A Portrait of my Life

October 21, 2008
By Patrick Proctor, Audubon, IA

“Welcome to the military. The government now owns you.” These words still buzz through my head. With a sinister grin and a malicious snicker, I have teased those who enlisted with those very words. Now the tables have turned. In little more than a week, I will join the select few who dedicate their lives to their country. It is amazing how this merry-go-round we call life twirls. As soon as it settles, someone comes to give it another shove.

My life was a loose hinge blowing in the harsh wind. So much was hanging in the balance. I hoped the Navy would be the screw that bound me to the frame of stability. Just over the past year, my life has gone from a ream of paper strewn about to a neatly stacked pile. Like satin clouds bursting a healing rain on a barren land, all the good that’s coming up is refreshing and rejuvenating on my toiled mind.

The future is being paved in front of me, but I must wait for the cement to dry before I can take my next few tentative steps. On the horizon I can see the beauty of the rising sun over my proud future. As a tear rolls down my cheek, pride swells in my heart as the reality of the step I’m taking onto my path with the brick being laid at my toes as I stroll along.
A smile breaches my face as the hefty thoughts of my family flutter into my mind. The road I tread shines with the glowing faces of my pleased clan. Salutes are raised, hands are shaken, and a loving embrace coupled with teary eyes emphasizes the pride they have in me. Soon my eyes too cloud with tears as I continue to march.
Waiting last in the line of congratulations stands the figure of my love. Breaking away from the pack, she comes and takes my hand. A frail brush of her lips against my cheek betrays a million words that could never be written. Her grasp firms on my hand, making it apparent that she intends to walk with me on this path. As we stare out into the sunrise, the calm blue waters of the deep are cut by a naval carrier. Boarding cautiously, our hands separate. Her waving hand fades from view as the boat hauls anchor and shoves off in to the blue abyss. Although my heart heaves, I know I carry hers with me, and she will be awaiting my return.

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