When I was twenty-eight, younger than my daughter is today, I was facing the likelihood of a court-martial.
I followed a Marine sergeant down a polished corridor, past the clacking of typewriters and murmurs behind the closed doors of Military Police Headquarters, and pretended to be unafraid, as if I had nothing to hide, as if on the way there that morning I hadn’t seriously mapped out a plan for desertion. Inhaling and exhaling in the same forced rhythm of a runner pacing through a psychological wall, I was committed to a marathon of sorts, and so I was breathing in and breathing out, matching foot speed and cadence with the young Marine ahead of me: a machinated force, we were, matching left foot and right, left arm and right, until he pulled up short in front of a closed door. My toe stubbed against the heel of his boot. Acting politely unaware, he pushed open the door and stepped aside for me to enter. He wore well his role of consummate Marine, refusing the eye contact I was desperate to interpret.
“The captain will be with you shortly, Ma‘am,” he said.
I forced a smile. “Thank you, Sergeant.” After he disappeared behind the closed door, I heard those machine-like limbs working their way back down the corridor.
This was March 1987. The year Prozac made its debut. Gasoline was eighty-nine cents a gallon; the cost to mail a letter, just twenty-four cents. Televangelist Jim Bakker had self-destructed, much the same way I had, by way of sex-scandal.
** The remainder of this archived essay has been removed at the publisher’s request. The book from which this essay has been excerpted may be purchased at Amazon.
Read our interview with Tracy Crow here.
Tracy Crow is an assistant professor of creative writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the nonfiction editor of Prime Number magazine. Her essays and short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. Under the pen name Carver Greene, Crow published the conspiracy thriller An Unlawful Order, the first in a new series to feature a military heroine.
Excerpt reprinted from Eyes Right by Tracy Crow, by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright (2012) by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.