M.I.C.: This Means War pt. II7:00 AM
It was no surprise that I didn't hear back from anyone. After all, it took who knows how many calls before I finally got to Clark previously. Did I really expect them to get back to me?
This time I e-mailed the Staff Sergeant.. I asked him what had been going on, why I hadn't heard anything. I told him if I didn't get a response, I'd call up the chain of command.
Guess what? I got no response.
This time I talked to the First Sergeant of Clark’s company. When explaining the situation to First Sergeant, I asked for the access code and things like that to my husband’s account so I could transfer out the amount needed each month.
First Sergeant said that while they normally didn’t do that, he’s sure I would be an exception considering I was his wife and we were in school and all that good stuff. He said if I didn’t hear from anyone by noon the next day, to give him a call.
As always, the Marines didn’t seem to care. I called First Sergeant Lasonde at exactly noon the next day and he was not available. I left a message and waited. He called me back some time around three and said, “I hear we’ve made some progress!”
“I beg your pardon?” I asked.
“Staff Sergeant told me he spoke to you as well as your mother-in-law about the situation.”
I went quiet for a second, feeling the red monster of anger ready to roar. “I never spoke to Staff Sergeant. I cannot say for my mother-in-law, but he has not spoken to me.”
“Really? Huh. Well, we cannot give you the information.”
“And why not?” I asked, holding back tears and getting ready to shout.
“Because it is not protocol,” he said as if that settled the matter, “we cannot make exceptions.”
“But Staff Sergeant e-mailed me and told me Clark would e-mail me the information, and you yourself said that I would most likely be an exception.”
“It’s not protocol,” he said again.
“Fine. Do you have the number of your company commander? I’d like to speak to him.”
“Sweetheart, you can talk to who ever you please. Do you want my name? Make sure you spell it right when you speak to him.”
“Yes, that would be wonderful.” I smirked as if he could see me.
“It’s First Sergeant (he spelled his name out for me here). You got that, honey?”
“Oh, don’t worry, I have it. Now, that number, please.”
The conversation commenced until I broke down and cried. I called my mom, well aware that it was nearly ten her time at this point (my parents were stationed in Germany). I told her what was going on and asked if Dad could call, but dad was in the hospital visiting people. My mom asked for the numbers and said she’d take care of it.
I paced our bedroom back and forth, wondering what on earth was happening. After some time, she called me back. “You should be receiving $1000,” she said as if she had fixed it.
Our conversation reviewed what had been said to me, whereupon she said, “I wish I would have known that when I called him. I would have said much more than I did.”
While I was on the phone with my mom my other line beeped and it said, “Restricted”, which meant someone from Parris Island. I told my mom I had to go, and that I’d call her tomorrow. I transferred over to the other line with the prissiest tone I could conjure. “Hello.” I said as a statement, not a question.
“Hey.” I didn’t have to be told who it was- I started crying.
“Wait, calm down, we have to talk. What’s going on?”
I spilled, but as I did Clark continuously would interrupt me with the b.s. that he had been fed. “Staff Sergeant has done nothing but go out of his way for us,” “How was First Sergeant disrespectful? He’s been nothing but kind.”
I kept asking him who was in the room with him, and while he would respond “no one,” I later found out that all of them were standing outside the door of the office- listening in.
Although the conversation ended somewhat happy and I got a couple “I love yous”… it just wasn’t the same. Something sounded different in his vice, in his tone, I was utterly convinced that he had changed for the worse.
I thought he was turning in to one of “them”. “Them” defined as the men like First Sergeant and Staff Sergeant who had no respect for their recruits or their dependents. Those men that were obsessed with order and control, so much that it overrode their sense of individualism and family.
I know now that not all Marines are like this, obviously. You will find men like this in every branch of the military, as well as men who are not in the military. Still, the way things were happening, it made me afraid for Clark to come home. Don't get me wrong, I wanted nothing more than for him to be home, but I was afraid of who he might be when he returned. He already sounded different to me, what was he going to be like in another month? Two months? I was worried.
That night I got on my knees and prayed. I needed to calm down, and it was the only way I knew how.
I knew there were still things to be done, to take care of. After all, Staff Sergeant had lied to his superiors as well as contacted Clark's parents instead of me. He had no right to do either, and he wasn't about to get off the hook that easy. I had been told things that weren't true, talked to condescendingly, and laughed at. I wasn't about to take all that lying down.
Even so, I prayed. I prayed for strength, for guidance, and most of all, I prayed for Clark. I prayed he'd come home to me, and while I was sure there would be some changes, I prayed deep down he'd be the same man I fell in love with.