Military academy

Date: 4/10/2019

By MissKate

I find myself at the enlisting office of the military academy. My friend, M, is there because I told her what I was doing and she is joining too. At the enlisting booth, I go through the various things I’m seeking and hear what the army can offer from a bold lady in uniform. I like her. She’s charismatic but also seems to have integrity. However, this lady goes off shift and another recruiter comes in. He’s sleazy as all hell and just as I’m about to sign the form, he starts groping me. I get up, yell, “back off, asshole!” And flee the recruiting desk. In the next room, I see my friend M getting sworn in with a bunch of other recruits. One really shady guy swearing the oath gives me a look that gives me the chills - I leave the building. Afterwards, M comes out. She is really radiant and has a sense of purpose about what she’s doing. I feel guilty. We were going to enlist together. She is surprised I didn’t. When I ask how her husband and kids are going to feel about it, she smiles and blithely says, “it’ll be an adjustment. But I’m excited about this new stage in my life!” As I go back to my civilian life, it quickly dawns on me that I have no job prospects without a degree and I can’t afford a degree without joining the military. I also can’t deal with my life at that current time and so the possibility of “escaping it all” to enlist and get deployed sounds more appealing than ever. I come back, despite my anxiety about facing the groping officer again, and enlist, determined to get strong and get my confidence and self respect back. Shortly after enlisting, basic training begins. I say goodbye to my daughter. I feel sad and guilty even though she is pretty chipper about the whole business. I don’t see my son. I realize now I’m going to have to censor what I write. The military reads everything. I put my large journal away and instead carry a small notebook for the most cursory of notes. I feel concerns that I should tell my parents not to write everything that’s on their mind as the military will read it first before it gets to me. I realize my communications with everyone else are going to have to be more veiled and less frivolous too. At one point, I lose my group. They’ve gone to a lesson in one of the military classrooms. First day and I’m already lost. I wander the hallways, then come out near a train station. All I can see are civilians - but finally I find a restricted entrance - and my classmates. My teacher (the recruitment lady I admired at the beginning) raises an eyebrow to me as if to question where exactly I’d been. I told her, I lost sight of my group. Lesson learned, I wouldn’t let it happen again. I’d stick close to them in future. She seemed satisfied with that explanation.