Wordle 120: What-ifs

The American Flag dances proudly in the wind in front of my building; its form but a shadow in the eerie glow just before daylight breaks.  My nephew is processing into the Army at MEPS today.  By tonight he’ll be at Fort Jackson reception – just another noun amongst hundreds; processing into the person he will be.

I’ll never forget the bus ride in.  The black of night was formidable.  I wanted to see – wanted to know what my temporary home looked like, but I could scarcely make out silhouettes of trees.  Then the bus driver said, “There’s deer.  You must be a good group.  They only come out to welcome the good ones.”  I lost myself in that darkness.  Left behind the things I thought I knew about my spirit and my body in order to become a soldier.  Maybe soldier was an assimilated feint devised to protect me from the consequences of signing my name on that piece of paper.

There was a point where I had to choose.  It was either continue college to become a teacher or lose my college grant money and be a soldier.  At that moment, my future was a cinematic, glistening orb.  I saw myself as a teacher, a mother, a wife.  I could re-enlist and go green to gold after college, when my broken bone was healed, when I was done with school.  Education has always been a codex for life possibilities.  I wasn’t willing to give up my education to be a soldier.  Over time, the soldier in me drifted into dormancy.

Sometimes the “what-ifs” scream loudly in my ear.  Lately, as I despise my job every day before returning to an empty house, I wonder, “What if I chose soldier?  What if I re-enlisted after college?”  Would I have made work the navel of my life… failing to marry and produce a family?  Would I be living somewhere with palm trees, searching for spy intel?  I have to bring myself back… remind myself what-ifs aren’t precious minerals that give the world value.

This morning’s flag and the knowledge of my nephew at MEPS reminded me of celebrating July 4 in basic training.  There was no moment that boasted the power of American patriotism more.  The soldier chapter of my life is closed.  I am unhappy with work, house, life in general.  But I live in America.  I can make choices.  I can change.

There is a Sehnsucht for a different life burning deep within me.  Specifically that desire involves another person.  Today I must act upon my freedom and call him.  I don’t want this situation to be another what-if.  If he says, “No.”  I will survive.  But if he says, “yes,”  the possibilities are endless.

Prompt Here


3 thoughts on “Wordle 120: What-ifs

  1. Powerfully written and introspective piece. I was very touched by it. I replay many scenarios in my head but in the end I think we are always doing the best we can with what we know.

    I really loved this line
    “just another noun amongst hundreds; processing into the person he will be”

    Liked by 1 person

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