The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Troy had been in boot camp, training to finally become a Marine, for the past 4 weeks. It had only been a few weeks, but it felt like a lifetime. There was test after test, and a series of challenges that constantly pushed to him to his limit, so no, the swimming test, was nothing short of that either.

There was a mix of emotions he was feeling; fear, determination, embarrassment, and so much more. He had been training for days, ever since he had failed the first time. There had been no free time since he failed. All of his time was focused in on learning everything he needed for survival in the water. He knew how to swim, but this test was so much more than that. There was one part that he just couldn’t handle: diving from 20 foot podium in full pack.

“Holy shit.” Troy mumbles underneath his breath, as his voice trembles, looking up at the podium.

It takes him a minute, but he begins walking up the ladder, climbing the the top, getting closer and closer; closer and closer to the scariest the moment of his life. He was terrified of heights, so he begins counting down, “5, 4, 3, 2…” and dove off.

In a moment of panic, he felt as if he was drowning, the water was surrounding him and his body grew tighter and tighter with fear as if it was life or death. The lifeguard began to gather himself, preparing to jump in the water, since Troy had been under so long.

Troy popped up breathing heavy, thinking to himself how badly he needed to do this. As the lifeguard noticed him beginning to swim, he stepped back. “He’s gonna finish this time,” the lifeguard stated aloud. Although his heart was racing, he swam to the end of the pool to finish: he did it.

Now, he was one step closer to being a Marine. Troy stepped out of the pool, threw his hand up with excitement, and all he could feel was empowerment and joy.

I interviewed Troy over Facetime. This moment in Boot Camp was one of the scariest, but most proud moments of his life to be able to push through one of his biggest fears.

Boot Camp

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