Four Days and A Wake Up

Arron Barringer

I don’t know what it is. Maybe I make bad decisions;well, I guess I know I do but still. Sometimes it feels like I am just a shit magnet. A few weeks ago, my current girlfriend and I came to a thermo-nuclear end. You know, the kind where you write off the majority of your belongings as casualties of war. Yea, it was like that. It’s kind of been like that since Iraq. Lonely. In love. Too much too fast. Break up. Lonely;. Rinse, wash, repeat. It would probably help if I didn’t like my girls to be born around 1986…but oh well. I like to call that an “occupational hazard”.

The call on Wednesday night woke me out of a stupor. Albeit an Irish Whiskey fueled stupor (it’s how we Irish meditate, mind you!) It was like getting the Warning Order about a mission. Suddenly you feel alive, renewed with purpose and vigor. I was running in the mornings, training in the afternoons and really slamming my cardio.

Sunday saw me down in Galveston for my best friend’s little sister’s (So, MY little sister!) birthday. It was a fun time. We had sprinklers and some strange horse-shoe-like game with two balls on a string. I really don’t want to talk about that one too much. Just trust me on that.

I was being pretty introspective. I didn’t really feel like being too social, bit I was still enjoying the vibe of the party. That was when she showed up. Dread washed over me. She was a cute little Irish number wearing a Betty Paige style red and white polka dot one piece and a bandana in her hair. I was doing just fine until she hit me with those eyes. Light green like the sun reflected off the dew on the morning grass.

Forget this. I’m outta here.

I head out along the beach. It’s an overcast, slightly windy day. The water is choppy and warm. The sand feels good so I start to jog along the beach, which is pretty much deserted. I’m working up a good pace. Filling my lungs with some good salty air. And Gulf pollution. Awsome.

I’m pretty far away from the group now. I wade out, chest deep in the gulf. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the ocean. The small waves take me back to Basic Reconnaissance Course, and the countless boat raids I did with Fox 2/1 back in the fall 2000-2001. Countless. I think about steaming towards Kuwait from Hawaii. Inevitably, I think about the Red Cross message that my mother had died and the long trip home followed by a long trip back to my comrades.

I thought about where I come from and the kind of person I wanted to be. Then a spark ignited, and the thought that I could win this fight came into my head. I felt good out on the water, far enough from shore that I could cut land out of my peripheral. I felt focused.

Walking back to shore, filled with energy, I started shadow boxing. Jab, circle left, straight. The shallow water added a really cool element. Kind of like ankle weights. I start working on footwork. Jab step, circle, pivot. Fun. Sprawl! (Splash!) Very cool. It was probably one of the best workouts I could do!

And then I saw them.

My family. My Friends. Watching me. All. Eyes. On. Me.

I look at them, looking at me.

The wind carries their applause to my ears.

I flip them off and continue sprawling. This is what I do! This is work for me!

I stayed at the party for a little bit longer. Had a burger, drank a pint. I love my little sister, and it brought peace for me to be around such groovy people. Oh, and as for the Irish girl…

You like apples?

Well; I got her number. How do you like them apples?

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