The ride home was quiet and awkward. I remember my dad trying to spark conversation a few times, only for it to die off shortly after. After getting home, my parents continued to guide my future, having already made plans for me…
The college visits came first. I had several phone interviews and we [My parents and I] then flew out to Roswell, NM. I had received a full scholarship to New Mexico Military Institute which was in the Roswell area. NMMI is a 2 year commissioning program for military officers. It speeds the promotion process up considerably by 2 years.
NMMI was not far off from the looks of St. John’s, in Kansas. It had an old fashioned look and was a very large campus. Military plaques and busts littering the otherwise pristine landscaping. When we finished the tour, I could feel the tightness in my chest rising. I couldn’t do this.
I thought about the visit for weeks. One of the requirements to get into the scholarship program was to attend a “Leadership Education Training” camp, prior to the first semester. After a short argument with the my parents, I was off again. This time to Fort Knox, KY.
The military training style reminded me so much of St John’s, that I remember the nightmares coming, almost every night. I would wake up covered in sweat. I was NOT going through this again. We had “live fire exercises” coming up.
I made it to the grenade range and decided to show some buddies something cool. I took one of the grenades, pulled the pin and put my kevlar helmet on top of it. I then quickly ran behind the shelter, for safety. BOOM! We all celebrated how high some of the pieces of the helmet flew. I was escorted away from the range by the military police.
I ended up in front of the commandant of the program and the post general. I explained myself; that it was a bad joke and all just unhealthy frustration. I then expressed my deepest apologies and asked if I could work it off somehow. They agreed. I went on to work maintenance for the last week of the rotation, before heading home.
My parents picked me up at the airport. They were silent the entire ride home. When we finally got to the house, I went straight to my room and packed everything I could fit into my bags. I took a taxi to the bus station early the next morning, to catch a bus to Texas.
The bus ride was one of the scariest times in my life. Nothing was sure anymore. I had disobeyed my parents for the last time and barely averted federal jail time…
I got off the bus and there she was. My sister, Vanna. We cried in each others arms for a good thirty minutes before finally making in to the car with her husband and on the road to a new life.
I have to note this fun fact. The first 2 hours in the car ride were spent talking. Vanna and I went back and forth with stories mostly, but her husband spoke a few times as well. We had to make a pit stop for a few hours.
This would be the stop where I first smoked, Marijuana. My sister got me so blazed I fell asleep and woke back up, high, twice. Meanwhile, in the back room, her husband was literally cooking meth. Good times. We all piled back in the car, with her husband’s merchandise, and headed “home”.
Our destination was a trailer park on a back road loop in Livingston, TX. Vanna and her hubby lived there in a camper. The same camper that I would call home for the next few weeks. I didn’t care. I had discovered weed, my cool sister and, I had money.
After a few weeks with Vanna, I had made a few friends around the loop. One of them, Randy, offered me a room in his house as long as I helped out around the house. We would party hard almost every night. At one of these parties, a local girl Lynn showed up. We flirted for a bit and then we got high and spent the night talking. She invited me to come to church with her the following day. I accepted… but only after we’d had sex the third time.
The church wasn’t like I was used to. Southern Baptists are, animated. Lynn and I attended several times together. I even tutored her sister in vocals for a short time so that she could perform her church solo. Lynn and I would find time to balance church, helping her sister and Mom, while also raising her 3 year old, Dawn.
Dawn was a lovely child. She was very easy to handle, and quite smart. I remember feeding her in the kitchen many times. She was being raised around nine dogs. All of them would poop in the house. It was everywhere! In my opinion, it was not a good place for kids or anything to be raised.
Lynn and I talked of escape as our fiery romance grew ever stronger. I was six months out of high school, when Lynn told me the news. “I’m pregnant”.
I was as shocked as she was. We had known each for twenty-seven days. Well… fuck.
28 Days Later
On the twenty-eighth day of being with Lynn, I asked her to marry me. I wanted to be the parent and support her 100%, as her spouse. Lynn and I talked it over carefully and then we shared the news with our families.
My parents were shocked. They refused to attend any kind of wedding. They even told me to get a paternity test before I made any commitments. That was the first time I really saw my parents as apathetic, selfish creatures.
Lynn’s Mom was irate. She not only kicked Lynn and I out, but banished her and her daughter from her property. We had nowhere to go. We had nothing. I was broke, having spent all my money on drugs, partying and wooing Lynn.