Gary Rinsem

Tami and Cindy, Call it a vision?

I was out of the Navy less than four months when I wrote this journal entry. It was only nine months since the last time Tami called me. I didn't know I'd never hear her voice again. I had only moved back into the Mud Hut about five weeks prior and my focus was on finding a career job. Life sucked with BB still in the Navy. It was soon getting worse since they were going on another WestPac in a couple months. The event in this journal entry gave me a real boost, as something happy to keep in the foreground of my thoughts. Now the thought has been there at random moments for thirty-four years. It still makes me happy even though I've known Tami's fate for sixteen years and I've known Cindy's fate for the last six months. It doesn't matter, it makes me happy to imagine their friendship growing instead of being lost. OK, enough blabbing about it. Here's what I wrote in 1986.

September 22, 1986

Basha's grocery store is a bad place to buy food. It's dirty and it smells like rotten food and sour milk. Many times over the years there have been bugs in the food. I remember more than once pouring milk on cereal, only to see what looked like pepper dumped on top of the milk. It was tiny bugs floated to the surface. That was before cereal was in plastic bags inside the cardboard cereal box. Basha's had such a big problem with bugs that they were in everything. Pasta was another one. The pot cooking elbow macaroni would often look like pepper had been sprinkled in it. Fruit and vegetables were never safe. Grapes always had small bugs. Ground beef looked like it had been died red to cover up the grey color of spoiled meat. AJ's is much closer to the Mud Hut than Basha's, but AJ's is about twice the cost. I've got plenty of money stashed, but no job yet and don't know what the future may hold. SRP is taking forever to offer me a job. I'll give up on it if they pull one more bit of hiring nonsense. I'm sick of jumping through their hoops when they won't even give a clue what job I'm being considered for. All this crap and they'll offer me a meter reader job. Alright, to my point here. I remember both Tami and Cindy in Basha's. Cindy only once, before we became friends. My intellectual crush on her was new at the time of this memory, so it was late 1973. The memory is quick. We passed in the isle and smiled at each other. I said hello and Cindy responded. That's it, but it's a nice memory of her that she'd have no reason to recall. I have several memories of Tami in Basha's. We went there to buy food for a camping trip, and once as an errand for my mother, to get last minute items for a holiday dinner. Other times I took Tami to Basha's for simple things she needed, or shopping errands for her mother. Today I was tired and hungry and out of food. I went to Basha's instead of all the way to Fry's. I'm glad I did. There was a cute couple of young women, perhaps barely 18. I'm guessing they're a couple because of how close they were. We passed each other numerous times in the store, and smiled and said hello. The first time I had a flashback from my Cindy memory. It made me smile that much more and set the stage for what happened next. In the checkout line those two were in front of me. My thoughts were of Tami as I watched closely for signs that those girls are a couple. It looked more than just possible. It looked like they're in the back of the closet together. I had an odd thought enter my mind while watching them discuss and pay for their groceries. It came at once, completely formed and exquisitely detailed. I imagined that Tami and Cindy stayed friends and became lovers. They were so close in high school that it's not a hard thing to imagine. In my odd thought, Cindy just got out of the Navy and they moved back here, staying temporarily at Cindy's parents house just a few hundred yards away. Many imagined details of their lives flashed into my thoughts in that instant. I could never write them all and there'd be no reason to write them. It just made me happy to think of both of them being happy, especially if they're happy together. Tami and Cindy, I fear I'll never know anything more about either of you. I guess I'll just have to rely on the imaginary life you're living together. Know this, I still love you both.

All My Love, ALWAYS Gary