Sometimes I delude myself into thinking things that aren't true. I get myself convinced that "he'll be home soon," that my soldier, my Private Ryan, will only be gone a little longer. But that's not true. The photo to the left is our "jelly bean countdown" to his return. The jar on the left is mine and I get four beans each night after dinner, the jar on the left is Teenybop's and she gets three because that's the way fitting them in the jars worked out. Each day I eat four jelly beans, each with it's own reason, it's own little prayer sent up. My own little not-burning-the-house-down version of lighting a candle in the window. Today? I ate one bean praying that he was having a good day, I ate one praying that he would still be able to call often despite terrible cell phone signal on post, I ate one praying that the timing will work out just right, and I ate the last one praying that the time will past quickly.
Missing him is making me crazy, and now I will maybe not even hear from him often anymore. Since he left he's been able to call every night and sometimes during the day too, and that's been great. Plus he was reading here so it gave him ways to keep up with home, especially when you add the texts loaded with videos and photos of the girls that I send him. But now? Now that he's shipped to WTC, the part of the post where he is living has terrible cell phone signal so he will probably not be able to call from the barracks anymore. Only when he and his classmates are allowed out for free time on the post, and there is no telling when that will be. We have both been suffering from some insecurities over this separation for different reasons, so it was sweet when he texted me today in response to my apology for being asleep when he called last night and consequently too sleepy to be worth anything when the ringer woke me. He said, "Don't worry about it .... This training sucks but I am not going to quit ... I love you and I will call or text when I can ... Please remember that I have not forgot about you."
Knowing him and judging by all the dots, he had a lot more than that to say but just didn't have the time. It makes me want to cry, to touch his face and tell him how proud I am of him, to tell him to stick it out and that it will be okay the same way that he is telling me. It is sad that we have been through that much before we met each other, so much that we have had to work hard to be able to start fresh with each other. And still we each have baggage. This is not hist first time in the military, and his previous enlistment ended because he was basically young and dumb. But more to the relevant point ... he had a girl when he went in. When he came back just a few months later, she had moved on. So this is a real trust thing for him, leaving not just a girl, but a family, a woman and two daughters, hoping that they will still be his family when he returns. He has asked me multiple times if I am sure he's worth waiting on, if I am sure I won't find something better than him ...
And it is for me too. I've been through a lot with unfaithful men and broken relationships, things that have left me with pretty ugly emotional scars, and so I am having to trust him to behave while he is trusting me to simply be here. It is so hard to be apart like this, and I have had people ask me what we were thinking because we have so many issues like this to deal with, yet we walk willingly into a life that guarantees us spending tons of time apart. I have thought about that a lot, thought about the risks we are both taking by going into this military life together knowing how much it will separate us. The thing is, we are both just so absolutely determined to make this work. I believe that we will.
What it comes down to is that we really do trust each other ... but always there is fear, the fear of the past coming up to haunt us, to repeat itself, for the scars of past hurts to burst open in a bloody mess.
Sometimes during this time that I've been alone, I am able to go on and sort of act like it's not really happening so slowly, that it's a short trip, maybe a weekend or so. This helps me, to focus on smaller amounts of time, to be able to pretend it's already almost over and that he'll be home soon. But other times? Not hearing from him changes everything. It makes the whole day drag on and I listen hard for the phone to ring but it doesn't. I listen for his key in the lock and then remember that I won't be hearing that anymore. I go to put my shoes on and I see his, neatly lined up beside mine. His clothes in the laundry, the empty spot where his keys used to hang. His body wash in the shower.
I can pretend all I want to in the hope that it will make this time easier, but the reality is, it's taking forever. I miss him. He's not here ... and I miss him.
But I do still believe it's for the best. It's just so hard.