Chapter 23: Nothing in Life is Easy

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It was the day before Thanksgiving and we had been on the road for over seven hours driving from Raleigh to Phenix, Alabama which was another city outside of Fort Benning, Georgia. Rashad's father, Earnest, was a retired Army Sergeant Major and his mother, Geneva, still worked on Fort Benning on the civilian side.

After retirement, they decided to settle in the area. Rashad graduated high school at Columbus High and joined the Army right after against his parent's wishes. They wanted him to go to college first like his older brother, Tyrell, who was also in the Army. His older brother was still serving as an Army officer and was stationed all the way in Washington with his family.

Rashad made a deal with his dad that if he got accepted as a Military Intelligence Systems Maintainer, that he would be fine with him joining. It was a job that his dad felt he would be good at and one where if he ever wanted to leave the Army, he would be able to get another great job easily.

It was in the middle of his enlistment, while he was stationed at Ft Bragg, that we began dating. He chose to separate mostly to be with me because I wasn't leaving N.C. State without graduating and he didn't want to leave me.

Reminiscing on how deep our love was for each other back then, only made me sad about where we were. We were allowing the temptations of life to divide us and we were failing so far at trying to fight our way back to each other.

I looked over at Rashad as he focused his eyes on the road. There was nothing but mostly field around us as we finished the stretch to his parent's home. It was almost eleven at night and I knew that he was tired, but he kept telling me that he was okay to drive. The girls were both knocked out in their booster seats, drooling and everything.

"When is Tyrell flying in?" I asked to force him to talk to me. Since the Sunday when we fought, we barely said anything to each other. I wanted to cancel going on the trip with him, but I knew it would break the girl's hearts and raise the red flags for them that something was wrong with mom and dad.

"They should already be there," he said still looking ahead at the road. "They flew in this morning."

"Okay," I nodded. Their parents had a huge five bedroom home. Rashad and I were going to stay in his old room. Tyrell and his wife, Robin were going to stay in one and their nine-year-old daughter, Leah, was going to stay in a room with our girls. I wasn't sure who was staying in the extra room, but his family always had a house full.

"Thank you for still coming," he said, still not looking at me.

"You don't have to thank me," I told him. "Are we gonna be like this all weekend? Not really talking to each other."

"What do you want me to say, Joy?"

"I want you to stop being so mad at me," I said keeping my voice low. "We both messed up."

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