Fawn-grassIt escapes me already how I found this post on one of the most thrilling years of my young life.  It was also the precursor to what would be perhaps the most agonizing year I’ve lived to date, one that crushed my spirit and changed the very person I thought I was.

In 1989 I was stationed in Germany, a proud member of the United States Air Force.  I had arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base in April of 1987 to fulfill my duty as an Inventory Management Specialist in the 52nd Supply Squadron, one of larger organizations of personnel on the base.  I had already been reprimanded for misuse of alcohol before I arrived at this, my first permanent duty station, and was ordered to appear before the squadron commander in regards to this matter before even orienting to my work area.  I was to complete an alcohol education program and obtain a psychiatric evaluation.  I attended the alcohol program in the mornings and settled into my work area in the afternoons.  I met a handsome aircraft mechanic and we spent every night drinking together.  The facilitator of the alcohol program took us to the base gym every morning to play basketball, I suspected to work us up to a sweat so that he could tell if we’d been drinking the night prior.  I would keep my activity to a minimum; besides, I never was any good at basketball, although previous to those mornings I had tried when put into a court situation.  On “Ski’s” court, I fumbled and played the giggly, inept female.  Ski took a liking to me.  I played the game, just not in the gym.  In the classroom I actively participated in discussion, impressed him with my command of spoken and written word and dazzled him with wit and charm.  I breezed through the program.  It was set to go off without a hitch.  The classes were finished, I had said my goodbyes to my classmates and to Ski.  It was said and done save for the signing of documents.  Friends and I were in the dorms on the night my last class took place.  I was drinking vodka poured into a bottle of grapefruit juice, mixed powerfully.  I was never one to buzz slowly; get me there quickly, don’t make me wait.  There was a girl who lived on our floor who I found contemptible.  She would whisper sweet nothings on the phone to her stateside boyfriend, then make her way to the second floor to the bedroom of one of the airmen from our squadron.  I was repulsed by her.  In retrospect, what I found disgusting about her was likely a mirror of something in myself that I did not want to see.  This girl, whose name I have long forgotten, would hold on her lap a plush deer while she spoke on the phone to that stateside sweetheart, one of a very costly variety sold at our local base exchange.  This particular brand of plush animal was quite lifelike in appearance and, I believe, given to her by the boy who she was sleeping with on the second floor.  She kept it on her bed, and when it sat there curled up atop her smooth blankets it almost looked real.  That night she must have been with the boy downstairs, but her roommate, who was partying upstairs with us, left the door to the room open.  I walked by the room and saw the deer curled up on the bed, twinkling eyes gazing over the bedspread.  I held the half-gone bottle of vodka and grapefruit in my hand, woozy from drink.  This was not a judgment call, it was a rush to action.  I entered the room and took the deer from the bed, placing my drink on the floor.  Grasping the deer under one arm I pulled on one eye.  It was affixed quite well.  It would not budge.  I took the eye in my teeth and pulled, meeting too much resistance for a mere tug to dislodge the plastic sphere.  With the body of the toy in both hands and one eye between my teeth I rotated the body of the deer around, counter-clockwise, until the eye came out of its dense fabric housing.  I did the same with the other sparkling orb and placed the deer back on the bed, exiting the room with what were now just two shiny pieces of brown acrylic in hand.  Here is where I look back and ask myself:  Why did I not just take the deer?  I truly suffer from a disease of the perception when my mind tells me to take just a piece or two of her treasured object and not the entire item.  My twisted thinking told me that she would suffer more to see her beloved plushie disfigured than to see it gone entirely.

I will continue this story tomorrow…


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