October 26, 2009

Let Me Just Say

"Must we always measure values
in terms of loss?
With you gone off, inaccessible
in a mythical country

[...] where real people
bleed and rot, where everything
but pain is scarce
where mail awaits a second coming,

I find I miss you not
occasionally, now and the
odd Thursday or wet Wednesday
but as if some vital connection

to my brain were yanked out.
You have become my muse.
When I write a poem, I know
I'll share it with you.

I am truthful with you
to a fault, delivering
troubles to your door
like a load of coal to the cellar.

I have this odd sense of loose
ends, wires dangling, an accumulated
looseleaf of addenda to my life,
collected for your homecoming."

-Diana inaccessible by Marge Piercy

I should have written this while he was gone- I thought it enough. But sometimes you write begrudgingly, because your chest is stomped on until you cry "enough!"- this is one of those times.

He saw me looking at the news feed- the local soldier's body coming home to his widow and one year old daughter, the chopper crashes, the wait for decisions about more troops or less, the violent election processes, the feuding vice president and former vice president- it's inescapable. I suppose one could completely turn off the news, but I'm not able to anymore. He sounded almost irritated when he asked why I was reading it. "I'm home now," he told me.

I can still believe that we're the only ones in love like this. When we sat at a reintegration meeting, a lady and her husband talked about how getting back to normal family life wasn't "all roses" after a deployment. Sky and I looked at each other, exchanging smiles. It really has been all roses. It's been more than I knew was possible.

But I cannot pretend that people aren't in the same position I was in a few short months ago. Think of every soldier there, and then think of the string of family and friends they've left behind. I am sure that some wild-eyed, crazed Taliban fighter would see nothing but a target. I just hope that everyone at home sees more than a symbol. I hope they see all the people attached to that man.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive. Or maybe the lady in that class was right, and it doesn't all glue back together from that first day home. Writing about this is the hardest thing for me to do, because all those horrible feelings and fears come back, as do the tears.

This is how it feels to miss someone so far away: You spend the days looking at the clock, trying to figure what day or time it is where they are. You wonder constantly what they're doing, who they're with, and, most of all, if they miss you even close to how you miss them. You wonder if you'll be forgotten by the time this is all over. You breathe out every time you get an email, especially after hearing about an attack somewhere. You often are asked about them, and while part of you is grateful that someone acknowledges your pain, part of you cringes when people sympathize, make sad faces, try to tell you they'll be fine. Your daydreams are cautious, you try to pace yourself, and you vow to trade all of the dreams in just to hold them again. You find any way you can to be close to them, while knowing you won't touch their hand or get a kiss goodnight for months. You live off of memories instead of making new ones. You grow dependent on any form of communication you have with them, and struggle to remember what it's like to be in their arms and not have to talk. You plan your year around the day they get home, and you don't know when that day will be until it arrives. You weigh every single decision on the next time they'll be gone- you try to time things perfectly, while knowing there is a year's black hole that gets closer every day, and you will have to relive these feelings all over again.

So forgive me, please, for my overly-opinionated rants. Sometimes, a girl's gotta vent.

*Photographs by Sky- the boy I write about

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