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Rescuing a marine (Part 2/End)

Posted on Wed Sep 5th, 2018 @ 10:48am by Captain (Marine) Roland Hallowes

Mission: Episode 2: Columbus Ascending
Location: SB611 - The Wingman in the commercial area
Timeline: Current

Years of service had taught Roland how to get ready to go out in a matter of minutes. So, a few minutes after hanging up with the barman at The Wingman, Roland was headed out of his quarters neatly shaved, his hair combed, wearing a pair of brown boots under loose fitting black dress pants that had small pleats at the waist, and a long-sleeve loose-fitting pale green linen shirt.

A brisk walk and a short conversation with a fellow marine later, Roland found himself walking into the The Wingman bar. The decor of the bar was a blend of old world charm and modern elegance. Most of the walls were filled with Marine memorabilia and group shots some showing multiple generations of a single family wearing Marine uniforms while other shots were unit shots.

Robert stood behind the bar talking with 2nd Lt. Barone who sat slumped over on the other side of the bar sipping the drink in his hand.

Roland gave a nod to Robert and headed for Barone. "Sit up straight Marine!" Roland bellowed in his best imitation of his DI from Paris Island.

Barone instantly sat up straight, his head whipping around to see who was bellowing. Recovering quickly Barone raised his glass in Roland direction but his posture remained straight and steady. "Captain, join me" he offered. "A glass of your best scotch" Barone continued turning back toward the bartender.

Robert and Roland locked eyes and Roland gave a slight shake of his head, while closing the distance between them. "Taking up a new hobby? I thought you didn't drink."

"Can you blame me after what happened. Thought I'd see how the other half lives."

"Well, how about you take a break from your new hobby and join me for breakfast" Roland replied in a soft calm voice. "Gunny or is it Master Guns, can you rustle us up some bangers and eggs. And a couple cups of coffee" Roland continued looking over at Robert.

Robert broke out into a hearty belly laugh. "It's Master Guns actually but gunny will do. Was I that obvious."

"Only to a fellow Marine gunny" Roland replied over his shoulder while guiding 2nd Lt Barone over to a table at the back of the bar. "Have a seat" Roland said pointing at one of the chairs while he took the opposite seat opposite.

"I've never felt this bad before. We barely got underway" Barone said his pain evident in his voice.

"I take it you've never had to deal with the loss of someone close to you" Roland replied in low calm voice. After a nod from Barone Roland continued. "Let me let you in on a little secret. Your supposed to feel bad but it gets better. But you need to let yourself feel the pain of loss before you can get past it."

"I don't know" Barone started and then stopped in mid-sentence.

"While you are feeling bad take time to remember the crewmen we lost and remember the ship. Talk to other crewmen, share your memories of them. Remember them for how they lived, who they were."

For the next hour Roland told him what he knew about dealing with grief a subject he knew something about because of the time he spent reading about it when his grandfather had passed away. Roland went on to tell Barone what he had been doing for the first four days of their leave. Barone was shocked when Roland admitted he had spent a good deal of the time crying for those they had lost but Roland assured him it was all part of how he dealt with it.

While he talked he studied the 2nd Lieutenant's facial expressions and posture. Gradually Barone started to relax, he leaned forward, and his expression became more attentive. As one hour passed into another Roland started to tell Barone about his memories of the lost crewmen. When he spoke about those he was closest to he didn't attempt to hide how sad the loss made him.

Behind them patrons started to drift into the bar and were carefully guided to the far side of the room by Robert. He served his patrons with a cheerful grin all while keeping a watchful eye on the two at the back table.

Somewhere in his reminisces Barone held up his hand to interrupt Roland. "Didn't you order some food and coffee?"

"I did indeed" Roland replied a slight smile momentarily appearing on his face as he nodded in Robert's direction. The ever watchful barman acknowledged the nod and headed for the kitchen. "It should be here soon", Roland answered the 2nd Lieutenant and then returned to his reminisces.

As expected a few minutes later Robert appeared with breakfast and coffee for two. Carefully setting the meal before the two men without interrupting them.

"Were you close to any of the crewmen we lost" Roland asked Barone as he took his coffee from Robert's hand.

Barone took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Yes" he whispered his eyes filling with tears. "Let me tell you about them."


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