He Followed Me In...For years, it had been Jay's dream to be in the Army. A few years ago, he'd gone to a recruiting station near his house, & spoke with a very helpful recruiter there. When he came home that evening, excited to share his news with his family, his mother cried, & his father told him he was making a terrible decision & wouldn't stand for it. Jay's dreams were crushed. He threw all the pamphlets & information he'd gotten in a drawer & never looked at them again. He was hurt, & he steeled himself never to think of the Army again. It just wasn't going to happen for him, or so he thought.
I hadn't ever been serious about the Army. I thought maybe it would be interesting. I talked to the representatives when they set up their booth on career day at my school. I took home a pamphlet, & showed it to my mom. She asked if I was going to join. I said, "Probably not, but they gave me this water bottle." That was it for a while. Then, a postcard in the mail, saying if I sent in my information, they'd send me a tee shirt. So I did. Nothing big. I never thought I'd really go anywhere with it. But it was nice to have some information.
Jay & I met on the internet, & started dating seriously not long after that. We fell madly in love, & moved in together. It was all quite natural. He worked, I went to college. Then I got invited to take the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps class, no service obligation. I thought it would be an interesting class to take, so I signed up. I learned simple things like how to read a map & what the ranks mean... Nothing huge.
Then one day, the teacher (an Army Officer himself) asked if I was going to join the Army. "No, sir, I don't think so," I said, picking up my bag. "Why not? I think you're Officer material, personally." I knew it was his job to try & recruit me, but I took the compliment anyway. "Maybe you should go down to the recruiters," he smiled. "Maybe I will." I smiled back. But I didn't really think I would. Just to be polite, though, I did go to the recruiting office. I stood outside the door. I walked away.
Getting home that night, I asked Jay what he thought of me thinking about the Army. "Don't do it, please," he begged. "I don't want to lose you." I couldn't convince him, no matter what I said, that he wouldn't. He was adamant. So I agreed I wouldn't join the Army. Weeks went by, & I mulled it over more & more. Maybe, I thought to myself, I should just go get some information for Jay, so he won't be so against it; he just doesn't know everything yet.
So, a few days later, I went down to the office & opened the door. A bell chimed, but no one was there. I sat down in the chair next to the coffee table & picked up the magazine that was sitting on the table. The cover story was about the recent increase in Reserve enlistment contracts. Someone poked their head around the corner. "Are you here to talk to a recruiter?" he asked. "Yes," I replied, "I'd like some information. The ROTC commander sent me down."
As we talked, the idea dug deeper & deeper into my head that maybe the Army was where I belonged. Before I knew it, the pen in my hand was flying across the paper. I was enlisting in the Army Reserves that very day. I had to go take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, to see where I placed. Halfway through the exam, it hit me. I had just began my enlistment papers... when Jay had begged me not to. A sweeping fear rolled over me. I finished the test as quickly as I could; I had to call him, but I didn't have my phone in the testing room.
I called him, but he must have been in the back room, because it went straight to voicemail. I didn't know what to say; I hadn't planned that far ahead. But my voice shook as I asked him simply to call me. When I got home, he was there. I said carefully, "You said you didn't want me to join the Army." He looked at me, first with confusion, then shock, then a mixture of pain & anger, "You did it, didn't you?" I began to cry. He broke up with me.
I didn't have anywhere to stay that night. After crying for quite some time by myself in the ba
A few days later, he went down to the recruiting office & spoke with the same recruiter I did. He took the ASVAB, & ended up with exactly the job he wanted. We're now in the Signal Corps together. We have basic training & AIT in the same places, but at different times. Because of him, I've been promoted. & we're going to be together for a long time. So says the ring he put on my finger.