July 30, 2009


Before I loved you, Love, nothing was my own:
I wavered through the streets, among objects:
nothing mattered or had a name:
the world was made of air, which waited.
-XXV by Pablo Neruda

It could be viewed as a metaphor- the grasping and letting go of hands a million times during the day. I choose to not see it that way. Really, it's just a pool game. Everyone pats him on the back, shakes his hand, or challenges him to a game. He crosses his legs and bends toward the table, looking like a dancer in a 1930s movie musical, his pool stick like a tap stick used in a elegant dance. He doesn't get loud or too animated; his voice is quiet to match his actions. But he brakes the triangle of colored balls with such force, I almost forget. He concentrates hard, his eyes opening wider until he's found the right pocket to use. Then he draws back a couple times, aiming, looking low, and clicks the cue ball loudly. He looks up and walks back towards me to wait his turn. He smiles. I remember us holding hands of course, but I had forgotten how we did-anytime he starts walking, his hand moves behind his back, opened. It's my cue to take it and be led anywhere. There's something about this that comforts me more than anything else in the world.

This is the post I've wanted to write. I've written it 50 different ways in my head, but none of them fit. The writer loses her words. Nothing makes sense now- in the best of ways. Sky isn't popping up on a video screen- he's sitting across from me in a Scrabble game that leaves me questioning my vocabulary. He's not telling me to watch a movie- he's lying there, watching it too. It used to be my world, and then him; rarely did they intersect in any real way that I could revel in. Suddenly, he goes where I go, rides in my car, and walks by me as I check my email. It's hard to figure this out in my head, but there isn't anything better than being startled by the fact that he is home. Home here, with me.

The recap goes like this- we drove to Salem in what felt like a 10 hour drive. Then signs popped up, and I cheered, startling Becca in the backseat. By the time I veered off on the exit, I saw the first yellow ribbon and realized I was really going to see them.

The wait was longer than we thought, and we sat in what must have been one of the most humid days this year. Becca chewed on her flag, and I look endless pictures of her with her "I love daddy" shirt on. Andy's girlfriend looked around, chewed some gum, and watched Becca, asking me if I'd gotten any new texts from Andy giving an update of where the buses were. I started to smooth my hair and realized the curls had turned into a weird, frizzy situation. We were all sweaty. This is not how I pictured it.

Then we sat on the bleachers of the football field and waited. And waited. A text from Andy: "Off the interstate." I felt my heart leap as we all strained to hear the first sirens of the police escort. And then, just like that, fire trucks. Then two white buses rounded the corner, and everyone cheered wildly. I reached for my handkerchief I'd asked to borrow from my dad. I saw the group get down from the bus. I looked at Taylor and we smiled- this was actually happening. They formed up, then started towards the crowd on the track. Then they were in front of us.

I can't explain that moment. Weight that I didn't know I carried vanished in an instant. I didn't hear a word the speaker said, and I didn't realize the national anthem was playing until about halfway through. When the ceremony was over and families moved towards each other, I took the uncrowded side of the bleachers and ran. Andy was coming towards us, and had a big smile on his face. He looked at Becca in awe. He seemed thinner, but it was probably his uniform. I tagged along behind the rest of them a little, looking everywhere for Perez. I saw all the soldiers I'd heard about or seen pictures of in the last year. I did not see him.

A very real possibility struck me, and I thought about it on the way to the car. Maybe he ran off. I considered this, laughingly, but questioningly, until Andy called my name. I walked towards him, but saw Sky, searching through a pile of baggage. I ran past Andy, past his family, past the bags littering the parking lot, and tapped him on the arm. He turned around. I didn't want to let him go.

I haven't much, really. The Saturday night pool tournament was everything good and bad at once- every time he'd lean into me and hold my hand, I felt like I could breathe. Every time he walked back to the pool table I would miss him, although watching him made my heart race, too. We spent the time in his hometown this time much like we had that first weekend. But this time, when someone called me his girlfriend, it was true. I have to remind myself of this, sometimes, even despite his being here.

Every moment is the best until the next moment. I feel sickeningly happy, like the times as a kid of eating candy for dinner. I wonder how it's possible to feel so much positive emotion, how all of it fits into my body. I haven't had a chance to come down from this high yet, either- every look at his face makes me think a million different thoughts, all of them wonderful.

I don't know what comes next. There are so many firsts now. He finally drove a car instead of a Humvee. He finally had his Crown and Cokes. I was able to toss aside the pillow made of his t-shirt, and remember what his shirts smell like.

It turns out that my feelings for him are not what I thought they were during those four months apart, during the hundred emails, during those video chats of fuzzy smiles. Instead, I love him more than I knew. And I've also learned that I can't ask for more than hearing "Kiddo" whispered in my ear.

5 kind comments from you:

Nicholereo333 said...

Ha, how do you even time to post, now that you're all boo-ed up, lol?

chambanachik said...

This took me nearly a week of saving, editing, and re-saving! :)

Nicholereo333 said...

ok I guess I believe you:P

J. said...

I really love your writing style. It's so honest and refreshing, like you're really letting us into your head. Thanks for sharing :)

chambanachik said...

Thanks for the feedback! :)

Post a Comment