Chapter 19: So long Jacksonville...

So with orders posted, it was time for me to wind down my time in good ol' Jacksonville. I wanted to do as much as possible prior to leaving, so every weekend, I made it a point to live it big.  There were many weekends that I spent at the beach with my friends from Boston and Maine. My friend rented a beach house and held awesome parties all the time. I went a couple times but realized that I was more of a babysitter than a partier.
One of the guests drank a lot and kept scaring me. He would run off into the ocean and not come back for hours. Feeling like a mother hen, I knew I couldn't put him on a leash, so I poured chem lights all over him. All night, I would see a bolt of lightning running across the beach. He may have looked like a freak of nature, but I kept him alive. Or at least in my head I thought I did.
One weekend that stands out in my mind is when I went down to Myrtle Beach with my ex. We dated for about a year and once he was transferred to Virginia, it was hard to keep the relationship going. This was the first time that had seen him since we had broken up, so it was a little odd. This was almost the first time that he had seen me since I turned 21, so he didn't know what was in store.
One thing about my ex is that in the time that we dated, he had never seen me dance, mainly because I cannot dance. I am like a loose cannon. When they say "white girls can't dance", they are talking about me. I have zero rhythm. But he found out of the hard way.
After a few drinks, I was determined that I had moves. I went out onto the dance floor. My arms were flying everywhere. You would swear that I was trying to rebound a basketball. Then I had the hips shaking. I am pretty sure that everyone at Mother Fletcher's that night was wondering if my drink was laced with crazy, because I looked straight crazy. He just stared at me thinking, "What happened to my sweet Diana?" After a night of crazy dancing, I passed out that night. And that is the last memory that he has of me. Flying arms and me thinking that I could get my groove on. Oh not a good picture.
I still had more lessons to learn, like stop trying to be a mother to every Marine that comes into my life. One field day night, it was pouring down rain. I noticed a friend of mine who was too drunk to move walk by my barracks room. Knowing that I had an extra bed in my room, I had him pass out in my bed and I took the other. I had the window open as I loved the smell of rain. Next thing I know, I heard him moaning and then I heard some water pouring out - but it wasn't water. I guess the sound of the water relaxed him and he peed all over my bed. 3 pm in the damn morning prior to Field Day Inspection. He had completely stripped down, laid in the bed naked and peed through my comforter, sheets and mattress. I took my green wool blanket and rolled him into it and rolled him onto the floor. I had to wash all my bedding and then re-field day the laundry room since I used it after it was secured.  Lesson learned: Let the drunks stumble past your room. Don't let them piss on your night.
The highlight of my last summer in Jacksonville was going to Woodstock. Never did I think that I would ever go to something like this. I went with two guys from the squadron. Never would I think that one of those guys would be my future husband. It was an expensive trip and I had zero money. Going on that trip, I had $20 to my name, but was embarrassed to admit it. The guys paid for the gas, lodging, etc. I just had to pay for the necessities, like my food. I almost cried when we got there and everything cost $5. That means for a 5 day trip, I could only spend $4 per day. Basic math tells me that Diana will go hungry. I survived on watermelon the whole time. It's amazing how watermelon can both hydrate you and fill you up. My poor eyes saw the worst things known to man, like old naked men walking around with shriveled balls dangling in my face. Not a pretty sight, but it was an overall experience that I would never give up.
I learned a lot about myself in Jacksonville. It was my first time away from home and I learned how to be independent. Although I had some pretty bad experiences that I chose not to write about, I believe they made me a stronger person. That September, I packed up, looked behind and said good bye to two years of my life. The memories will last forever and I thank every person that was a part of my life.


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