“How do you do that Sergeant?”
Quizzically, I look at my soldier. Brow furrowed, eyes darting first left and then right, he shuffled from one side to the other, while maintaining a firm gaze on the ground.
“What are you talking about troop?”
Scratching at his chin, he finally looks up at me and pauses.
“How do you not care about anything?”
I lock eyes with my soldier. He seems to shrink under my gaze, and I feel the veins in my neck tighten. Blood rushes through my veins, and the world goes red.
“Exactly what are you saying?”
“Sergeant, you just seem to be empty emotionally. I don’t think you would care if someone killed your dog, or if one of us came to you and told you that our family died in a car wreck. You would shrug and tell us to suck it up!”
His words barely register in my mind. Furious, I walk toward him.
“Get at parade rest! You piece of garbage, how dare you stand there and judge me! Who do you think you are?”
“Sergeant, I didn’t mean nothing by it! I promise, you just seem to be full of hurt!”
“I will give you a brand new definition to hurt if you open your mouth again!”
He shuts his mouth, and I start to walk away. Breathing shallowly, I try to regain my composure. I walk back toward him, he glances at me nervously.
“Listen troop, don’t come at me with this crap. You may be right, but you have no idea how close you came to being boot stomped. I have suppressed my emotions so that I can think rationally. There is no room in the Army for emotion, you must be cold and calculated to do this job.”
Nodding his head, he stands at parade rest and doesn’t say a word.
He snaps rigidly to attention.
I head toward the company and all I can think about is how much I need a drink.