I spent Veteran's Day raking the yard and lugging large plastic bags of leaves to the trailer, for my particular veteran to haul away when he comes home for R&R. Now I have an open blister on the inside of my right thumb, which has been catching on all the plastic gloves I have to pull on and take off through out the course of my day.
I should be happy, excited. Keith should be coming home in maybe four weeks. That stretch of time is nothing; it will pass by so quickly I can easily discount it. And that entire time will be spent getting ready, making the house look Christmasy, preparing.
But I am not happy and excited. Mule-like, my emotions have dug their heels in and I'm stuck in anxiety and loss. Because it's true; four weeks will fly by quickly and two weeks even more quickly, the two weeks that he will be home for. And then he will be gone again, and gone for close to nine months.
How can I prepare for him to come and also prepare for him to go? Both happen in such a short space of time, and are so intense, that I'm left feeling numb all over. Of course thinking of seeing him again and being with him is an incredible draw and I know I'll be obnoxious with the camera because I'll want as many pictures as humanly possible. This summer I took what I thought was a great deal of pictures, but three months into deployment and I know all of them by heart.
I let some Kirby salesladies into the house night before last. One of them was married to a Staff Sergeant in Keith's division and also deployed. She had to call her husband to see if they knew one another, and he said he couldn't officially say if he knew my husband or not-I wonder if that was because at the time Keith was still running the classified mission, the details of which I am intensely curious to know about.
It turns out she has also left clutter lying around the house; she still hasn't washed the last load of laundry left from before he deployed, even though pieces of her clothing are mixed up in it. I remember the excruciating pain of washing the last load; folding and putting away the clothes, so hideously like normal.
She also had to earn her husband's financial trust, and still includes him in every single purchase, to help him feel included. The lady who was doing the demonstration had a brother in the Air Force and she said that his first wife had run off with everything he owned while he was deployed, cleaned out his bank account, everything.
"Ah ha!" I cried, "so it does happen!" (I wasn't sure if maybe Keith had been exaggerating, I hadn't heard of any other stories than the ones he had told me.)
She nodded soberly. I told her how Keith's first wife had done him; telling him she was going out shopping the day after Christmas in Indiana, and instead, getting on a plane and flying back here and pulling up with a UHaul to take everything back with her.
"That's balls to the wall bad," drawled the woman; she was from Maine and we clicked. Her quirky personality and the way she talked were very familiar to me.
The past two days were dismal and depressing for me. The military wife saleslady talked about how sometimes it's impossible to "get through the bubble" and I knew just what she was talking about. I've been in the bubble ever since Keith told me he wouldn't be able to call and, naturally, hasn't called.
I had no idea how much I truly was counting on those calls, how marvelous to be able to reach him any time I needed to, if I needed to. The thought was enough. It was like this at the beginning of deployment, I just have to get used to it being like this again.
And, I must find a way, or a place, where I can feel everything I need to about him coming home and yet, be able to let him go again. What I feel like is simply falling all to pieces.
However, I do have vague but growing plans to buy a ticket back home, so that, soon after Keith leaves, I leave for the safety of a small hamlet in the backwoods of New England and spend some time opposite a little library and down the street from the little General store and where I can hear the church bells ring every morning from under my quilts. Mom, put on the tea, I need you!!!
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