Why did... ?
The house seemed always to be full. Carrie usually had Jessie and Monica over, sometimes Veronica. Ronnie we all called her.
Dad had a poker night or something going on when he was home. Mom could talk and talk all night is people were around. On Friday night we had a BBQ or spent the afternoon on Saturday having a backyard picnic. No one had a lot of money but we never needed anything to have a good time.
Carrie was my sister, my twin sister. They say that twins are often much alike. Say a sentence and the other can complete it. That must be somebody else. Carrie and I could not have been more different if we were from other worlds. She was the smart one. She had friends, could laugh, play and otherwise have a good time.
I, on the other hand, was the dull, quiet and dopey one. If it were not for her friends always being over my sum total of people I knew would consist on those in school. I was always sick or hiding somewhere reading a book.
Things started to change a bit as we both got older. We were twins, in case I forgot to tell you. Yep, things changed, at least for her. Me too I guess because boys started to come over. They came to see her, to be with her to show off to her. Ronnie and Monica stopped coming over when the boys kept ignoring them. Jessie stuck around. Carrie's overflow of boys, later young men, went to her.
Was I jealous? Hard to say for certain. I did know that some of her new friends, and by default those she 'lent' to Jesse I did not like. What's a brother to do?
Remember that I said we were not close. Carrie and I weren't. The object of my attention. my fascination, dreams. lust, desires and imagination was, you guessed it; Jessie. She never knew it, I never told her. The years through high school seemed to make all of us no longer as close as we once were.
When we were through, the biggest change in my life, at least until then.
Carrie went away to College. Jessie followed, at least for a while. Ronnie and Monica, as I said had stopped coming around. Even Mom and Dad now that I was no longer in school, never seemed to be around much. There were no more poker nights for Dad. Mom always went out with the girls. BBQ or a Saturday picnic were things to be remembered, like childhood. I was by myself.
Carrie would call or write once in a while. If I got to the phone with her, I would ask about Jessie. It seemed she always had to go then or speak with Mom or Dad. She never told me about Jessie.
I did hear Mom on the phone that next month talking to someone. The words, 'party girls', 'that poor thing', 'I hope she doesn't get hurt' or the most often stated, 'Frat Men are like that, you know?' She never said she was talking about Jessie or Carrie.
That summer I got a short glimpse of Jessie, she had gotten a ride and was going inside her house. I figured I would let her rest up and visit the next day. We had a lot to catch up on. I needed to tell her how I felt about her.
The next day came. I finally did go over, after working up more courage than I thought I had in me. I rang the bell and stood there with some flowers I had picked for her, in my hand. Her Mom answered the door.
I guess her words could have been worse. Not sure at that time what they might be, I know now some likely candidates. "Jessica no longer lives here Robbie. I don't know where she is but she said she was getting married and left last night. Thankfully, she has changed Robbie and if, as a mother thinks, those flowers were for her, count yourself lucky. She has turned into quite a tramp."
Stunned I just stood there as she closed the front door. To say my heart was broken was incorrect. We had never been anything but friends. Hell, now, I'm not even sure she considered me that even. My thought turned to Carrie. She had not come home with Jessie, nor had Mom or Dad said much about her for several weeks.
I rang the bell again. A red-eyed Bonnie, her Mom, appeared at the door again. "These are for you. Thank you very much for telling me the truth and I am very sorry."
I guess they were like peas in a pod, what one did, the other tried to outdo. My bleary eyed Mom told me that Carrie would not be coming back. Both girls had failed their classes, Hell, neither one had even bothered to take the final exams.
I had said earlier that Jessie had not broken my heart, since we never had a relationship. Carrie and I did, she was my sister, my twin, she was my family and had not even bothered to even tell me if she need help. Between the two they had taken something away from me. They had, together ripped away my soul. There were only a few options for a 18 year old guy with a High School education. Uncle Sam. I talked to Mom and Dad. Amazed at the positive response I started selecting my new career.
Remember me saying there were few choices available to a 18 year old male with only a High School 'Edumacation'? Well either I went to sea, became a rifleman or joined the few, the Proud and the Brave in the Infantry. Yep, those snazzy uniforms looked good.
The Marines told me about all the things I might be able to do after "Boot" and a few tests. I was 'Gung Ho'. Recruiters never lie, they just don't tell you the whole truth. Actually I didn't care. For 2 years unless I was killed, critically injured, 'MIA' or 'AWOL' they would make a man out of me. That part was true. I needed to be a man.
"Camp XXXX" was pretty much like the place by the lake we sometimes went to; except for the snakes, spiders, swamp and a dozen other un-named critters. 72 pounds did not sound too bad, neither did 20 miles. Somebody forgot the heat, uniforms and hills around that made even one mile something a new recruit would always remember. I began to wonder if our DI's also trained those Foreign Legion guys, you know the ones with no hope. Our DI's were sure good at their jobs. Well we never could do 20 miles that first day, nor the second or third.
We were to learn however, that this was just to get us in-shape for that wonder of wonders, the obstacle course. Telling that something called PT at 05:00 or sometimes 05:30 if we behaved ourselves, would help get us ready for when we needed to do, Joy upon Joy; timed. If our times were good we would not have to be 're-edumacated' as our Mississippi born DI smiled a toothless grin on his face.
We were all so happy, we had songs to sing, rocks to relocate then move back and that wonderful game called push ups. We got something called 'liberty'. A ride to town on a 2 1/4 and told 01:00 came fast on a Friday night. Little did we know were we all would be at 01:00, nor that everybody expected, no hoped for us to not be back. There was some unwritten thing in the Marines, maybe it was that 'make you a man' thing but the first time you stood toe to toe, your buddies on the side or watching your back, you joined a new family. It did not matter who you fought, or if you won or lost(Better if you win, you got a free beer).
The bar must have been owned by the Marines, because by 05:30 the next morning we were out of jail, all on our way back, minus 1 weeks pay and whatever we had left on us.
You tend to have a different feeling about your 'brothers' from then on. (Actually that first shot or seeing your buddy hit or killed was what did it.) I did remember, what's her name, you know, my sister.
21 months, 17 days and 11 hours, 6 kills and 2 small bullet holes later I was on my way home. I was thanking anyone and everyone. I was glad to be alive. I will say this, I was not the same dope, nerd or wimp that I was 2 years ago. I was a new better, dope, nerd and more of a man now. Tell that to Mom and Dad.
In over two years there had been no word of Carrie or Jessie. Nada, as my 'brothers' at 29 Stumps would say. Mom and Dad had some news for me though. Not what I wanted to hear until I thought about it. They were getting (a Drum Roll), the Big D. Yep, going their own way. They were leaving me the house. It was almost paid for and my active reserve money would see me though. I would even try going to College, in town of course, at the Community College. I knew Mom and Dad had been drifting apart. Hell how many times a week can you 'Go out with the girls'? The town was not that big and people talked. I just nodded my head, kissed Mom, shook Dad's hand and asked which was my room now. I was not surprised when they both left to go to other places. I hoped they would be happy.
I did go to school. Just 1 class, a 3 hour one, to get back to that way of life. It was a summer course and I was still up at 05:00 or 05:30 some days. Old habits are hard to break. School was M-W-F from 9:45 to 11:00. One day I took an early lunch there and read the paper looking for a job. I thought the SOS or powdered eggs in Camp were bad. School had it beat. I think if they had beat it until it was dead, it would have tasted better. It was then I had a turning point in my life, I met Jennie. Well, did not really meet her, but my keen situational awareness my recent training had taught me told me to at least smile at this fox.
Those 2 years all over did teach me something, something I was glad I remembered. 'Don't assume things are as they seem' and 'Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!' I did both. She brought back memories of Jessie. I found myself falling all over her, and myself. Looking back I'm sure she got a big laugh from my antics.
Yes Sir Re Robbie, I sure did make an ass of myself over her. I ran over to her room one day to surprise her with some good news. My Reserve monies were being increased, and extended if I served 4 years in active status, if 6, I would be promoted.
.... There is more of this story ...