I had someone online mention the perils of marrying a servicemember. I had heard a few horror stories about both parties that had stuck with me. For starters; the vast majority of those were wound up 18 and 19-year olds, fresh out of high school that had an unrealistic “Hollywood” idea of how a supposed romance was supposed to happen. It was the infamous “girl back home” and it usually led to “Ima gonna ask her to marry me”. (Hint: Society doesn’t support this kind of crap anymore). The irony behind the story I am presenting to you is that the two parties involved were both servicemembers.
“Tex” was a buddy I knew from electronics school. He was there when I had my run ins with “Mona”. We always had a great time when we ran into each other. He was a bit of a character. Tex was a relatively thin but somewhat muscular dude. When he was in civilian clothes, it was always either a flat black or white shirt paired with jeans. He finished off his signature look with a big black cowboy hat. (Notably appropriate for a guy from Texas!) You couldn’t miss him from a mile away.
He always seemed to be in a relatively good mood. People knew him as a lighthearted guy after bad news who didn’t stay mad. He was always game to go out with various people or even go to the club across the street. I never saw him chasing after chicks when we ran into him out in public. This wasn’t a big deal but it would be a notable detail.
During coffee breaks and around lunch; I would see him hang out with a chick I’ll call “Olive”. She was known for being skinny and an inch taller than me. Olive towered over Tex, even with his cowboy hat on. It was comical but they seemed happy. After my misadventures with a chick I was seeing and Mona; it was nice to see someone else have a nice relationship. It accelerated at light speed.
Tex and Olive came up to me one night, decked out in “nice enough clothes”. They told me that they eloped at the courthouse. I, of course, congratulated them. (Contrary to popular belief, I want other people’s whirlwind relationships to work out). I hadn’t heard much out of them for my few remaining weeks up in Northern Illinois. I left as I had previously mentioned in another posting.
I hadn’t thought much of old Tex and Olive as I survived another school (and my subsequent bouts of drinking/depression). I had a blast overseas and was promoted. I started leaving the memory of electronics school behind me. I was walking back from the store one day (in Florida where my ship was home ported) when I stumble on Tex, decked out in his obligatory cowboy hat and boots. We started off talking about our ships and what we were doing in our jobs. I mentioned finishing up a deployment. We got into personal relationships. I mentioned being a free agent. I looked at his hand. I didn’t see a ring. (I don’t think very much of it considering it is a safety issue at work, think of losing a finger or getting your finger welded to a bus bar in an electrical panel). He eventually came around to telling me the news.
I am forced into watering his words down. Their marriage hit the proverbial shitter quickly after I had left the area. He did everything short of wish her a slow death. She didn’t make it down to Florida and I am under the impression that they didn’t work it out when he went to additional training at another base.
I don’t blame either one for all of the relationship’s downfall. It was equally as ugly on both sides. I chocked it up to the idiocy of being cooped up together and the idea that marriage is some ironclad institution. It is a bad idea for servicemembers (or anyone in an equally stressful operational environment). It is beyond bad for two servicemembers to get married to each other.
Tex, if you are out there, keep your head up. Next beer is on me. I hope your future relationships go better.
(For the “Mona” story; feel free to read https://freemattpodcast.wordpress.com/2019/10/24/mala-flos-my-false-rape-accusation-story/ )