DMTNT: Letters never sent

S,
Sorry I haven’t written you in a while. To be honest, it’s not because I’ve been too busy to write (I have been busy, but never in my life have I been too busy to keep in touch with friends), it’s been because I wasn’t sure if you’d like me to write, or even what to write about. I know you must be getting tired of my routine (pop up once or twice a year to write you some crazy emotional nonsense) and you’re probably equally tired of me apologizing for it. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I suppose.
It’s almost 1 AM where I am right now (which is Biloxi MS, by the way, on Keesler Air Force Base) and I have to be up at 5 AM for physical training and to get ready for the rest of my day. I wouldn’t even be writing you right now if it weren’t for my certifiably insane and suicidally depressed roommate (who is getting kicked out of the Marine Corps in a few weeks) – you see, his cell phone keeps going off while he’s texting whoever matters to him and I can’t get any sleep like that. I was up thinking about you anyway, thinking of a possible letter to write, and after his cell phone went off for the fourth or fifth time, I decided that I wouldn’t be able to write this tomorrow (as I’d have forgotten most of the good parts or how I wanted to say them).
I’ve just been mixed up lately, and not sure who to talk to. I, honestly, don’t have anyone I trust with my feelings these days, and I’ve never had anyone in my life I’ve ever trusted more than you, so it only makes sense that I think of you when things are rough for me. Of course, I very rarely get a chance to talk to or with you, let alone know what you think about me, but that doesn’t stop me. I know I’ve told you before, but I’m pretty sure I think about you on a daily basis. Not in any kind of fanciful way, mind you – it’s not like I sit here and think about running off with you or meeting up with you and other such nonsense. I just often find myself reflecting on how good of a friend you were and how much of a great help that was for me, and how I miss that. Is that really such a bad thing? I guess it’s kind of silly, isn’t it? It’s been, what, 7 years since we met…and 5 since the last time we really had a good sit down chat with each other? Correct me if I’m wrong, my memory is very crappy. Just ask my brother. Some of the time I just wonder if you think about me (probably not, but I could be wrong!) and if you do, what are you thinking about me? Does she think I’m crazy and annoying and stupid? I wouldn’t blame you. (Just so you know, I still think of you much the same way as I always have: strong, compassionate, grounded, beautiful.)
He’s having a kid, by the way. He got drunk (surprise!) and got an 18 year old girl pregnant (he’s going to be 28 this year). He wants to name it after me (what an honor!) and he wants me to be the godfather (how wonderful!).
I remember the last time you wrote me, and you mentioned how Tyler still keeps in touch with you, and you don’t even know why. Heh. That part stuck out to me, and I wondered, does she feel that way about me? I sure hope not! Of course, it’s impossible to tell, and I’m not very…forceful(?), I guess you could say. I think I wrote you back, and when no reply came, I just did what I always do: nothing. I figure, if people want to talk to me, they will get in touch with me.
I don’t talk to people very often.
I don’t mean to guilt trip you or make you feel sorry or anything like that, either, so please don’t be thinking that way. Like I said, I’m just all mixed up and don’t know who to talk to. If I were a normal person, I’d have a friend I could talk to right now instead of bothering you! Heck, I wish I did. And if I am bugging you, do let me know. I’ll leave you alone, I promise, Marine’s honor! The last thing I’d want to do is bother you any more than I already have. I am capable of getting by on my own (I’ve been doing it for a while) – but some part of me always hopes that you still think I’m an interesting and worthwhile person, and some part of me always hopes that you want to talk to me, even a fraction as much as I like talking to you.
One thing I always loved about you was the way you wouldn’t just pity me or just be one of those “yes-friends.” You didn’t just sit there and support everything I did and think I was great and all that. Sometimes you’d downright tell me I was stupid and needed to get my shit together, even though that’s not what I wanted to hear… and damn it, you were right! You were always great for that. I haven’t met anyone else in my entire life that had whatever it takes to tell me that. Guess it must take a bit of balls – most people say I intimidate them. I think that’s kind of funny – don’t you?
I don’t have much specific to say – I could go on and on and on about my feelings and all that nonsense, but, seeing as how your reception to that is unknown, I want to keep this a bit brief. I know, it’s long already, but brief for me, I guess, right? I hope you’re not too angry with me for not writing you sooner or more often. I hope you don’t think I’m dishonest when I say I want to write you. I’m just…afraid to. Afraid of being rejected, I guess. Which is stupid, of course! By being afraid of rejection and afraid to try, that’s just the same as getting rejected! And hopefully you can be honest enough to tell me if you’re tired of my antics, because I can just leave you alone if you wish. If you want me to write you once a month, I can do that too! Or once a week, or every day. Well, maybe every day. Some days are busier than others in the Marine Corps.
I’m gonna get to bed and send this in the morning. You know, it was helpful to even just write some of this down. Maybe I should just…keep a journal? Heh. I hope [letter left unfinished].
– PFC Durden (the only name I hear anymore) Or, you can still call me J (it’d be kind of nice, actually…haven’t heard it in a while!)
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Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Keesler Saga IV: Foreshadowing

What is Dead Men Tell No Tales? It is a selection of (hitherto) undisclosed, private ruminations and epiphanies. Most take the form of (slightly) edited letters to unnamed recipients, but some have been scavenged from the depths of private journals recently rediscovered. Over the next little while (however long it takes – days, weeks, months, years?) I’ll be posting them in episodic fashion for the reading pleasure of my nonexistent audience.

In The Keesler Saga, our melancholy author reflects on his experiences at his MOS School. Foreshadowing is aptly named as it is the last journal entry for a long time (and second to last overall); I just have a hard time with these things.
Haven’t been as studious in updating this as I wanted to be. I can’t even remember what we did on that last PT I bitched about; I know Echo Five Hotel led it, and he’s pretty quick…oh yeah! We went to the fucking beach! We ran off base and down to the beach, did a bunch of running in sand and other crazy shit, then we came back. It sucked, of course. Anyway.
For the longest damn time, my roomate has been a whiny shitbaggy slut. He’s finally getting kicked out (he claims that his parents used to beat the shit out of him while he was sleeping, so he has PTSD, and he’s “mentally unfit for service”) so that’s great. He’s always extremely disrespectful to NCOs and just about anyone. That’s been degrading my motivation and will to keep this journal and what not.
Tomorrow we’re supposed to be “killed” at PT again. Today was pretty bad – we did log drills, and the log fucked my shoulder all up. It’s like my shoulder has blisters that are popping, because it’s oozing and shit, but that’s just from the log rubbing on it. I had a headache all day after PT, probably from the log bouncing against my head, and I just wanted to sleep all day… but we had field day (which means cleaning before the 1830 formation) followed by mandatory study at a cafe across the street from the barracks for about an hour followed by me having to go get chows for the platoon… I got about an hour nap and cleaned at around 1730 and just had chow at the cafe. The nap took some of the edge off of the headache.
Weekend’s coming up. Oorah!

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Keesler Saga III: Venting

What is Dead Men Tell No Tales? It is a selection of (hitherto) undisclosed, private ruminations and epiphanies. Most take the form of (slightly) edited letters to unnamed recipients, but some have been scavenged from the depths of private journals recently rediscovered. Over the next little while (however long it takes – days, weeks, months, years?) I’ll be posting them in episodic fashion for the reading pleasure of my nonexistent audience.

In The Keesler Saga, our melancholy author reflects on his experiences at his MOS School. Venting recounts the daily stress of training at Keesler while trying to maintain a positive attitude.
Today we had PT at 0600. It was just my class, the “baby” class, which consists of 11 Marines at the moment. Echo Four Whiskey, Echo Three Sierra, Echo Three Asa, Echo Two Delta, Echo Two Alpha, Echo Two Golf, Echo Two Alpha Deuce, Echo Two Charlie, Echo Two Hotel, Echo Two Bravo, and Echo Two Hotel Deuce. We did a deck of pain – each of us had a hand of cards, the number signifying how many repetitions of an exercise (determined by the suit) we did. Diamonds were POW push-ups (do X amount of push ups, and then X amount of military presses with weights on your knees), Spades were Hindu squats, Hearts were lunges, and Clubs were military presses. We each had ~20 lbs in weight the entire time and we went through the entire deck. (Face cards were 15 reps, and aces were 20.)
Class was terrible. We’re in the semiconductors block, learning about power amplifiers (which involves transistors in various configurations – single ended, phase shifter, push-pull, complimentary and darlington pair to name a few) and doing Labvolt. Labvolt consists of plugging a circuit board into a computer and “having at it,” while the directions make little sense and the math hardly works out. (1/1 is slightly less than 1? 6.2 is more than 8? What the fuck?) On the plus side, we got to joke around with Echo Five Hotel a bit.
We didn’t get out until 1740, and so Alpha and I went straight to chow. We had a field day formation at 1830 that we just barely made, and from there we had to field day. I was secured around 1920 but had to go pick up chows for the morning, which I did with Hotel Deuce and Echo Two Sierra Deuce (the only female student in all of TMDE). I got back around 2020 and realized I needed to do my laundry so I started that. When I changed it over at 2100 or so, ONE OF THE WASHERS WAS MALFUNCTIONING AND BASICALLY SOAKED MY CLOTHES WITHOUT DOING A SPIN CYCLE. So that’s pretty fucking gay. Hopefully shit will dry, BECAUSE WE HAVE PT A HALF HOUR EARLIER TOMORROW SO WE CAN DO SOME GOD DAMNED STUPID LONG ASS RUN OR SOME BULLSHIT. Ugh.
Our next dynamic learning exercise will be Labvolt. We will be doing a lot of them. Ready…learn! Red, red, green, ONE! Red, red, green, TWO! Red, red, green, THREE!
Funny/awkward moment of the day: as I’m returning from putting my laundry in the wash, my foot crashes into the door in the hallway (so it sounds like I ran into the glass door). I don’t make it very far into the hallway before Echo Four Whiskey, Echo Six Romeo, and Echo Three Zulu look straight at me. I freeze, awkwardly, unsure of what to do and milking in the awkwardness. This of course drags me into a discussion with them, in which I get to tell Echo Six Romeo about my brother’s bastard child, much to the amusement of all. “Built on a foundation of love, trust, alcohol and unwanted children, his is a marriage born to last! By the way, the first two were sarcastic.”

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Keesler Saga II: Reflection

What is Dead Men Tell No Tales? It is a selection of (hitherto) undisclosed, private ruminations and epiphanies. Most take the form of (slightly) edited letters to unnamed recipients, but some have been scavenged from the depths of private journals recently rediscovered. Over the next little while (however long it takes – days, weeks, months, years?) I’ll be posting them in episodic fashion for the reading pleasure of my nonexistent audience.

In The Keesler Saga, our melancholy author reflects on his experiences at his MOS School. Fresh Start is an earnest attempt at journal keeping.
I suppose I should keep a diary of sorts. It has been a long time since I’ve logged my life. A lot has happened in the mean times. It’s been nearly…three(?) years. I still haven’t talked to Haley, though I have tried to once or twice, I think. I noticed one day, for instance, that I was listed as a “hero” of hers on her MySpace and tried to send a probing letter… it was probably fairly scathing, and summarily ignored. This was, of course, before I made the decision to join the Marine Corps.
There is much to write of that. I am nearly done with my first year of service, after all, and I haven’t even written anything about it. Reflection is a skill I tend not to employ. I have become an extremely private person. I don’t like sharing myself with others. I remember how I used to desire so ardently to get out of my house and “live my own life” free from the influence of my mother. Away from her I could be my own person. Yet as soon as I got away, I didn’t know what to do, and met with several failures, I receded further into myself.
I don’t really count myself as having many friends as this point. I am well liked by the people I like, I suppose. And I suppose, in some way, I am cared about. And yet, I am uncomfortable sharing myself with people. I just don’t trust anyone with my feelings. I don’t know if I am afraid of rejection or afraid of being thought less of. I don’t know. I am afraid of being alone but that fear of isolation is separating me from the possibility of ever being meaningfully close to anyone.
These are all general statements that could be elaborated on later. I always do this in my first entries. I need to discuss my family, life in Bellingham, life in exile, life in the Corps. I need to talk about people I knew, things I did, things I’m doing. The night is late tonight. I need to wake up in two or three hours and do some homework for my semiconductors block (we are learning about transistors as used in amplifiers – common emitter, common collector, and common base) and then PT at 0600.
But I’ll leave with a funny story of sorts. Last week, on Thursday (before we were released for the weekend) I’m taking a leak in the head. I fill in from the left, as dictated by Man Law, when suddenly someone fills in the stall to my direct right. This being a breach in Man Law, I look over, expecting to see one of my class mates and to engage in some awkward conversation. However, instead, I see Echo Six Romeo, the chief instructor of the school. I lock my head forward and awkwardness ensues.
Then he says something I definitely didn’t expect. “That’s a nice watch you’ve got there, Durden.” Mulling that over, reveling in the awkwardness, all I can manage to say is “Uhh… thanks, Echo Six.” After we finish our business, on my way out, I say “I would have complimented you for your watch, but I was afraid of the implications.”
This is a long running joke at the school house (the “nice watch so-and-so”) and I’ll relate the original tale some other time. I feel like “signing off” but that’s rather stupid. I do wish to say, however, that I am more used to being referred to by my last name or by a nick name than my first name at this point. No one calls me “John” anymore. My heart sank a little, writing that. I used to want to be special to someone, anyone.