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The Eclectic Pen - winner

By: Christina M. (horrorbookaddict)  
Date Submitted: 12/16/2008
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Memoirs
Words: 1,301

  “COVER YOUR FACE!” my drill sergeant said. “I BETTER NOT SEE THE WHITES OF YOUR EYES”. I sat there with my face deep in my duffle bag. It was storming outside. It felt like buckets of water was pouring from the sky. The lightening was bright and the thunder shook the earth. I am soak and wet and scared to death. What did I get myself into? What was I thinking? Maybe I should have thought about it more before I decided to join the army.
It was too late now. I was already at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I was riding on the bus with a bunch of other men and women headed for doom. Well it felt like that. I couldn’t tell where we were going and it was hard to concentrate with the constant barking of the drill sergeant. I was able to peek at the other people around me. Every one looked as terrified as I was.
Suddenly the bus stopped. The drill sergeant was yelling at us to get off the bus. At this point it was like a dream. I jump off the buss right into a knee deep puddle. This is unbelievable. I’m running in the rain with drill sergeant right on my tail screaming at me. I grab my duffle bag which was in a pile of other duffle bags off to the side. Then I ran into the first building that was closest to me.
It was so bright inside compared to the grayness outside. I was thankful that it was warm. This time there were more drill sergeants waiting inside. All screaming at the top of their longs. “YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO GET INTO ALPHABETICAL ORDER.” He yelled. We all started running like a chicken with it’s head cut off trying to find out what each other’s name’s were. “FIVE…..FOUR…..THREE…..TWO…ONE…DROP TO THE GROUND NOW!” said my drill sergeant. I threw myself to the floor. “Why are you just laying there?” one of them said. “Start pushing.” I was guessing that he meant for me to do pushups. As I was doing the pushups I can hear him mumbling about how horrible my pushups were.
After the constant dropping to the ground to do pushups they told us to fill out some paper work. They told us we better not get the papers wet. I don’t see how that would be possible but I still stressed when some of the papers got wet. They told us to hold our duffle bags over our heads when we turned in our papers. That’s when I could feel the salty wetness of my tears. I could not believe what I had gotten myself into. There was no way I was going to be able to do this.
The next few weeks went by in a blur. I was so out of shape in the beginning. My drill sergeants calling me fat when ever they could. I failed the first P.T. test which was no surprise. We trained and trained. In the beginning I was in so much pain. My muscles ached and I was so tired. I didn’t think I could possibly make it. I’m the type of person to quit when things get hard. Yes I was a quitter. That wasn’t possible in the army. If you wanted to get out of basic training the fastest way was to graduate.
One day the other girls were telling me that I had lost a lot of weight. I hadn’t even noticed. I was running a little better. I was more toned. The training was starting to get easier for me. I wasn’t letting my fear show when ever we had a new task to do that seemed impossible. I had more self confidence in my abilities. I would just grit my teeth and get whatever it was done and over with so that I could get one more day out of the way. Quitting was no longer my goal. I was going to make it.
After weeks of training and going to the range it was time to do the final P.T. test to determine if I was going to graduate. I was full of anxiety. Again I started to quietly cry to myself. I was completely psyching myself out. I just knew I was going to fail. I hadn’t pass not one P.T. test since I’ve been here. I don’t have the strength or the endurance to make my run in the amount of time that was allowed.
A tall lean black man came and stood beside me. I read on his P.T. belt that he was a drill sergeant. He looked down at my terrified face and said “What did you get on your last run?” “Twenty-three minutes.” I said pathetically. He frowned causing deep lines on his forehead. “Well did you at least pass your pushups and sit-ups?” “Yes drill sergeant.” He looked at me and said “I’m going to be your pacer during your run.” And walked away.
I just stood there surprised. I was just sure he was going to tell me that there was no way that I could pass my P.T. test. It was going to be even more embarrassing if I couldn’t pass even with the help of a pacer. I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do. Then I heard the drill sergeants tell us it was time to do the sit-ups and pushup portion of the test.
My stomach and arms burned but I had maxed them both out. I was very surprised at myself. I didn’t know I had it in me. I was just pushing them out like it was nothing. I started to calm down more about the run. I suddenly had hope that I might make it. I had some time before the actual run. I spent that time stretching and trying to boost myself up for the run.
It was time. Suddenly my pacer was next to me. “You ready?” I looked at the ground and kicked at the dirt “Not really but lets get this over with.” Suddenly it was time to run. I was doing well the first couple of laps and then I started to slow down. “Stay with me” he said. He looked so at ease and graceful. I was completely jealous. It would be so much easier if I could run like him.
I was hurting all over the last few laps. My breathing was ragged. I was on my last lap. All of a sudden I could hear my battle buddies. “Go Raleigh! You can do it!” I was shocked to hear them calling my name. “After the last curve I want you to sprint to the finish line.” My drill sergeant breathed. What? Me sprint. I was on my last leg. I reached the last curve and took off as fast as I could.
I was grunting and pushing myself as hard as I could. I was flailing my arms at an attempt to push myself harder. I could still hear my battle buddies yelling my name as I sprinted to the finish line. I didn’t think I was going to make it. As soon as I made it I collapsed to the ground crying in hysterics. I made it. I passed. I laid there trying to catch my breath in between the screaming and crying. I was so proud of myself. Everyone was cheering and patting my back when I finally got up.
I realized I had it in me the whole time. I thought about all that I had accomplished in the time I was in basic training. I did what no one, not even I thought I could do. All I had to do was believe in myself. I came into basic training as a quitter. I graduated a winner.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Christina M. (horrorbookaddict)

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Comments 1 to 3 of 3
James B. (Amadeo) - 12/17/2008 1:39 AM ET
On February 16, 1993, I enlisted in the Navy. I started out determined to graduate. I'm stubborn like that. The rest is virtually identical to my experience. I served 8 years in the Navy. I am proud of my service. No one can ever take that away. Pride in accomplishments can only be given away. Congratulations on your accomplishment. You earned it with your blood, sweat, toil and tears. You likely have never understood that statement, but I know that you do now. ~James
Veronica S. (snowkitty) - , - 12/17/2008 11:11 AM ET
Wonderful story.
Elaine G. (lipslady) - 1/2/2009 11:10 AM ET
My daughter's boyfriend recently joined the Marines. Your story really helped me understand what he's going through. Thanks!-Elaine G.
Comments 1 to 3 of 3