Nowhere in particular, was his answer to the staff sergeants question on where he was headed. But that answer wasn't quite the whole true. Eventually, with his discharge under his arm, he would be heading back to Denver, his home town, but for now he was going to Baltimore. He had never been to Baltimore, had never even heard of the place until that fortuitous phone conversation.
Two months ago, he'd been in a tavern in Brooklyn with some buddies, downing a few brews. Along the far wall were three old fashion phone booths. In the middle booth sat a mooneyed sailor talking on the phone.
While carrying four beers back to the table from the bar, he'd cracked open the booth's door and said, "Ain't love grand." The sailor just nodded, a wacky smile on his lips. A few minutes later, the sailor approached their table. This could have been a dangerous time. Often, when a sailor faces a marine, it's to fight. This time however, it was different. It seems the girl on the other end of the line wanted to talk to him. This was the beginning of a serious relationship. The girl's name was Marlene, she was twenty and lived in Baltimore. She wrote him daily, sending pictures of herself and begging him to come to her city. As he stood there, waiting for the train, he realized he was more nervous than when he shipped out to Afghanistan.