“Excuse me Staff Sergeant, can I ask you a question?”
Cree paused and quickly assessed the tiny sergeant standing in front of him. The young Marine looked harmless enough, perhaps even a little terrified. Then, assuming the Marine might just want to know why Cree’s hair fell nearly to his neck, he softly answered.
“Of course, what can I do for you?”
“Do you know, uh, [***]?”
“Um, yes I do,” Cree answered, completely surprised by the question. He straightened up and began paying extremely close attention.
“Yeah, I’m, uh, one of those,” the tiny sergeant said softly.
“Do you need to talk?” They now had Cree’s complete and undivided attention. He knew that the young Marine needed to feel at ease.
Cree escorted the Sergeant to an empty office nearby and they spent several minutes visiting. Agreeing to meet the following Monday, they went their separate ways.
***I’ve opted to leave the mutual friend completely out of this to respect their privacy and identity.