The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Friday, November 09, 2018

My Vision in Blues

    Sometimes, love grows patiently from familiar friendship. Sometimes it searches and hunts: in bars, churches, and on websites. Sometimes, love comes down the stairs, stuns you silly, and sweeps you off your feet.

    I enlisted in the Air Force in April of 1994. In late May, I graduated from Basic Training and was transferred to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey for “tech school.” This was where the Air Force was going to teach me to do the job it wanted me to do. In order to ease the transition to the regimented environment of life in the “regular” Air Force from the highly regimented environment of Basic Training, tech schools have implemented a four-phase program with progressively fewer restrictions. The most significant change comes between second phase, in which a person is required to wear a uniform every time he leaves the building and has a curfew seven days a week, and third phase, in which he is only required to wear a uniform during duty hours and has no curfew over the weekend.

    This is where I was on Saturday, July 23rd: on the cusp of third phase. Sunday morning, at midnight, I would get to taste freedom for the first time in months. But there was no need to wait for midnight for the fun to begin. My roommate, Andy, and I had a plan: get into our blues uniforms and head down to the Enlisted Club for a few hours, head back to the room by 11 (our curfew), have an hour to change, then head out at midnight looking for fun and excitement in our real-people clothes.

    On our way out, we swung by the main stairwell to sign out with the Dorm Guard — we were still on phase, after all. I was delighted to see Joan, one of my first friends at DLI — she had fed me freshly baked cookies during my first lonely weekend when most folks had fled the base to do whatever it is they did.

    “Going to the E-Club?”

    I was so excited, I could barely contain my response. “Yeah. Then, we’ll phase up at midnight, and who knows after that!”

    “Would you mind escorting a friend of mine?” She asked. “She’s a bit nervous walking through the woods in the dark.”

    Of course I agreed, and Joan called up the stairs “Saundra? I have some friends that will walk with you,” and she descended. A vision in blues, she was wearing tight jeans and a two-tone, curve-hugging body suit with laces that half-hid and half-accentuated her cleavage. Her face glowed. I was acutely aware of her strong cheekbones and the most adorable gap between her front teeth. Dumbstruck, I was barely able to introduce myself.

    Nevertheless, on Joan’s recommendation, she joined us, walking down the hill in the darkness of insufficient lighting in the woods, a princess flanked by her military escort. We came to a section where the hill is so steep, irregular cement steps had been embedded into the hillside. Saundra didn’t see well in low light and was wearing heels, so she requested an arm to steady herself. My excitement for approaching freedom had soared to giddiness at approaching freedom next to a beautiful woman, so rather than offer her my arm, I simply scooped her up and carried her down the stairs, as if over a threshold.

    If you ask her today, Saundra will tell you that I said, “Never fear, Milady. I shall carry you.” I don’t remember saying anything like that, but my memories have been a bit hazy since she came down the stairs in the barracks. In any case, that is the moment that she says she knew. I didn’t even realize the next night, when we sat on a park bench looking out at Monterey Bay for three hours; I’m a bit slow. But we’ve been married for twenty-one years now. Sometimes, when you least expect it, love comes downstairs, stuns you silly, and sweeps you off your feet.



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