a reoccurring question that has surfaced recently
By the time Wally was sixteen, he constructed a lifestyle that mimicked a soldier’s. He got rid of all his things until his bedroom was threadbare except for the essentials. His routine was this:
His self discipline was something that my mother couldn’t complain about. But I’m sure that my once-missionary parents would have preferred it if this discipline went into becoming a monk, rather than a soldier.
He never openly talked about his plans to join the military. Perhaps he didn’t want to open the possibility of receiving criticism. Whatever his reasoning was, a verbal announcement of his intentions was not necessary to signal the inevitable. A few weeks before his eighteenth birthday, Wally went to talk to an army recruiter. They ran the standard tests, and gave him the standard spiel. I’m sure he knew exactly what to expect, his life had been leading up to this point for a while now. Wally talked to the recruiter for a few weeks but after a month in he still hadn’t made an official decision yet.
Then, my parents got a call from the recruiter. Apparently Wally hadn’t returned any of his calls lately. I can just imagine my dad’s “huh?” in response to this bit of information. Wally never said mentioned anything about not calling back and his day to day behavior had no new shifts. I’m not sure if my parents directly ask him about what happened. But he continued not to take the recruiters calls. And that’s how we found out that Wally wasn’t going to join the Army anymore.
I’m not sure if my parents ever directly asked him about the sudden switch in his decision. But I don’t think I’ll ever risk the chance to do so myself.
Maybe knowing that he is qualified and capable of joining the army was enough, he didn’t have to go through the experience first hand. Or maybe he realized that the armed forces was not actually the same as his glorified perception of it. Maybe he decided to put those plans on hold and pursue other interests.
It wasn’t enough to play with green plastic army men—Wally had to be one. So for Halloween he convinced a group of his friends and our younger brother to join him in actualizing his vision. Donning green face and matching uniforms, they positioned their props to make a tableau vivant; one boy cocked his arm with a grenade in hand, another crouched while cradling a rifle, and a third pointed into the distance, holding his binoculars with his other hands. At Wally’s signal, the group rearranged, transitioning into a salute, then another scene was imagined.
I’m not sure when Wally became obsessed with all things army. I was too busy with my hula hoops, and unread books to take note of the shift in his interests. But his old drawing notebook documents the transition of his interests. Long past his dinosaur phase, which took up the first third of the notebook, he drew sea turtles and baleen whales. But then he started to add in people and machinery emerged. Now he drew packs of men in military uniforms, holding guns.
You Found Yoshi turned 6 today!
Get on my level.
TURNT UP? more like learnt up. stay in school
— when my mother struggles to spell a word in english
I want to break the entire language
into little pieces
so the edges of these letters
will stop cutting her
— aysha via Diaspora Defiance
— Elizabethan pornography, according to my linguistics professor
can’t promise that. but at the very least things will be different.