Chapter 19 - Semper Fidelis
8:47 AM | Author: Jeff
It was six thirty five in the morning; Tom had spent the last few days, working out of his motel room. He was accustomed to spending most of his time in big hotels with well known names in cities like New York, Paris, London and Tokyo, the motel named Country Inn just outside of Twin Oakes was so small and homely, that it could almost be considered roughing it from Tom’s perspective. Indeed many of his peers would rather make the long trip to a bigger city just to enjoy the comforts, which are associated with the term five star hotel. But for Tom the Country Inn was perfect. Tom had come to pay his respects to a great man and somehow by staying so close to where Henry Sutherland had been born, lived and died, just felt right.
He slept little, between phone calls to clients and his office, he thought of little else but his personal hero and savior, Sergeant Sutherland, and the promise he had made to watch over Jay Sutherland, a promise he had no intention of falling back on.
Tom stood rubbing his weary, red eyes, he needed sleep, and lots of it, he just didn’t know where he could find it. Whenever he closed his eyes, his mind filled with memories of a war, a war in which he and a handful of other men had fought and bled together, each man committed to keeping himself and his buddies safe and alive at all cost, and leading them was big Papa bear. He thought about each of them, his squad, his buddies, his brothers, many of them had died on that foreign soil. Of the handful of them who had made it home Tom was one of the few still alive, he could see each of their faces as he searched for sleep each night. For years he had fought to suppress the memory of that time, and he had succeeded, only relapsing with the assistance of alcohol, but when Sergeant Sutherland had died, the floodgate of his past had been re-opened.
The phone rang and Tom answered it.
“Tom Baker here.” He said, in the manner he always answered the phone.
“Tom its Jay Sutherland, I’m sorry for calling so early, I hope I didn’t wake you.”
“No, not at all, I’m an early riser, how are you doing?” Tom’s concern was genuine, Jay could feel it, he could also hear weariness in his voice.
“I’m doing better I guess, hard to sleep sometimes, without Pops around.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean in my own sort of way.”
There was a moment of silence, both men lost in their own thoughts.
“Sorry” began Jay, “The reason why I called is that I have decided to join the corps.”
“The Corps?” asked Tom slightly taken by surprise. “Why the marines, if you don’t mind me asking, with this money and your grades as sound as they are you could attend any of the best universities in the country.”
“If the corps was good enough for you and Pops then it’s plenty good for me.” Replied Jay.
“I know Jay, but the situation isn’t quite the same, I had to go, at that time when the country called, you answered it was that simple, if I had had a choice like you do now, I doubt I would have ever donned a uniform. As for you grandfather, he chose the corps, as it was his best option, it was either the marines or working the mines like his father had. I don’t think he’d have wanted the soldier’s life for you Jay.”
“You’re wrong Tom, Pops loved the Corps, he loved serving his country, the marines gave him the chance to prove his worth, just like it’ll give me, and college can wait.”
“Ok, Jay, I respect your decision even if I don’t fully understand or agree with it.”
“I’m heading off to enlist tomorrow; I can’t stay here anymore, just too real for me. Can you take care of the sale of the house and everything within it?”
“How about we talk through those details, when you finished basic training?”
“Ok, Tom.”
Ok and Jay.”
“Good luck”
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"Wow. That's awesome. I like how you write, it's unique and descriptive and paints an image for you. when i was reading this first chapter, i could just picture this becoming a blockbuster movie or something." ...Toni Brolin

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I'm supposed to be doing all sorts of things--writing cards, laundry, decorating and what happens? You put up another Chapter! So much for my schedule. Ooh, it's a good one, though that's for sure. What a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what Sabian has to say. Really good tense stuff, but with just the right poignancy."...