125 Degrees

Dropping Like Flies

It didn’t take long to find out who sent the flowers. Eric shared his disapproval all day, but I had to ignore him.  We had plenty to keep us busy and couldn’t afford the luxury of a negative thought. We had been working extended hours in anticipation of a potential skirmish in the Middle East. The idea of war frightened me. I just couldn’t fathom that something like this could happen in my lifetime — wars and rumors of wars. It was surreal. Yet Eric wanted to fuss about who sent me roses? We were really tired from working 16-hour days. In fact, Super Airman fell asleep at his desk during lunch, and Colonel C. walked in and caught him — feet on his desk as usual. In his defense, he had been working non-stop until he fell asleep or passed out from lack of sleep.

What I really needed was a nap as well or a distraction or a long walk to clear my head, but it was too hot to head out this time of day.  Since I’ve been here, there’s been plenty to do — lots of things to keep my active mind occupied, but today, there was just friction and short tempers. I can attribute part of that to the uncertainty surrounding what will happen next, but it didn’t help matters that the temperature today was 125 degrees. Our commander suspended all outside activities between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM. He had personally walked down to our office to tell us but instead found Eric sprawled out in his favorite chair.

Pat was losing it too.  He was finally put on a weight program a few weeks ago, but he was still secretly snacking. EJ found his stash one evening as he was looking for file folders in the storage closet. Pat had a family to feed, and he was literally eating his way out of the Air Force.

Today I needed  a little action –not drama. I’d have to deal with that later since I learned that Adrian didn’t send the roses. I was so tired — exhausted from these long hours, weeks of worrying about what my doctor would say about my extreme lethargy, and dealing with the inevitable declaration of war. Everyone had reached their breaking point, including me.

I think I dozed off for a minute. When I opened my eyes, there were seven pairs of eyes looking down at me. I recognized the two Colonels, Pat, Eric, the two secretaries, and a strange man who was holding my hand and calling my name. I was lying on the floor, and I didn’t know why. My lip hurt, and I noticed there was blood on my uniform shirt as I attempted to sit up.

Eric and I have been competing all year — trying to prove that we’re both ready for promotion, but generally the competition was harmless until today. I think I won this round. The only one to witness the episode said I stood up and blacked out, hitting my mouth on the desk on the way down. I guess I really did need a nap after all.

Part XIV – Off the Path

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