We rushed to the barracks to change. Everyone was going to meet at the base swimming pool within twenty minutes so I didn't have a lot of time. The rules were that females could wear a two piece, but we had to have a shirt over it. Kind of a moot point if you asked this little airman.I began the process of transforming from airman to woman; a ritual I loved every night. My uniform is who I am, but sometimes I love to get dressed up and feel like a woman again. My hair that had been forced and tamed back intoa tight bun rejoiced as I removed the many hair ties and bobbie pins. The simple joy of letting my long, brown hair fall in waves down my back can't be described.
"Hurry up Hoskins!" I hear a knock on my door. Scurring to throw off boots and change into a bathing suit was very humorous as I nearly fell out the door into A1C James's arms. He laughs and places me back on my feet, "Wow, I didn't mean hurry that fast." I giggle and grab my towel from him as we both set off. James chats on the ten minute bus ride. He has been with me since home station as well, that boy and I have seen some crazy times together. He is a sweetheart and had expressed intrest in me before, but my heart didn't belong to him. I thought of him like an older brother more than anything else.
"So Hoskins, the um...the Air Force ball is coming up.... would you maybe.....um" He stuttered as I stared at him. The Air Force ball is a yearly celebration for us. It's like prom for the military and desert or no desert, we were going to celebrate it. I had already asked my mother to mail me my dress from high school homecoming. I knew James wanted to ask me, but I had hoped that he wouldn't. I didn't want to lead him on if I wasn't interested. But I admired his courage as he finally spat out, "Will you let me take you? I really would like to be your escort." Pondering for a moment, I weighed the options in my head and decided, "Sure James. I would love to go as friends." I emphazied. Somehow I don't think he heard the last part as his smile looked like it could take up his entire face.
"That's great! Cause believe it or not, I've been terrified to ask you." I laughed, "No really? I couldn't tell." We arrived at the pool and my excitment peeked as the sounds of splashing and laughing lifted on the warm breeze. Night was my favorite time in the desert as the temperature had dropped from scorching, blinding heat to a pleasant 85. The lights from the pool lit up the members of my team as James did a full on cannon ball into the water. I was a little more shy in the approach to the water. Don't get me wrong, I've always been an attractive girl, but just like every 19-year-old, I was shy about my body. Even though being in the military has put me into the best shape of my life, that insecurity won't really go away.
"Who's up for water basketball?!?" Thompson asked, brushing back her blonde hair. I laughed and caught the ball as I slipped into the warm water. We started the game like normal, making baskets and checking the ball, but just like I predicted it turned quickly into water rugbey. I recieved the ball and climbed onto sergeant Michael's back as he pushed me towards the basket. The guys on my team were all two sizes bigger than me, I had to use every advantage I could. Sergeant Michael was a beast of a man, weighing in at 250 pounds of sheer African American muscle. He was a gentle giant that resembled John Coffee from "The Green Mile".
"Lift me up sir!" I yelled as he litterally lifted me over the basket. The ball dropped and was answered by cheers and groans from the other team. In my happiness I didn't even notice when my LT slipped in the back. I was laughing loudly as I looked over to him watching from one of the chairs. Waving, I swam over to him and took a seat, "Hey sir. How long have you been here?" He shrugged, "A few minutes. Long enough to see you get thrown across the pool." We both laughed and watched the game that looked too violent for normal fun, "What are the rules?" He asked as I shrugged one shoulder, "Um, there really aren't any.The only rule is that you aren't allowed to sit out. Come on!" I grabbed his hand and pushed him in the pool.
"Yo LT! Help us out over here!" Sergeant Galvez yelled as three airman were weighing him down. LT smiled shyly and came over to steal the ball. It made me happy to see him interact with the team. The game continued for hours until all of us were panting and exhausted. Most people had slowly swam off and left for the night. It was down to about five of us as I tried desperatly to make a three pointer. The force from the throw caused me to slip on the smooth pool ground and stumble backwards, right into my LT's arms. He caught me as I laughed, "Oops, sorry about that." He smiled and to my surprise his hands suddenly slipped from my shoulders down to my hips. I looked up into his eyes as the light from the water danced off of both our faces. He smiled softly as I enjoyed the feeling of his hands on my firm hips. We stayed there for a moment before he cleared his throat and got out ofthe pool. I stared as he gathered up his stuff and retreated out the exit.
"Hey Hoskins, what's with the LT?" James asked as I stared after him, blushing slightly,"I don't know. Maybe he had something to do?" They accepted the answer and returned back to game. I lifted myself out of the pool and went into the bathroom to dry off and think. Looking in the mirror I thought, "Uh oh."