Sunday, May 20th 2012 I first stepped foot onto the Royal New Zealand Navy Base in Devonport, it was my first day of Basic Common Training(BCT’s) as a recruit and I was terrified. The first person I met was WOCSS Leybourne who coincidentally attended the same high school that I had just graduated, only a few years before my time. He was very nice and upbeat, to which I quickly learnt was very rare to find, after hearing the instructors barking orders at us.
Myself and several others walked into a room to get sized up for uniform, while I was hoping to be sized by another female I instead found myself standing in front of this 6 ft. something handsome guy in uniform that was already distracting me from what I was meant to be doing. After a couple attempts he finally got my size right and I quickly ran away from him. I was not going to let a boy interrupt me from getting into the Navy.
Three days later it was our attestation day, early in the morning I found the same boy standing under a tree outside our accommodation block, however I didn’t realise that it was him at the time, instead I just gawked at him day dreaming yet again. Not realising that I was thinking out loud, the words “One day I’m going to marry him” was heard by all the girls in my room, as they ran over to the window to see who I was talking about.
I was very quickly snapped back to reality when our instructor walked into the room, who caught me with my head out the window, obviously staring at a group of boys hahaha… We trained hard and ran – a lot – the next time I saw that boy again was on my church service, which marks our half way point of BCT’s. I was racing my friend up Queens Street in Auckland City to the movies which was at the top of the hill, but as I lost sight of my friend, I started looking around to try to see where he was, not paying attention I ran head first into that boys’ chest. HA!
Not realising at all that it is the same boy that I keep seeing, he introduced himself, understanding why I was so nervous and in my black number one uniform he asked me if I was okay. He dusted off my shoulders and asked me for my name, but I saw my friend up ahead and wasn’t in the mood for small talk, I gave him a sideways glare and ran off after our very brief conversation of him telling me he was in the Navy too. As I got to the top and realised that my friend had managed to order food and get a drink in the time he was waiting for me, I told him what had happened, the boy first introduced himself and said he was in the Navy. But I had been rude and quick to judge, pointing out that everyone thinks they’re in the Navy just because they know someone who is, after he pointedly proved to me I was wrong all I could do was leave.
Then again three weeks after I had graduated from BCT’s, that Friday afternoon my course was the last to finish work that day, when we had gotten back to accommodation it was a ghost town and everyone had left already. So I decided to head over to the bar and catch up with them, as I opened the door that leads to the outside area of the bar, I stood there looking like a little bit of an idiot, staring at that boy yet again. I wasn’t sure if it was him, not even sure how he knew my friends, or maybe he didn’t and they just decided to sit beside each other. As the night went on he caught me off guard, I was talking to a friend of mine as he interrupted saying “At least he didn’t run into my chest on Queen Street.”
I was flabbergasted - mouth open and eyes focused on him, he nods his head to my unspoken question and puts his hand out across the table to shake my hand, again introducing himself the same way he had that day “Hello, I’m OMT Smith.”
Things since then had changed for the better, we started hanging out after work and in the weekends, which turned into Christmas holidays and then meeting parents. One day I thought we could go out for breakfast at the café I used to work at ‘The Verandah’, after we ordered breakfast he looked around the café and said that it had changed, that caught my attention “What do you mean it’s changed?”. He replied saying that he’d been there a few times before he’d joined the Navy as his grandparents don’t live far from there, I laughed so hard he had no idea what was so funny, he raised his eyebrow and I answered with, “I thought I recognised you from somewhere.”