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Chapter Six (Requiem Eternum)
Subchapter Brenda

The stench of the pine oil from the floors in the barracks didn’t bother me anymore after that. I didn’t have to go to the club anymore. I had everything I’d ever wanted right there. THE perfect chick. I mean it too dear reader. She was everything I’d described, and more. She was basically me with tits. Bigun’s too!

“Alex, there’s a guy here (on her base) that is from Jacksonville (my base) Aaaaand he’s going home for Thanksgiving! Could you stand some company for the weekend?”
Before my mind could wrap itself around the prospect I yelled into the phone,
“Hellll yeah woman! Get yer ass up here and we’ll have us a grand old time!”

So that was it. This would be our first face to face as an honest to God couple! I was siked personally. In the name of honesty we had to run the whole concept and possibility by her Mom. Her response was that if it is legal and ok in the eyes of the Church what could she say? Besides she already knew me and loved me. She thought the idea was great.

I had a shitton of friends off base. Civilian ones. I told them about her, and that I’d be cooking Thanksgiving dinner, but where? Since the advent of adulthood various songs come to mind when things happen to me. This instance? “I get by with a little help from my friends…” I’d just finished helping my friend Brandon move all his gear and shit to a trailer off base. However, he wasn’t moving his blushing bride up quite yet, and was going home to Florida for that weekend. I asked if I could use the facilities, and he said “Of course, just don’t trash the fuckin place man”. I hadn’t really planned on doing that but you never know. So the word was out. We had a place. I didn’t have a car or a license yet. Growing up in a city you don’t really need one. Problem was, I wasn’t in the city anymore. There were girls in the group, guys also. It was a good mix of folks. I told my platoon that if they weren’t going home for the holiday they should come out. A couple of them actually did instead of going to the USO to eat the one slice of precooked turkey and canned hams and cranberries. They mean well, they just suck at making a lonely Marine happier. I did always appreciate the effort though. At least they gave a fuck enough to show up. I had never actually cooked such a dinner for thirty people. I had always just helped with this or that. Never did the whole damn thing by myself. I was counting on Brenda to lend a hand as she’d been to my house.

My entire family are cooks. On Sunday the gravy would be stirred and tested a thousand times over. Dad always yelling when something was changed or being attempted to be changed.
“Leave da gravy da fuck alone I was cookin’ when you wah liquid. Aright kid? So…screw.”

He actually liked the attention the gravy always got because he’d always get a loaf of Scala sliced and put it on a platter next to the gravy. You were to use the bread not your goddamn fingers.
So I called the family and asked how to do it. I wrote out my lists, and recipes, and got to the Food Lion. At the time I knew the basics of cooking, so I wasn’t sweating it too too hard.

So… the house was clean. The kitchen spotless as was the bathroom. The bed was made. Aaron brought beer the night before she was to arrive. I was nervous.

In his usual lax manner he declared, “Maaaan, you ain’t got nothing’ to sweat. It’ll go great, now drink.”
This was his recipe for anything that could or would go wrong in life. Beer. It served its’ purpose once in a while. The phone rang at the house. I rushed and answered.
“Hey baby.” Her voice was soft and loving. I love that kind of voice.
“Hey gorgeous.” I said smiling through the phone.
“What are ya doin’?”
“Cleaning up, getting ready…thinking about you.”
“I’m smiling too.”
“I know”
“I’m…I’m kinda nervous.”
At this I had to laugh. Honesty is a great thing in all things. We ended up laughing together, and it seemed like the stress of it all had melted away through a mutual understanding of nerves.
“I love you so much Brenda.”
“I love you too Alex.”
“He doesn’t drink does he?”
“Who John?” (the guy driving my love to me)
“Well he does but he won’t be while he’s driving my ass.”
“If anything happens…”
She interrupted, “Everything that is going to happen will be great and happy. Alex, this is a thing that’s destined. I mean..the day I met you I knew. I knew we’d be together. I knew God couldn’t allow someone like you to not be in my life. As my friend, and as my Love. So, don’t worry about the stupid life things. Worry about loving me and the world can take second fiddle, fuck em.” God I love this woman!

EXACTLY like me but with tits. Poetic, predestined, and foul mouthed. Exactly like me.

The sky that morning was grey and overcast. The low clouds flew by in a hurry, and the stench of blandly cooked food emanated from the chow halls on base. Not many runners improving their killing bodies today. Most were home, wherever home was, for the holidays. Even the biggest prick Marine on base had a home complete with parents and siblings that loved them. If they only knew…

Aaron and I sat on the back of his red truck. He’d taken me to get her a ring from the jewelry store at the local mall. It wasn’t a diamond, nor was it anything fancy. She didn’t like that kind of stuff. The meaning behind it was what really mattered. That I love her and no other. And she me. The truck pulled into the parking lot. I didn’t know if I should do the running to her on the sandy beach thing, or simply go to her. I opted for the latter.
“Live simply, so you can simply live.”
Her huge brown eyes met mine through the shiny glass of the passenger window. He hair cropped short (WM style woman Marine), but it was her. IT WAS HER! My face exploded into a grin that didn’t go away for days. She got out slowly, and I was to her before she stepped onto the pavement. So I helped her out by picking her up. I twirled and smelled her. I always loved the way she smelled. A combination of Aussie hair stuff, flowers, and… God. That’s it! She smelled like a goddess should. So there we laughed and sniffed and kissed and laughed some more. For about five minutes.

Aaron and John said their hellos I think. Truly I’m not sure. The world’s noises and theirs kind of melted from my consciousness. I couldn’t actually hear their words. They seemed pleasant enough so I left it alone. Her…ah. Even now I grin thinking about her. I couldn’t hear the helicopters flying, nor the gunboats riding the waves, nor the various engines running. Just her breathing and laughing with me in my arms. I was in heaven.

Aaron grabbed her stuff and threw it into the back of his truck, and was waiting to take us to our “home”. I set her down gingerly, though she’s in truth tougher than me, but still. She turned to John. His only words as he too was now smiling,
“Monday Brenda. We’re gone at zero eight. Bye guys!” With that he was gone, and Aaron was blaring Doctor Dre.
“I brought you a cd Alex. It’s a band I saw in a club in Orlando.” She got in and was riding bitch (hell with that I'm six feet she was five feet)
“What the name?” Aaron multitasked spitting his dip into the can and hitting eject on the good Doctor.

So we rocked Pantera to the hizz. We settled in, and Aaron left. It was just me and her. I’d always dreamt or thought about just such a moment. We’d been alone a million and one times, but never in such a context. And as we all know, context is everything.

I had a day to prepare the food, and already the phone was ringing. Friends wanting to know when to drop what off, and could they meet Brenda. Of course I had been bragging on her since the fated phone call that made us an Us. How beautiful she is, and how smart she is, and how cool she is…how everything she is.
“Are we going to have any time alone?” She asked curled up on the couch. She smiled coyly, as she tucked her little feet under her ass.
“I’ll call you back” and promptly hung up on my friends.
I went to her on the couch, and kissed her with as much love as two lips could manage.
“Do you not want to do the dinner thing? Cuz I’ll just cancel the whole friggin thing now if you want.”
Knowing damn full well I meant it she smiled, “No I just love being near you again.”
“Tell you what. You go take a nap and when you wake up you can freshen up, and I’ll call everyone over to meet you. In the meantime I’ll get some food cooking and prepped ok?”
“I feel like a celebrity…how many people are coming over to meet me?”
“I dunno. Twenty, thirty. I’m not exactly sure.”
“You could make friends in solitary confinement.”
We laughed together again and off she went. I always hated to see her leave but I always loved watching her go. The double entrendre wasn’t lost on me though. To be in the hole and make a friend one would have to be… She always knew me the best out of everyone on the planet. My own Ma included.

The phone calls didn’t stop all day, and I turned the ringer down in case it would disturb her. I checked in on her every now and again. Smiling every time I saw her. She wasn’t like an angel to me, she was like a Goddess to me. A Goddess that I personally knew, and would soon gain access to her heavenly pants.

One thing I didn’t remember, or that had been on the back burner… she was a virgin. I was not. Not that this was anything big or complicated to the relationship, but love making (to me) is an expression of humanity and our concept of “Love”. If you loved someone… you fucked em. Sometimes you just fuck because you want to or the opportunity arises. The latter cheapens it, but still.

After a couple hours friends showed without having called because I’m a fairly relaxed guy. Rules aren’t all that important, especially ones of etiquette amongst friends. They came in with the plastic bags full of goodies and the bags woke her. Through the conversations I’d heard the shower get turned on, so I excused myself to make sure she had everything she’d need, and maybe sneak a peek.
I started to open the bathroom door,
“Babe you got…”
and it was promptly slammed on my head.
“Sorry” I said laughing aloud at the slight pain a trailer’s door can make to one’s head, and the awkwardness of having tried to sneak a peek and being not only busted but denied.
“You need anything?”
“Oh…ok. There’s a bunch of people out here.”
“I know…” the door opened and her head popped out. “I love you.” The spark in her eyes... even in retrospect it's electrifying.
“Just looking at you makes me feel drunk.”

She’d always understood my weird compliments and sayings. She smiled and washed up. All the girls wanted to meet the chick that had landed me, and all the guys wanted to as well…but for different reasons (most of them anyways). We’d gone out many many times to the bars and clubs, and on more than one occasion I’d turned my nose up at some chick or wouldn’t dance with one doing the ass bump to me. Such women never interested me. Ever. It didn't matter what their story was or how beautiful they were. It always seemed they had more to give than just love. Something that would last a lifetime. And no, it didn’t come with a money back guarantee.

Out she came, and I looked around the room to see if she affected them as she did me. Was my perspective prejudiced because I actually knew her personally?
Nope. A resounding nope. Everyone said Hi at the same times, and she shyly smiled at them all and returned the salutation. Her eyes searched the room for me and found me. They lit up even more than they usually did.
"I love you." She mouthed.

The plan was to hit a club later on, then go to a friends’ house and party some more there. She was dressed to the nines, not really, jeans and a t-shirt but she could make a body cast look good. But when I’d dance and get close to her, she’d move away. I’d try to kiss her, and she’d tell me to fuck off. I was confused. I’d never really had anyone do this. I’m told it’s called playing hard to get, but … I got her. I thought. Weird that she’d do foolish human stuff. Then again I’d never been in this position with her either so I played it off. The club was dead so we rolled to the house.

Music blaring, folks dancing, garbage can full of jungle juice. I pulled her outside. We smoked our cigarettes, and looked at the stars. We bumped heads in a primitive I love you gesture.
“I love you”
“I know”
“I got you something”
She lit up, “oo what is it?”
“Not a proper one but I got you a ring.”
I handed her the box, and she opened it smiling.
“Alex, it’s called a promise ring.”
She then went on to explain that whole concept.
“I’m out of smokes babe.”
“Be right back.”

I went inside to see if anyone else needed squares or something else from the store. The answer was no so I hoofed to the store with Aaron who was thoroughly drunk off his ass. On returning we found that the cops had come to break up the party. I’d be damned if anyone, cops included, would fuck with Brenda. All the Marines were to be returned post haste to the Base Provost, and we’d been whisked away before I could speak with her.

So I’m stuck on base for about a half hour. She was there with my civilian friends, but I’m not there. We got there as soon as we possibly could.

Back at the house the cops had left and she was there safe and sound. A little pissed but what could I do about it.

Now, before we’d even gotten to the club, even before she got to the parking lot that morning I had certain expectations of our newfound relationship.

On the phone there was a LOT more “I love you” a lot more of what I’d consider relationship talk, rather than the usual, “I’m doing X,Y,Z what have you been up to?” We discussed sex, future plans, having a family etc. She was much more loving to me than she’d even been before, which was saying a lot because we loved each other deeply. So when she came, and we were officially an Us, I expected the talk to manifest. It didn’t. In fact, quite the opposite happened. I’d move to give her a little smooch on the way by her while making the Thanksgiving dinner, and she’d brush me away telling me to fuck off. I’m not sure if it was her way of flirting, goofing, she’s raggin’ whatever it was, it definitely fucked me up. I suppose I’d mistranslated the intentions, or had taken our previous relationship and elevated it mentally. Perhaps I shouldn’t have because along with that elevation came expectations. Those weren’t met, as I’d said, even by a Goddess.

But that was cool with me. The dinner went well enough, everyone ate and was full afterwards. Later that night we finished ourselves off with a bunch of booze in true Marine Corps style. Even funerals aren’t complete without booze in some form or fashion. Nothing physical ever transpired between us, other than kissing. Not even groping! In retrospect, perhaps it was for the best.

The day came where she was to leave, and I gave her my childhood teddy bear named Fred. Yes a Marine with his childhood teddy bear. More double entendres for you. He had no eyes, and was completely flat from years of being used as a pillow. Fred rocked man. I miss that bear sometimes. So away she went with my bear and a ring. I had her stuff in the bed of the truck, gave her a huge hug and the sweetest kiss I could muster. Told her again that I loved her.

And said goodbye.

I never saw Brenda again.

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by Robert Walker

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