"Sold to for five hundred dollars to the lady in red..."
Those were the words that changed my life. Had I never gone there that day, had I never bought that unit, I wouldn't be on this plane heading to Kotzebue, Alaska. As remote a place in the United States as anyone could possibly get.
I barely remember winning the storage unit in the auction. I was in that much of a rush to get home that day. My parents did one of their surprise visits. Funny. I almost didn't go at all because of them, but something told me to go. I was buying the lockers for my brother who believed that there would be firearms in them that he could resell. I wasn't trying to buy anything in those lockers, but I don't know when I saw the low prices I just felt like whatever was in there had to be worth more than two hundred dollars. I loaded up the truck with a little help from some of the other people at the auction and brought the whole unit home that day. I called Benji and told him to come get them but I guess he decided to hit the beach that weekend and told me he'd get to it all later. Off but he never did. About a week later he asked if there were guns and came for those. That was all he cared about and being his self-centered self told me I could keep the rest of it to sell as a "profit" for helping him out that day.
Basically he didn't want to go to the trouble of selling the rest of it or throwing it out.
Dad helped me go through it, sorting what he felt was junk from what was valuable, but I found it all valuable. It all belonged to what I thought then was a dead marine. Someone with parents, someone with hopes and dream, someone who deserved more respect than having his belongings sold on Ebay.
"I can't do it, Dad," I told him. "It just seems like this should have gone to his family. Don't they have any way of seeing to that?"
"I don't know, pumpkin," he said with those kind eyes of his.
"Well, I'm going to find them," I said putting the stuff back in his locker. "This has to go to his family. I'll pay them for the guns."
I put the boxes away and didn't think about it for another day. My parents were in town and I wanted to spend time with them. It was later the next day when the Sangria hit that I decided to really dig into his things and figure out who he was and what I should do with them. I found a journal. I don't know now as I sit on this plane whether I wished I had never found it or if it was the best day of my life that I opened it up and began to read.
I wish I'd never joined the Marine Corps. I thought I knew what I was doing when I signed up but this is not what I expected. The the lack of sleep, the exhaustion all of it is bad, but the group mentality is something I don't know if I can deal with. I wanted to do something good with my life, God. I hope this is it. Maybe I'm tired and that's why it feels like a mistake. I wish I had gone to college.
That's how it started, and that's why I kept reading. I had to know if he would always think it was a mistake. I had to know.