Saturday, July 7, 2007

TCC: The Sixth Crumb, Part II

Again: the trouble was over me not being allowed to drive by myself. For my parents presented a united front that appeared to be quite impregnable against me driving back and forth between Cassville and Columbia.

Yes, I could have just attended a school much closer unto home; but that would have messed things up. For I had come to know and understand that "where" someone went to school was at least as important as their grade-point average: perhaps even more so. After all: what employer really cares about the grade-point average of a Harvard graduate? That is: unless it is very, very low, of course.

Besides: I did not believe that it would have made any difference. For my parents insisted that they were only concerned with me doing well at school; but my idea of what was in my best interest was quite different from their's.

Yes, I suppose that I should have been ashamed of myself; and I was unto a certain extent. For I did feel somewhat guilty about not honoring my father and my mother as much as I should; but when the "stuff" started hitting the fan: I felt more justified about my attitude towards them than ever.

Alas, it was the beginning of a protracted end; and I did not see it coming. For I really was focusing all of my attention upon making a very good life for Sam and myself.

Yes, I quickly discovered that college was a lot harder than high school. For in just the third week of my Algebra 10 class: we were already getting into some trigonometry; and I had joined the Army R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officers Training Corps), which added a whole other level of pressure.

Thankfully: ROTC was not as hard on me as that algebra class was; and I was doing very well in it. For I was ranked #1 on their competition rifle team; and I was asked by the main instructor of the Freshman class if I would like to see if I could make it as a "Black Beret".

No, being a Black Beret was not at all like being a "Green Beret" (Army Special Forces); but it did allow its members to do some things that were more advanced. For example: rappelling; and after I got over being afraid of it: I had a blast!

My father brought Sam up for a visit in October (I think); but it was not what I hoped for. For after she left: I fell into a deep, dark depression.

Please, do not get me wrong. For I was over-joyed to see her; and as an added bonus: my dorm room-mate and several other residents of Clark House saw that I was not exaggerating about Sam's beauty, style and grace.

Nonetheless: it felt like most of my heart left with her; and the old adage: "absence makes the heart grow fonder", started to make some sense unto me. For I came to realize that it was surely an anthem unto masochists.

I also learned a thing or two about William Shakespeare. For either he was nothing at all like me in sentiment or not speaking from personal experience when he wrote: "parting is such sweet sorrow". For I found nothing sweet about it!!!

Much unto my chagrin: life went on as before; but that was about to change. For it was during a routine call home a couple of weeks later that I was told that my father would be coming-up there by himself the next Saturday.

Surprisingly: we had a relatively good time. For we went to see Mizzou beat USC (University of Southern California) in a football game at Faurot Field; and then he saw me shoot at a rifle team practice.

Now, the plan was that we would spend the night in a motel room; and then my father would head for home the next day. For driving 400 miles in one day, along with all that we had done on campus, would have been just too hard on his back.

Plans often go awry; and that was what happened when my father finally got around unto telling me why he was really there. For the truth was that he did not want me to have to hear over-the-phone that my mother, brother, and himself had seen Sam out with a boy at a Cassville High School football game the week before.

It was the first time that I ever yelled at my father without him immediately putting me back in my place. For he just calmly gathered his stuff and meekly went-out unto the car after I "insisted" upon going home NOW!!!

Yes, my father displayed a great deal of sensitivity towards my feelings by coming all the way up there just to be there for me during a time of great sorrow; but I really did not care about any of that at the time. For he was the bearer of some very bad news; and like what almost always happens in similar situations: the messenger gets hit with the initial shock-wave of such a message.

Understandably: the drive home was very much on the quiet side. For my mind was racing between scenarios of still being with Sam and being without her.

No, my father did not say a word. That is: except for occasionally asking me to stop so that he could use the restroom and get another cup of coffee.

Aha! So my driving skills were not in question after all. For if they were: would he have asked me to drive 200 miles over some very narrow roads in the dark, while being in such an emotional state?

Okay, maybe my father did have some sort of a death-wish. I certainly could not blame him if he did. For he was constantly in unbearable pain: even with all of the pain pills that he got through the V.A. (Veterans Administration); and I am sure that being so often at war with his oldest son made his life all the more worth living.

Anyway: we made it home without a scratch; but it was not a very happy reunion. For my father had regrouped quite nicely; and with my mother protecting his flanks: he proceeded to inform me that I would not be allowed to go see Sam until I had time to think about what I was going to say.

In other words: my parents did not want me going over there and begging her to stay with me; and after a few days of "thinking about it": that is exactly what I did. For she was my everything; and I was very serious about not wanting to live without her.

Despite how much I would like for it to go away: I can still feel the chill in the air when I finally got to see Sam in person; and it did not take long for me to realize that my parents hopes were close to coming true. For she had discovered that life went on very well without me; and I went back to school feeling more alone than I ever thought possible.

No, it was not that my parents had developed a dislike for Sam. For she was still a welcome member of the family.

Nonetheless: it was that my parents wanted to keep her membership in the family "unofficial" for as long as possible. For they truly dreaded the day when my umbilical cord had to be cut.

Oh yeah, there was also what happened unto Terry at the Lake Dardanelle State Park near Dardanelle, AR that I got most of the blame for (of course) the summer before. For it was my idea to race on foot unto a certain tree and back; but some blame was also assigned unto Sam. For my parents had it in their heads that I would have seen the wire that Terry tripped-over if my mind had not been so focused upon her; and they did hold it against her unto a certain extent.

Yes, it was indeed a tragedy. For Terry suffered a lacerated liver; but that was not the worst of it. For the surgeon at the hospital in Clarksville, AR was convinced that his spleen had ruptured; and Terry almost bleed to death before they finally found the problem.

He did, however, get a wicked-looking scar out of the ordeal. For the spleen and the liver are on opposite sides of the abdominal cavity; and after the surgeon made his incision in order to work on Terry's spleen: he just kept cutting across his belly until he got unto his liver.

Yes, Sam and I felt very bad about what happened unto my brother; but that was nothing in comparison unto how bad I felt after returning unto Columbia. For I could not eat, nor sleep; and I was certainly in no condition to attend classes: not even ROTC.

Talk about having a dark cloud hanging over yourself: mine had completely enveloped me. For I found myself waking around in a fog too thick to see out of.

Yes, I made some attempts to fight my way clear. A couple of them were quite heroic: even if I must say so myself.

Unfortunately: all of them still failed miserably. So: I borrowed the car of a girl from Cassville who was a year ahead of me at Mizzou; and after begging Sam to take me back for longer that I would like to reveal: she finally relented.

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