The ride home with the teen’s parents was quiet and awkward. The proud Father tried to spark conversation a few times, only for it to die off shortly after. After getting home, the teens’ parents continued to attempt to guide their future, having already made plans for them.
The college visits came first. The teen, fresh out of high school, had several phone interviews and then one day their parents flew them all out to Roswell, NM, without any prior warning. The teen had apparently received a full scholarship to New Mexico Military Institute, which was located in the Roswell, New Mexico area. NMMI is a two-year commissioning program for military officers to embark on their journey into the United States Army. It speeds the promotion process up considerably; from four years, to only two.
NMMI was not far off from the looks of the teen’s middle school, back in Kansas. It had an old fashioned feel and was a very large, sprawling campus. Military plaques and busts littering the otherwise pristine landscaping were everywhere the eye looked. When they finished the long tour of the grounds, the teen suddenly felt the tightness in their chest rising. They couldn’t do this… not again.
The rapidly growing teen thought about the visit for weeks after they returned home to Colorado. One of the requirements of the scholarship program was to attend a “Leadership Education Training” camp, in Kentucky of all places, prior to their first semester at NMMI. After a short argument with their parents, the young adult was off to school again.
This time to Fort Knox, KY.
The military training style that was employed at LTC in Fort Knox reminded them so much of the military school horrors that it brought on nightmares for the 18 year old, almost every night. They would wake up covered in sweat and terrified. They absolutely did not want to go through this again; they just weren’t ready yet.
The young adult made it through the first few weeks of training to the final week: Live fire training week. Once the teen had formulated an idea to be removed from LTC, they needed only to wait for this week. So, off to the grenade range they went. The young adult had decided to show some buddies they’ve made something exciting and unforgettable. The new friends were very curious and followed them to the range. They took one of the grenades from the table at the range, walked down range and then pulled the pin, placing the live grenade under their kevlar helmet. They quickly scrambled behind the shelter blast glass, for safety.
Seconds later, BOOM!
The entire squad of peers all celebrated the explosion and made jokes about how high some of the pieces of the helmet flew. The young adult was quickly escorted away from the range by the military police. Now it was time for real trouble. The young trainee’s mind raced, wondering if they would be going to jail, or simply being removed from the program.
They ended up in front of the commandant of the program and the post general himself. This was not good, not good at all. The trainee was given the opportunity to explain themself; so they expressed that it was a bad joke and all just unhealthy frustration. They then expressed their deepest apologies and asked if they could work off the cost of the damages, somehow. The two veteran officers agreed, after a very, very long scolding. So, the young adult went on to work maintenance for the last week of the rotation, before heading home.
The young adults’ parents picked them up at the airport and the car was completely silent for the duration of the ride home. When the family finally got to the house, the young adult wasted no time and went straight to their room to pack everything they could fit into their bags. The very next day, they took a taxi to the bus station early in the morning, before the house had awoken.
It was time to leave the nest. Destination: Texas.