What’s up, Michelle?” She just told me to sit down on her bed in a giggly way. Yeah, she was a little tipsy. “Give me a foot massage,” she said. I was in a dazed state at this point 547709because I was still scared about leaving home for the first time ever into the world. She had some cute yellow socks on and some pink silk pajamas. I rubbed her feet for about a minute and a half and she said “Higher.” So, me being a regular guy started rubbing her calves. “Higher, recruit.” I’m rubbing her thighs.

She reached up and grabbed me by the back of the neck towards her face. Her teased up, long, curly hair smelled like some really nice flowery girly shampoo and her neck smelled like some expensive perfume. Her lips and tongue were silky like her pajamas. She was just grabbing me everywhere and at that moment, I recalled overhearing talking about some fiance. “We’re all scared.” I said to myself. “It’s okay.” Then she started almost ripping off my clothes. I heard the girl and guy snoring in the bed next to us sounding like a pair of motorcycles and thought, “Fuck it if they’re faking it. There’s no going back now.”

Michelle started to unbuckle my belt and grabbed me. She moaned as I slid my hand down her silky pajama pants and felt her silky part.

It felt like about an hour until I finally entered her. Then, it was all a blur from there.  Shamefully, I was finished in about five minutes. (I was 22 at the time, not a lot of years from puberty) I took a towel and helped her clean up. “You scared, Rich?” She asked softly. “Hell yeah. I’m out of my mind right now. Get some sleep.” She smiled and closed her eyes. I kissed her softly. “I think I’m going to be okay.” She smiled and I left.

I get back to my room and John is on the phone. “Hold on.” He said into the receiver. “Dude, Dave called for you.” Dave was my best friend in those days. “I’ll get off the phone if you want to call him.” I said, “That’s okay, talk. I’ll go downstairs. I’ll see you later.”

I called Dave’s house from the pay phone in the lobby. I told him that I’m scared shitless and I also threw in what happened with Michelle.  ”Dude!” Dave shouted. “I’m taking a cab over to you right now! Don’t go to sleep.” I then said, “What? Dude, I don’t care about sleep. I wouldn’t be able to sleep even if I wanted to.” 

Dave got to the front of the hotel after about ten minutes. I remember it was ten minutes because I smoked 2 cigarettes and then Dave appears. He looked at me and hugged me. ”You crazy fuck! You’re actually doing it! Damn!” I then said, “Let’s pig out one last time.” We walked a block to the now long-gone “Sage Diner.”  sagediner

We’re were so predictable. We ordered the usual cheeseburger deluxes with chocolate milkshakes. It didn’t matter which diner we went to, it was always that or nothing. We were reminiscing over everything, laughing. He must’ve said, “My friend’s leaving me” maybe every other sentence. All our sentences were beginning with “Remember when…” or “How about that time…” We were talking like he haven’t seen each other in years. I remember looking across the room and seeing this really pretty skinny girl about to eat a huge rump roast or something. “Wow. She’s a pig.” Dave said. I answered, “Yeah, but isn’t that the sexiest thing that you ever saw?” Dave then muttered, “Hell yeah.”

By that time it was already almost midnight. “Dude, I’d better leave because you have to get up at 5.” Dave announced. I would’ve asked him to just hang out all night but I didn’t want to prolong the inevitable. We walked to the train station quietly. Before he got down the stairs he hugged me. “You crazy fucker. You’re actually doing it. Dude, write or call me when you can.” I told him that I will and he left. Dave was the best friend that I ever had.

I didn’t sleep for shit. I just stayed in bed and was thinking, maybe too much. Thinking how I got to this point in my life. I got my Associates Degree from Queensborough Community College majoring in Design Drafting and was accepted into NYIT School of Architecture. I couldn’t commit to the all night projects and I was partying too much with Dave and my girlfriend at the time, Jenny. I didn’t have discipline or structure and I felt that the Army could help me with that.

I just rolled out of bed and boarded the bus to Ft. Hamilton. I saw Michelle and she briefly hugged me before sitting next to another girl. I sat next to John. I remembered there was a little chatter on the bus but it was mostly quiet. It was fear of the unknown.  I was just in a daze at Hamilton and just winged it. Then, we shipped out.

  On the plane I was seated next to Jennifer, another Army prospect who was recruited from the same station. I remember holding hands with her for most of the flight because she had a fear of flying. It also helped me because I was scared. She ate only a little of her food and gave me her ice cream.

First thing that we saw when we landed in Missouri was an MP. (Military Police) Well, the first thing I actually saw was his holstered pistol and arm patch. He read off a list and we were who he was looking for. After he walked us into an area of the airport where there were other recruits. “Relax guys. If you need to smoke, do all of that outside of that door because you won’t see another cigarette for awhile.”

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