Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Still Cold As Hell

I pulled all the details out of him at dinner. He entered Brooklyn College and felt instantly old: they were all situated in the auditorium, over a thousand faces, all of them young, eager, and green.

"They treated you like an 18-year old that just signed up for the Army. All I kept thinking was that I don't need this crap. I run a business, for God's sake, I'm my own boss. The guy that was in charge of the whole thing was probably about the same age as me!" Roc Hrrmphed.

"Sweetie, you've got to understand that you're not in charge there."

"I get that." He waved me away. "Then I get to the business and find out that they screwed up payroll. I mean, I was gone one frickin' day! The place was a mess! What the hell were they doing there all day, while I was freezing my ass off and being held in Starvation Central?!"

His frustration was palpable, so I offered him more pasta. What the hell else could I do?

When he woke up the next morning, he grumbled and groaned so much that I felt like smacking him. Wasn't he the guy who really, really wanted this? Weren't we getting him in under the wire, just so he could never look back and have regrets? Eventually he trudged into the shower, got ready, and left the house. I tucked a granola bar in his pocket as he walked out the door.

The weather was still bitter and cold, and the wind was whipping around outside. I said a little prayer for him and then went about my day the best way I knew how. I would be lying if I told you that I was fully involved with any client that day. My voice was counting out steps, but my mind was elsewhere.

By the time he called, I was about to burst. When he updated me it sounded like more of the same. They stood outside early in the morning, the wind practically blowing them over, until they were admitted into the auditorium. They proceeded to get informed about the job. (Read: yelled at) The one difference was that they were actually allowed a small break. He stood in the lobby and wolfed down the granola bar as he shoveled handfuls of water from the fountain greedily into this mouth.

"I've got to head over to the business. I'll meet you at the house." He sounded tired.

"Okay, good luck. See you later." I had one last appointment and then I was headed home. I felt so helpless. Maybe this whole thing was some big misstep; maybe his time had passed. When we had discussed the whole scenario before he entered the Academy, I told him: Just Do It. Even if you make it through the Academy, and you do it for six months, and then you decide you hate it...who cares? You can quit then, with no regrets, knowing that you were an NYPD officer at one point in your life.

The most important thing was that I didn't want him to look back and regret.

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