The Call That Changed My Life


Cody Stiles

Senior Cintia Vickery with Staff Sergeant Garcia, her Marine Recruiter. Vickery plans on joining the Marines and participating the their ROTC program.

May 27, 2014.

As I woke up from a deep sleep, I felt a knot in my throat. I went to school, and I was unusually quiet. As I sat down in my classes, I felt out of place and uneasy. Something was not right, I just felt as if something bad was going to happen at any moment. And I was not ready for it. When I arrived home late that day, that negative feeling got stronger.

“Cintia, can you come to my room. We need to talk.”  

That was my mother calling me. I was worried. I slowly walked in her room, not sure what to expect. But I knew it was not good.

“I think it’s time for me to tell you this,” she said.

Oh no, my mind was going crazy; could she just please tell me.

“Your biological mother died three years ago, and I just recently found out and I was trying to find the right words to tell you. I’m sorry.”

I could not hold back … slowly I felt tears dripping down. My throat hurt. So did my heart. I started to cry and could not control it anymore. I went to my room and cried. I was looking for a solution, finding someone to blame. But I was the only one left t blame. I was taken from my mother in 2004. In my whole life I had tried my best in everything, and I had achieved so much. All for her. Now she was gone, and everything I had done seemed to be in vain. Why was this happening to me?

I went to school the next day; I wish I wouldn’t  have. But I did not want to take my finals, so I put on a smile and pretended everything was okay. But that day I was not able to pretend, I was not able to hide. I had told my two best friends the day before, and now I had people looking at me with pity. Friends would come and hug me. Why couldn’t they leave me alone? Why couldn’t they pretend with me? I couldn’t hold back anymore. I cried and cried. I sat back in class, put my face in my hands and tried to make myself invisible.

In soccer, a friend came to tell me that she was sorry and that everything was going to be okay. Well, she was wrong. I knew things would never be the same. And I end up lashing out at her.

“Will you just leave me alone? I do not need your pity or anyone else’s.” 

I walked away without another word. Bright side, I had just one more week ‘til summer.

Summer came, and I found myself in my room locked up from the outside world. My mother was worried. I was worried. I stopped hanging out with people, and I pushed all of my friends away. I felt more alone than I had ever been. For the first few weeks my summer consisted of nothing but work and home. Nothing but a fake smile during the day and a soaked pillow during the night.

But who knew that I would receive a phone call that would change my life.

“Hello Mrs. Vickery. This is Sergeant Webb with the Marines, could I ask you some questions… you seem to qualify to be part of the Marine Corps, could you come by my office so we can talk more about it?” 

I had thought about joining the military, but I had leaned more toward the Army since that’s what I was offered at Rider. Receiving a phone call from the Marines was an honor since I never thought I was good enough for it. I was really excited and I set a meeting right away. However,  when I mentioned to my mom, she got angry and prohibited me from going talk to him.

“You live in my house; you can only join the Air Force or maybe even the National Guard. Do you understand?” 

I understood, but she didn’t. I went to talk to him anyways; I needed to choose my own future.

The recruiter asked me a few questions, and he was impressed with all of the things I had accomplished and all that I was involved in. I went to see him again, this time with my mother by my side. He told us about the NROTC scholarship, and he said I was competitive enough for it. HE saw potential in me when I had lost complete faith in myself. Since then, I have gained my confidence back and I aim to improve myself. My mother was expecting to change my mind but ended up changing her own. Even though she still prefers the Air Force, she supports me in my decision, and I know that she will do anything for me to succeed in life.

Even though my biological mother is not in this Earth, I know in my heart that she is still proud of me.

The Marine Corps has given me something I will never be able to repay: Confidence, Pride, and Happiness.