Welcome to the United States of America
As soon as Vaidas went out of the mailroom with the pockets and hands empty of letters just a week into basic cadet training at the Air Force Academy trying to understand, who stole his letters, he was immediately sent back to reality.
“Nobody loves you!”- Downie, A1 element leader screamed at Vaidas.
“Yes sir”- Vaidas said, and felt a strange feeling to Downie, the guy, who hated the whole world and who was more likely an animal than cadet first class at the Air Force Academy. Vaidas started imagining Downie raping young girls during his free time and then putting on the uniform and telling him what the truth was. Downie also was teaching him the core values of the Air Force Academy and introducing him to the honor code. If Vaidas had been in the same situation in Lithuania, he would have punched Downie in the face, but this time he was thankful to Downie: he opened Vaidas’ eyes and Vaidas realized that he is alone in the United States and that he had left behind all good things in Lithuania.
Vaidas was sleeping when the plane landed in Denver and the pain in his head woke him up. Vaidas had a dream: Americans are so friendly…people who don’t know
him are smiling and greeting him saying “welcome to the United States! Very soon you will find yourself arriving to heaven!” All people live without any problems. Vaidas forgot how he skipped lunch at school in order to buy a bus ticket which allowed him to get home faster, how he refused to go to the parties and spent his free time studying, how he worked nights to pay for his studies in Vilnius University. Vaidas saw how much Americans care about each other and the rest of the world, and how neat and nicely they live. Vaidas found a lot of friends, got extremely rich and worshiped the days of joy.
“That’s it, here we are”, said Ieva (the girl, who was going with Vaidas to the academy) after getting out of the plane in Colorado Springs. Vaidas awoke from his illusions about America and noticed that he was not going alone to the unknown. They were going through the airport and Vaidas felt how everybody was looking at him, because he looked in kindly words weird; he was wearing red socks, black shoes, red T-shirt and his white girly pants were too short for him. Vaidas was also carrying a black briefcase similar to that serious businessmen carry, and was looking at every face of the people going by him with a child-like curiosity, and it seemed that he was asking everybody how they are, what life was like in the U.S., where he should go…In fact, nobody was looking at Vaidas and was hurrying somewhere. Nobody carried about him the way he dreamed in the plane. As hundreds of people passed him, he remembered how in Vilnius he would wait after school in the bus station and watch at a homeless outcast with a dog, who was begging for alms. Everybody was passing the beggar the same way people now were passing Vaidas, who suddenly felt poor, recluse and
worthless. Now he was a tramp with Ieva next to him, to whom Vaidas was about to give a hug to Ieva for being the best friend in the world, but he bumped into an American man, who appeared to be the head of Vaidas’ sponsor family.
“Hey, my name is Jim Pocock, Jim’as you would say in your language! How was your flight?”
“Hello, my name is Vaidas Sinica, Sinika, as you would say in your language…”-slowly mumbled Vaidas forgetting the question. Indeed, Vaidas was still in Vilnius begging for alms, and watching people passing him.
Jim took Vaidas into his car and drove him to his house, asking something about Vaidas family, hobbies, friends on the way. While answering the questions, Vaidas was looking through the window of the car at all the houses, lights in the streets and could not get rid of the feeling that all the good he had he left beyond the seas. He is a homeless person…for the next four years!