The keyboard chattered in a complimentary rhythm to my heart… which seemed to be demonstrating an irregular cadence, rather than a life-like rhythm. His typed flirtatiousness, hopefulness, and jokes counteracted the angst and malaise that washed over me every time I thought about his location. After 3 days of blackout, it was exceptionally relieving to type to him, but apparently he wasn’t allowed to talk about what happened. I hate not knowing, but at least I know my soldier is alive. I have to accept this as satisfaction. But I’m increasingly restless over this deployment. He said it was 9 months when he left. That was 13 months ago. My nervous thoughts subside as he feeds me lines about camping, cuddling, and starry nights. My mind drifts to dreams of tents, sleeping bags… tangled clothes, pillows, skin, sleeping bags.
Then he’s home and it’s happened before I take time to think on it. We’re at his friend’s house and a man I’ve never met (or maybe met once before this last deployment, but
can’t remember that night clearly) says to me, “I wish someone would look at me the way you look at him.”
It sticks. That phrase echoes in my mind over the course of the next… lifetime.
His snoring wakes me up, but I cling closer to him. I thank silently God, the world, soldiers he was deployed with, and karma for allowing him to come home to me. I will myself to sleep… knowing he left work at midnight and there mustn’t be much time before the alarm on my phone cries, “5:00 a.m. WAKE UP!” I turn over, attempting to spread out but he pulls me back towards him. These are moments I yearned for each day throughout multiple deployments.
These moments are the only moments that work anymore. I haven’t really noticed, yet. Things are spinning out of control faster than a car that has hit black ice. But these moments… these moments are magical products of cognizance and anxiety – full awareness of not being able to hear his voice, not being able to see his face, not being able to touch him… knowing the only other option was never seeing him again and sitting next to one of those cookie cutter military headstones.
I remember all too clearly waking early to check the computer to see if he was on line. I remember staying up late waiting for him to log on. I remember starting every day with the hope he was alive. I remember lying awake at night wishing I could feel him breathing next to me. I remember waiting for each Xanga blog, email, phone call, instant message, Skype call, like they were embossed in gold foil.
I rest my head on his chest so I can hear his heart beat. Yep. He’s really here. He’s really alive. This moment beats the sketchy rhythm tic…tic…tic…tic of my keyboard attempting to keep cadence with my heart. These moments are the ones I waited for over the course of three deployments.