At the end of my first deployment I had nothing really to look forward to. Our plans of moving to Fort Campbell got squashed and a second deployment was in the works before we even got stateside. As many of the single deployed soldiers did, I came home with several thousands of dollars saved up from extra pay and not having to worry about food, rent or fuel costs over the year. For some guys, their after deployment gift was a new vehicle or maybe a motorcycle. (My motorcycle came after the second deployment). My big treat to myself was a spending spree at Bed Bath and Beyond. I wanted to make the next six months as comfortable as I could without getting too crazy. I got a one bedroom apartment all to myself along with a king sized bed and a hand-me-down green leather couch. It was the most hideous couch but I was beyond happy. My life felt like it was getting somewhere for once and I had a home I could call my own. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. How things have changed…
By the end of my second deployment I was feeling pretty good about life. I was raised thinking that money was the most important thing. I worked up a perfect credit score, had a brand new Harley Davidson and a Scion tC. A top floor apartment with brand new furniture topped everyone off. I even went and bought myself a brand new Springfield XD45 compact pistol. I had a pretty lax job in my unit and had plenty of free time to get myself into all sorts of trouble. As much fun as I had, I wish I could change everything.
My dad was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer about six months before I got out of the service. My life took a turn that I was obligated to let happen by guilt. Throughout my time in active duty, I was keeping my restaurant goal on the back burner until I got out. As much research as I had done about Tennessee and Kentucky, I was planning on opening a place there or maybe somewhere on the east coast. Being that the news of my father had come at this time, there was no way I could bring myself to not come back to Washington. I was called upon by the family to help out. With what, I still don’t know. Was I supposed to carry the burden of half-truths until this illness finally tore apart the family as Facebook statuses imply? A lot of it was bullshit. My mom had been operating a hot dog shop for several years and I think the financial burden was taking a toll, so I fell into the notion that I would build upon a business that had been in the community for so many years. The support I thought would come out of it was about as deep as my skin is thick.
When I was finally discharged from the military, I rushed back home from North Carolina. It was a cannonball run that only took me two and a half days. To be totally honest, I never wanted to come back. Though Washington is a beautiful place, I absolutely hate it. I wasn’t coming back for me. I was coming back for others. Again, I have no real agreement or understanding as to what I was coming back for.
I poured everything I had in my soul to building my restaurant. I was up at six a.m. And back home about midnight every single day for a month straight. Everything from electrical to plumbing to payroll and permitting, I was involved in. Alone. I didn’t mind actually doing it alone except for the fact that all along the way, I was realizing that I should have never started it there. I got superficial support. I felt like a kid that built something out of Legos and trying to show it to an adult. They say ‘good job!’ In a condescending tone with the basic idea that its simply child’s play. I should have bagged the whole idea when I knew better. Oh well. Lesson learned I guess.
A catalyst in the decision to sell my place is a little bit of a dark spot for me. Suicide. It was a busy day and I was in the kitchen trying to play catch-up as I typically did there. I was payed a visit by people (trying to be somewhat cordial by not mentioning exactly who) that wanted their piece of the pie. I owed some money to family. Kind of. I was frustrated because of having to deal with so many things that come with having a business. It was really not hard to deal with, but when you don’t even love ‘why’ you’re doing something it’s hard to be ok with things. Well, I was being visited by people with inquisitive minds about how things were going. Underlying it was always, “when can you pay us?” The response in my head was “well, let me finish these fifty fucking hamburgers and I’ll be able to stop for a minute and let you know.” I had enough. My first and only thought in my head was to stop everything, walk back to the office and grab my 45. I wanted to end it all right there. One shot to my temple and everything would be absolutely beautiful. Something, not someone, stopped me from doing it.
A few weeks later I decided it was time to sell the gun. Suicide is the most cowardly thing anyone can do in my opinion. It’s the ultimate guilt trip. As selfish as it is, I have an understanding as to why some people do it. It doesn’t make it right in any way but sometimes it seems that there is no way out. Years and years of my life were spent to do something that was dictated by guilt passed on to me as long as I can remember.
When I was building my restaurant, I’d stop at the end of a long night and turn on all the neon to visualize how things would be when it’s done. Making sure that no one was watching, I smiled. Maybe this was finally the chance I had been waiting for. By the time I sold it, I never wanted to step foot in there again. I never wanted to be in Port Orchard again. Though I was able to sell and exit properly, I lost it all. I lost all hope.
I’m back to ground zero. The only real thing I have left is a fire inside me just dying to get out. I sit idly by while I’m ridiculed by self centered, disrespectful, spoiled brats here at flight school. My day-to-day wears me thin sometimes. I let it slide for now because I’m a believer that Karma works in mysterious ways. It sure as hell did its number on me.
If you made it this far, consider this a snippet of a dark spot in my life. It’s a summary of the cause of my current state. It’s not a cry for help nor is it an invitation for a pity party. If anything, consider it a warning to anyone that crosses me. You may think I have nothing on the line so you can step all over me, but just you wait… Though patience isn’t my virtue, there are some things that I can wait for. When and if I finally get it, you can bet your ass that I will give it everything I have. Hopefully I can do things right this time. This washed out thirty-two year old still has a few tricks up his sleeve…