By now I have all 124 pictures from our first visit memorized, and I love how my mind plays the slide show over and over and again.
One of these fascinating images takes place in the mess hall. M sat with us at a table positioned next to his company’s table. I observed something interesting; every time his second lieutenant spoke, M stopped eating, made eye contact with him, and nodded to show understanding—– Eye contact? Nodding to show understanding? Whoa.
In the football stands, he spotted someone to my right. He leaned forward to get the attention of the older gentlemen sitting a few feet down from us. “Captain B, this is my family.” Captain B, his math teacher, smiled and told us a story about our “good kid.” —- Introducing his “family” to a teacher? Nice.
Outside the concession stands, M introduced us to Lieutenant P. I spoke to Lieutenant P privately and told him that M had asked me if he could come home for a visit next weekend. He immediately called M over and said,
Cadet, your mom says you’d like to go home for a visit.
I don’t think you’re ready to go back there. If you go back next weekend, I think there’s a good chance that the people who don’t care about your best interest, will break you. You could go right back to destructive behavior.
But today, I am going to allow you to eat all the cookies your mom made you and all the fudge your grandma made for you. Whatever you don’t finish today, you share tomorrow.
With a smile, “Yes, sir.”
Eye contact, introductions, and a smile? This is good.