M.I.C.: And So It Begins.

7:00 AM

When the time came for Clark to leave for bootcamp, it was a bit surreal. The recruiter came and picked Clark up from our house, since Clark wasn't allowed to drive and it would have been rather a mess if I tried to take him. I'm sure there was more protocol to it than that, but I really don't remember.

I told Clark to text and call me as much as possible before they took his phone away. I told him to be smart, stay ahead of the game, and remember what was important. I told him not to let them brainwash him.... because that's what worried me the most.

Just like that, with a kiss and a hug, he was gone.

As I watched the car drive away, I burst into tears. I know, I know. It's not like he was deploying, but that's what it felt like to me. This was going to be the first span of time I had been away from him. It wasn't like I was going to Germany to visit my family and would see him in two weeks. He was going away, I was to receive letters, and that was it. I would see him at the end of June (basically July).

I moped around the house. I wasn't sure what to do.

We were told that Clark would get a phone call home when he arrived at Parris Island, South Carolina. I had heard from him very briefly up until he got on the bus and they took away his things. I was anxiously awaiting to hear his voice, no matter the hour.

Around 2am, my phone rang.

I answered. It was splotchy. All I heard was.

"...safely...time...thanks for your support."

Click.

Was that my phone call? It couldn't be... could it?

Why, yes, yes it was.

I learned later that Clark got to read from a script that was taped above the pay phone, and there was someone standing there to make sure he didn't say anything except what was on that sheet of paper.

Within a few days I got a sheet of paper from "Clark" with information about what he would be going through. It wasn't until a week or so later that I received my first letter from him.

In my first letter, I made sure to ask him about finances. After all, one of the reasons he honestly went was to make sure we had some sort of solid income, no matter how meager. We hadn't been informed just how much of that I would receive, or how I could have access to it, etc.

Clark informed me in his second or third letter I wouldn't have access to it. He informed me that they set up a bank account that he didn't even have the information to. Therefore, I would have to ask family for help until we could sort things out.

I. Was. LIVID.

I called Clark's recruiter. He said there was a number I could call with concerns and stuff, but he'd doubt I'd get anything out of it. (Yes, he actually said that to me.) So he gave me the number and I called.

The first time I called no one answered. The second time I called there was a button that said to press two if it was an emergency, so I pressed two. It connected me to 9-1-1... I was so embarrassed.

I called back and finally got an answer. I explained a shorter version of my problem to who answered the phone.

"My husband informed me in a letter that I won't be getting any money while he's away, and we didn't prepare for that. I need to speak to him or someone who can help me with this, because while I have a job, it's not enough to cover our expenses."

"Well, ma'am, he has expenses here, too."

"I understand that, but I'm his wife, and therefore I have a right to his money just like he has a right to mine. Could you let him call me, and he could share the information he has?"

"Certainly. We'll have him call you tonight." I should have known that was too easy.

"Thank you. I really appreciate it."

"Is there anything else?"

"Don't you need my information?"

"Oh, right."

I gave it to him. I should have taken his name. I should have been smarter than to believe they were just going to let Clark call me. I mean, it emphasized in all the information that all we'd get was letters. Still, I wanted to believe the man on the other end of the line was honorable.

I waited, and waited, and waited. I barely did anything that day without having my phone right by me. There was even a sorority function that one of my sister's convinced me to go to, and I was sitting there hugging my phone the entire time.

When Clark didn't call, I was such a mess. I didn't understand. The military I knew wasn't like this.

The next day the same sorority sister and her family were going to the beach for Easter break. They had invited me, and although I had to work that day, I had agreed to go. I got out of work, explaining what was going on and that I was feeling mentally up to it. Thankful for an amazing boss, they understood, and I left for the beach with my sister and hef family. She told me to just let it go until after the beach.


Little did I know it would be getting a lot worse before it got better.

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