Yesterday, I was slowly and patiently working my way through a bowl of my very first, "homemade" oatmeal. It was rather soothing to make. It was soothing to stir the milk in the silver grey saucepan with a wooden spoon, to smell the milky flavored clouds of steam that billowed up and out. It was soothing to measure out three fourths cup of oatmeal, looking so simple and healthy in their raw state.
It took a long time and I thought about how it must have been, back when almost everything had to be made by hand, how time must have moved so much slower. I actually got a slightly panicky feeling as I was starting the process, thinking, how on earth am I going to get everything done today if I can't just pop this in the microwave?? Then I had to laugh at myself.
I've had to do that a lot in the last twenty four hours. Now, not only is it that time of the month, but I have hurt my back again by assisting with the wheelchair during a van ride. I strained it so badly I was literally in tears as I hobbled from the dinning room, majorly embarrassing myself in front of my boss, who came up just in time to see me and I had to twist my face up desperately in order not to simply break down in sobs of pain.
I wanted to tell her, "I've been very emotional lately, you know." But she did know. She herself has been deployed, she worked in intelligence. When I heard this the first time, that she had been in the Army, I relaxed. "Ah," I said easily. "You'll last." She gave me a funny look; that was a while ago, back when she was still fresh and innocent, before being torn to stressful pieces by the demands of the job.
So I have been limping carefully around the house, slowly but surely taking care of one thing at a time. I completed the grocery shopping, it was rather startling to look down into the cart and see the heaping bounty piled there. Putting away the Gatorade and sausage and hamburger patties made his homecoming suddenly real.
He text me early yesterday morning: "I love you. I am GETTING ON THE BIRD!" So I figured he'd be here sometime today, maybe in the afternoon, and when I got a call from him this morning, I was thrilled.
"Baby, get a pen and paper for my flight details; hurry, I've only got nine minutes left on this card."
Back injury forgotten, I flung myself out of bed and went downstairs, mumbling urgently to myself about pen and paper. Without my glasses they would have been difficult to locate, but I remembered where I had left a pen from yesterday.
"Ok, go!" I said, poised over the table. I recorded the data and then asked, joyously, where he was.
Not anywhere close to America, was the flat answer, still in the Sand Box. I deflated in a matter of moments. He told me it's been hell. When they arrived there, he went to the latrines to take a shower and searched through his duffel bag to find that clean uniform that he was saving to meet me in and turned on the water. No water. No place to sleep. No place to put his bags.
"If I wasn't going to see you, this wouldn't be worth it," he said. "I would just go right back to the FOB. Honey, I'm going to need a shower first thing and I hope to God you got some whiskey."
"I did," I proclaimed, all proud of myself. "I have whiskey and pizza rolls and stuff to grill out."
"You're so...refreshing," he said, gratefully. "Ok, little kitten, go back to sleep. I'll call you when I reach the States."
So, he won't be here today after all. He will be here sometime tomorrow, which is really good, because it gives him a chance to get right onto our sleep cycle, and my back a chance to be as good as new. And, he'll be here for Christmas day for sure.
"If it goes on like this," Keith had said dryly, "I'll damned well be there for New Year's!"
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