Soldier's Story: Final Chapter
My breathing becomes uneven I don’t know where I am everything is pitch . I scream hello into the darkness but no one answers; I scream again and yet again no one answers. I can feel my tears coming down my face I just start to run. I run anywhere away from this blackness but I don’t know where I am going I am just running. After what seemed like running for hours I just stop and fall to my knees crying loudly; I hug myself for support but can’t really do anything much about the darkness surrounding me. I hear mumbling in the distance but don’t pay attention to it. The mumbling continues but now I can somewhat understand it. Jennifer’s voice can be heard in the distance; I yell her name and get to my feet. I then start to run to where I think Jennifer’s voice is coming from. I run as fast as I can; as I get closer her voice gets louder. All of a sudden I feel I am on a bed and my senses start coming back.
I move a little on the bed just to make sure that I am on a bed. For some reason I feel tired; I then feel Jennifer’s hands on my cheeks. She calls my name a couple of times; I then open my eyes a little just enough so she can tell I am awake. She laughs and tears come down her cheeks “I am getting married to your brother” she says fast. I half smile at her “I know that isn’t on your list of important things right now but I just wanted to let you know” she says with tears. I then close my eyes and drift into sleep; I really didn’t dream of anything. When I open my eyes again the sun is still out; I take a deep breath and look around the room. Mark is standing at the end of the bed on the verge of crying; I then look to my right and Alan is there on my side. I take Alan’s hand and he laughs and cries at the same time “Hi” Alan says to me. I smile and say hi back to him; Mark then comes closer to me. Mark was about to caress my cheek but I pull my head back. Both Mark and Alan have this surprise look on their faces “Get out” I say to Mark. Mark looks at me confused and then looks at Alan; “Get out” I say again this time with hatred in my words. Mark takes a few steps back towards the door; his eyes never leave mine. “GET OUT” I yell at Mark; I then pick up the remote that’s on the side of the bed and throw it at him. Mark gets out of the way on time and the remote shatters at the wall behind him. I start crying and hug Alan; I can tell Mark and Alan are confused about the whole deal. “You should go” Alan says to Mark in a serious tone. I cry into Alan’s neck for a while; for the rest of the day Alan tries to get me to talk about Mark. I really didn’t want to think about Mark; he should be fine George will be there to lick his wounds.
For the next couple of weeks Alan and Jennifer take care of me. Alan helps me with my therapy; never would I have thought that walking again could be so hard. Jennifer took care of my health and forearm stiches. Dr. Collins comes into my room from time to time; he keeps telling me how much I am missed here. One day Dr. Collins and Jennifer walk into my room with smiles on their faces; “Good news” Jennifer starts. I look up and just stare at them “We can fix that scar on your arm” Dr. Collins finishes. I look at my forearm and see that the man who did it was carving coward in his language. Without hesitation I nod of approval; Jennifer then starts to prep me for surgery while Dr. Collins goes and clears a room for me. Jennifer starts to wheel me out of the room; we are at the hall and at the end of the hall I see Mark. I look at him and he looks at me; his face is soft and full of concern. I look at Mark and just look away; Jennifer has the biggest confused look on her face. Jennifer then starts wheeling me to the OR; “So you want Mark in the room with you” Jennifer says almost not sure of herself. I just shake my head and stay quite; “I’ll see you after the surgery” Jennifer says with a half smile.
Once again I didn’t really dream of anything; it’s like I have not slept at all. I wake up in the room alone; at least I think I am alone. I then look to my left and see George sitting next to the bed; George is looking at me. I was about to tell George to fuck off but he beat me to it “I saw him first” George chuckles “I know that is elementary thing to say but it does still apply to this situation” George continues “I met Mark long before you. I have been his friend longer than you and I have been in love with him longer than you” George says while looking at me in the eye. “For years I tried to get Mark to view me more than just a friend. Every day I was getting close to my goal….but then you come along and it’s like…..you stole him right from under me” George looks down. “I am sorry for the things that have happened to you…really I am. And I am sorry you had to find out about us the way you did. But please give me the man that I love so much to me” George says with a shaky voice. “You don’t know what it’s like to look at the man you love and when he looks at you….you know he is thinking of someone else” a tear comes down George’s cheek “So please give him to me” George whispers this to me and then he just gets up and leaves. I am just there lying in bed and somewhere along the way my heart goes out to George. It took a lot of courage and class for George to come to me and talk to me like I am his friend. I kind of put myself in George’s situation; for years trying to convince someone you love to view you as more than a friend is hard work. But it’s even harder when that person who you love falls in love with someone else; I envy George because I wouldn’t have except that….I wouldn’t have just let him walk away but George turned to a higher road that I possible couldn’t have taken.
It took a couple of more days for me to heal and to start walking on my own again. If I knew Mark he would be taking his frustration out on the other guys or even George. I don’t know why but my heart goes out to George; Mark deserves him and that’s the hardest thing to accept. After all I did end the relationship without explaining why to Mark and I was gone for a long time. One afternoon I made myself walk over to the mechanic area where I am sure to find Mark. As I get closer I can hear him screaming at someone; I was right Mark was taking his frustration out on other people. I stand in the open looking into the mechanic station; I almost laughed when all of the mechanics saw me and their faces where full of relief. George wasn’t around so this should make things a bit easier; surprisingly Mark was the last to notice I was there. Mark looks at me and I look at him “Can we talk” I say almost in a whisper. Mark nods his head and half smiles at me but somehow it seemed forced.
We walk into the office and Mark closes the door behind him; we just stare at each other for a while. The silence goes on as the ticks of the clock can be heard; Mark was standing there just looking at me and I was looking at him. “I umm….” I begin to say breaking the silence. “I have been here a while and no one has told me how long I was gone” I say with a half a smile. “Three months” Mark says in a soft voice. I love you those are the words I wanted to say to him; I kept saying those words inside my head trying to make those words come out of my mouth. I open my mouth to say it “I am sorry” Mark says before I could say anything. “I didn’t mean for you to find out about George the way you did….but I thought you were dead and I thought….” Mark says but doesn’t finish the sentence. “I would have wanted you to move on” I finish Mark’s sentence. My heart did go out for George but when I say Mark I just wanted to be wrapped up in his arms. I wanted Mark so bad that I really didn’t care about what George’s situation was but now that I hear Mark explain about George it’s a surprise. My heart started breaking and I was on the verge of tears; I did loose Mark and that alone is the most painful thing I have ever endured. It took all of my strength not to cry in front of him because I know that he won’t come to my side and comfort like he should be if he was still mine. “Well umm…” I begin to say “You’re not the only one at fault… I kissed Cory” I say just to sever any hope we have left in getting back together.
Mark straightens out and his eyes are both hurt and full of hatred; don’t know if that hatred is for me or Cory or both. The silence kicks in again and this time it’s needed. “I would have done the same thing Mark” I say trying to smooth things out. “It seems you did anyway” Mark says almost in a whisper but loud enough for me to hear. I had to turn away for a second to quickly wipe away the tear that escaped my eye. I was about to say something when I see pass Mark; George is standing outside of the office looking into the window where I stood when I found out about the relationship. I swallowed hard both Mark and I are looking down at the floor. This isn’t the way I thought it was going to end but it’s over….it’s over. I start to walk to the door; Mark has his back to the door and his hands are on his waist. I stop when I am next to him; I am so close to touching him but it’s not going to be the same if I did touch him. Both Mark and I are staring at the floor “I’ll see you around” I say almost in a whisper trying so hard not to cry. I then walk out of the room I don’t even look at George I just walk away.
I somehow manage to get back into the hospital and into the storage room where Jennifer and I put Alan to hide during the shooting. I close the door behind me and sit down at the very end of room; my breathing becomes uneven first. Then one tear rolls down my cheek and then another and another; soon I find myself crying out loud. Not loud enough for people to hear me outside the room but loud so I can let out all of the pain. I hug myself for comfort but the tears still keep on coming; nothing can comfort me at this point. How could anything comfort me when I just lost the love of my life? Things are going to be different now and I don’t think I can do this alone. I then put my knees up and hug them; I bury my face in them and cry some more. I then hear the door open and close I guess the janitor saw me and decided to give me my space. But then I feel someone sit next to me; I then feel a hand on the back of my neck. For some reason I think it’s Mark and I look up with red eyes; to my greatest disappointment and relief it’s Cory. He pulls me into him and I have my head rest on his neck; I hate that Cory knows why I am crying but he says nothing.
“Let’s get you back into your room” Cory says in a soft voice. He then puts his arm under my legs and one across my mid back. Cory lifts me up with ease and carries me to my room; the whole way I had my face buried in his neck. That night I didn’t even fall asleep I just spent the whole night crying alone in my room. By morning I hear a knock at the door; for some reason I think its Mark but when I turn to see who it is Jennifer is standing there half smiling at me. She comes in and sits next to me “I am so sorry sweetie” Jennifer says to me while she grabs my hand. I then start to cry some more and she hugs me in comfort. Jennifer knows that Mark isn’t mine anymore and my whole world is shattered. After a while I calm down; we then hear a knock and again for some reason I think it’s Mark but to my greatest surprise it’s Commander Stone. He stands at the entrance looking at me “I’ll be outside” Jennifer says. I try to tell her not to go; this man is the reason I went through hell for the past three months. As each seconds passed by my hatred came back to me; I was about to say something “I guess sorry wouldn’t mean anything to you at this point” Commander Stone says while he stands next to my bed. “I hoped that me saving your life would be the start of how sorry I am” Commander Stone says while I put on a puzzling look. “They didn’t tell you….I was the one who found you on the ground bleeding outside the mechanic office” Commander Stone stays his ground “I was the one who carried you to the hospital….and just in time too” Commander Stone says with a half-smile. “Adrian please I know I have done a terrible wrong here….and I am just trying to make it right” Commander Stone says with a surprising low shaky voice. This could only mean one thing; either Mark found out that Commander Stone is his father or Mark had been too busy looking for me that Commander Stone didn’t even matter to Mark for the past three months. “What do you want…..Sir?” I say trying to say it in a fuck you tone but yet still been respectful.
After all Commander Stone did save my life and I am very surprised he did. “Please give me my son back” Commander Stone looks at me with soft eyes. “I know that after three months you have the right to hate me with everything you have ….but please my son is the only weakness I have. With you gone he turned into someone else that I didn’t even expect him to be. George did the he could to calm him down but it wasn’t enough; Mark’s love for you is to great” Commander Stone remains with his back straight and head held high but his eyes were full of pain. I should say fuck you to Commander Stone; I do have the right to hate Commander Stone with everything I have. But for some reason this wasn’t the case; I have gone through hell and back and I survived it…I survived. “You could just tell him the truth” I say in a calm voice. Commander Stone looks at me with a huge surprise look in his face. I guess because Commander Stone wasn’t expecting me to help him; he wasn’t expecting me to be so forgiving after everything I went through because of him. It’s just that at this point I just don’t care anymore; I am just happy to be alive. Commander Stone and I talk for about an hour and have agreed that he will tell Mark the truth the day of the wedding. As Commander Stone leaves the room I can’t help but think that Mark will need someone by his side when the news is broken to him. It’s at that point that I hope that George will be there for him….they…….really deserve each other.
A couple of weeks later Commander Stone signs me off to go home. He said that he was taking a lot of heat for sending a civilian to the pit; I argued that the board should let Commander Stone stay as the head guy on base and for me to stay. But after much debate the board decided to relief Commander Stone of his post and to send me home. I packed everything into three suitcases I don’t know really know how I got all of this stuff. My last day I spent it on the hospital saying good bye to all of my patients I had and all of the staff; Dr. Collins was the last guy I said good bye to. It was a long and tearful good bye but we agreed that we would see each other on the day of the wedding. “Good bye son” Dr. Collins says with tears in his eyes and one of his hands on my cheek. I hug him and hold on to him for dear life; we then hear a page for Dr. Collins and we break our hug. Dr. Collins just smiles at me and heads out of his office; I am left there to gather myself up. It was late afternoon when my plane was taking off from the base; as I headed to the plane almost half of the base was there. All of the soldiers that where there wanted to say good bye to me; it took about an hour to say good bye.
I was in tears because I didn’t know how much I meant to them here; I really didn’t say good bye to Alan or Jennifer because I know that in a couple of months I would see them. As we were all settling into our seats for the plane to take off a very familiar voice came from next to me. “Hey stranger” Cory says as he leans in almost saying it in a whisper. I turn and look at him; his dark green eyes lock into mine. That’s when I realize that maybe just maybe Cory can help me move on; Cory can be the guy who can get me back on my feet. Somewhere over the sea Cory and I sat at the very back of the cargo plane and talked; at one point Cory told me “I know I am not Mark but I would someday like to have what you guys had…will you be mine Adrian?” I just stared at him. “I…um…..Cory I…..” I stumbled to gather the words. “Take your time I’ll be right here by your side” Cory says in a soft but manly voice. We arrived late at night to the states and both of us just wanted to get some sleep. Cory wanted me to stay with him at his downtown condo but I wanted to stay at my house. “I’ll come and pick you up at 7 pm” Cory says as we part ways from the airport. It was around three in the morning when I arrived at my house; well it was my parents but since their death it became my house. Alan was gone most of the time so it was just me and the house; I really didn’t have the heart to sell it I have some memories here that I just can’t let go of. Since it was late January it was still kind of cold outside; I just turned on the heater and went to bed.
I didn’t wake up until three in the afternoon; I unpacked everything and at the end of my unpacking I found my camera. Even though I didn’t take that many pictures the two years I was there the ones that I got were pretty awesome. I even found one picture I took of Jake the day before he died; the rest just showed the bond of brotherhood the soldiers shared. That afternoon I submitted my photos to my editor to see if they can be published; before I knew it my cell phone was ringing. Cory was on the other end of the line saying that he was about ten minutes away from my place. I rushed to take a shower and put on a black suit; tonight Cory was going to be giving the Medal of Honor and I was receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Cory came and picked me up and we were on our way; the ceremony was to be held downtown. The president was visiting the city so my award was on the way; two birds with one stone I guess. We arrived and there were other soldiers there receiving the same award as well; the night went on and everyone got their awards except us. It was close to the end of the ceremony when a soldier comes up to the podium and starts talking. The soldier in the podium then introduces the President of the United States. The president comes out and takes the podium he then starts talking about Cory and I; he talks about a civilian who came to help and was captured. At the end of his speech the president calls Cory and I up to the stage; we got a standing ovation from the audience because they knew that we had killed the most wanted man in Iraq. Cory got his medal of honor and I got my freedom medal; Cory and I shook hands with the president and took a lot of pictures with him as well. We really couldn’t do that much seeing that it’s the president and there were secret service guys everywhere. “Thanks a lot son” the president says as he pats my back and leaves the stage. I really didn’t say thank you because he left in such a hurry; I guess the president had a lot to do now that Ashram is dead.
Cory and I stuck around seeing that everyone wanted to shake our hands and make small talk with us. “Are you copying me soldier?” a handsome soldier says while walking towards us. This soldier is good looking tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, and the cutest smile. Cory sees this blonde soldier and gives him a manly hug; they talk for a little while. “Sorry…..” Cory says as he turns and looks at me “Adrian this is Andrew Adams we served together for a while” Cory says to me with a huge smile. Andrew extends his hand and I shake it “Thanks for the service you provided” Andrew says with his cute smile. Than someone comes up from behind Andrew “David” I say; David then says my name and we both hug each other. “How are you?” David says to me as we part from our hug. Both Cory and Andrew are looking at us with a puzzled look. “We had clinical together a while back” I say to Cory just to clarify. David then congratulates me for my award “Andrew did you get an award tonight?” I ask but both David and Andrew look at each other for a moment. “I got mine about a year ago” Andrew says in a low voice. I was about to ask him for what “Adrian….he’s one of us” Cory says to me in a serious tone. That’s when I realize that Andrew was the soldier who everyone thought was dead. I quickly apologized but both David and Andrew were nice about it and told me that it was water under the bridge. All four of us talked for a little while longer; I said good bye to David and we traded phone numbers. Andrew then takes David’s hand and both walk away; they were close to the door way when Andrew gives David a kiss on his cheek. David blushes and both disappear around the corner. I smile to myself remembering that feeling when Mark would kiss me in the cheek. “So you want to go to a tonight?” Cory asks me interrupting my thoughts. I look up at him and smile; I then nod my head “But we have to go to my house so I can change” I say while pushing Cory with my shoulder.
I was always one that loved small balls, I love to put them in my mouth and just suck on them real slow...get the taste of hot balls all over my lips and rub them all over my face...
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