He rubbed at his weary eyes, the dark circles already beginning to fade in underneath them. While letting his hand drop between his knees, he kept his gaze down on the rattling floor, staring as him and the individuals set around moved ever so slightly with tires riding across the dirt and gravel. What were supposed to be called his companions from this moment on, Michael’s orbs darted at their combat boots rested beside and across from each and everyone. Just by the look of his strange observations, he made out the fact that everybody’s laces were tied. All perfect and seemingly identical-like. Maybe he was just seeing things already. Then again, maybe not. Boot camp wasn’t all that bad to him, nor was a day or two in this war which was already feeling like a sweat lodge.
Surprisingly, anxiety hadn’t quite hit at Michael yet. Not the way he had expected. From the moment he had enlisted himself in, nearly walking away with that black pen, all he had been considering about was how much his mother would cry and how much his father would resent him. Still, it was either him or Anthony. And he sure as hell knew that they wouldn’t want their precious baby to be travelling over on the other side of the world to either die or lose his form of sanity. His little brother definitely had much more going for him anyways. But, as time went on and became slower, Michael wasn’t exactly nervous about anything. All that roamed throughout his head was a calender counting down the days and the sound of Bob Dylan’s lyrics.
Michael let himself glance up as he rested his hunched shoulders back against the hard interior surface. His eyes narrowed after quick several seconds, when he gazed upon a soldier sat across from him, struck into thought as he analyzed the other man. He had to pry and push away all the other things to finally realize the notion he had in mind. And it only cracked the lightest smirk on his lips when he noticed the familiar features of who he effortlessly spotted, blinking away for a brief moment before he just had to look at him again.
"I should’ve known I would be seeing one of you guys again," he told him. It was something more than likely to be coincidental, and nothing like it would have ever seeped into his assumptions if he hadn’t stumbled upon him. Whatever his name was. "Honestly, you’re the first one so far."
For the most part, Jackson kept his head down and went about his business. Things here were already much different than they had been at boot camp. His father had told him so many things about his time in the service. The friends he’d made, the struggles they’d faced together, the camaraderie between them that had happened so effortlessly it might as well have been sewn into the uniform, but the atmosphere in the combat vehicle was so tense he probably couldn’t penetrate it if he tried. Not that he craved the interaction. In fact, he felt more detached than ever. Jackson hadn’t so much as had a conversation longer than five minutes with another person since he’d arrived here, and he wasn’t planning on starting in this musty.
Boot camp felt like it had dragged on for an eternity, and he was probably the only one in his unit who had been eager for it to end so they could get to where they really needed to be. Now that they were finally here, Jackson felt like he was at a loss. Like he had built up all these expectations of what being a soldier would be once he was truly in the warpath, only to be put off by another few weeks of orientation. The weather was complete shit, and the stories he was being told by the guys who’d already been roughing it here seemed like they had to be made up to be that awful. More than anything, Jackson just wanted to hear back from his dad. It frustrated him, but there was only so much he could do about it.
If he wasn’t feeling so withered from the heat, Jackson might have jumped when the silence was finally broken by someone sitting directly across from him. When he looked up, Jackson’s eyes widened when he saw who sat across the car’s cabin. It was that kid from boot camp, always making wise cracks and jabs. What was his name? Reese? Jackson’s eyebrows shot up when he realized he was the one being spoken to, and promptly cleared his throat.
"Yeah," he replied with a nod, his voice already feeling rough from being dormant for so long. He was never much of a talker, but ever since he’d enlisted, Jackson had really learned how to be quiet, even when he didn’t have to be. "We’re the only ones, far as I can tell. I guess we’re old men to these guys, huh?" Jackson ticked his head towards the others in the car with them. Most of the recruits in this car were just kids. The majority of them hadn’t even grown out of their teens, and Jackson could hardly believe they were being sent to a war. Then again, this Reese kid was around his age, and it hardly seemed plausible to put a rifle under his arm.