Taking the first step, I find my vision and look to the right. Rows of canvas align perfectly with the walkway parting the gravel. My bag bangs against the outside of my knee as I make my way forward. My hair wet, tightly wrapped above my collar. The cool streams of water sliding down my neck. The reflection of ripples in the distance pulls me forward. Memories of my past telling me to pick my feet up. Moving with a type of purpose that I can make up if confronted; I know that people are always watching.
Twenty-two years old, sitting in my patrol car on a Thursday afternoon, working as military police on the largest military installation in the free world – Fort Hood. I couldn’t believe it. Just a mere two years ago, I was working at McDonald’s and sleeping on my friend’s floor, with no real direction for my life. I was in the 64th Military Police Company – a combat support unit. Our sister company, 410th, was currently deployed so we were getting a lot more road time. We had been on patrol for almost eight months, and I was really getting into the swing of things.
So much can happen in 13 years. Careers change. Scenery changes. Relationships come and go. A lifetime can be lived. For 13 years I watched her grow. You can even say for 13 years I watched her slowly die. That’s what it means to live anyway right? From the moment we are born we are one moment closer to death. Every breath is a breath closer to the last time your lungs will expand. Every step is a step closer to your journey to the grave. But we don’t live our lives with those thoughts in our heads. We forget that we have an expiration date. We forget that we don’t go on forever. We live in the moment. We smile as if life will never end. Until the day it does.