Monday, May 26, 2008

new light

Driving home along the forgotten highways of small town America, I passed a lot filled by white crosses wedged temporarily into sod. Adorned with tiny flags, the flock of homemade stakes scattered the lawn with names of fallen soldiers, deflowering the innocent structures in mournful, black ink. So many names of so many lost, and so many, many also left behind. My throat swelled into a choking knot as the memorial arrived and disappeared quickly into the background of my rear view.

I know that I am no exception, that I am following legions of proud footsteps belonging to those devoted women who have loved and waited for warriors. I know that wars have and will always be waged and that some soldiers return from battle and that some do not. Each day arrives with chance, and sometimes it takes a patch of crosses, cultivated by grievous loss, to act as a reminder of how high the wager actually is.

I let my mind momentarily graze an empty image of only his name left painted on whitewashed timber. The thought alone prickled my skin and sickened my gut. I said a prayer to an unknown god for the empty beds and widowed wives, for the victims of warfare, for the entire chaos of the fight. And one of gratitude, one for hope and protection, strength and endurance.

On quiet nights awaiting his departure I've been known to pout my lips and confess to wishing he didn't have to go and for his job to be less soldier-esque. Following routine, he pulls me into him with a knowing strength. His reply is serious and sincere as he reminds me that he wouldn't be all the things I love if it weren't for these parts, too. I know its true. What I don't know is how I'd ever settle for a mere memory of them.

Friday, May 23, 2008

while we wait

It was the same juvenile giddiness that follows that first call to your home line, asking for you - that first taste of what "love" must be like. Remember when you were certain that it was, in whole, the prepubescent boy-child who fancied you enough to chase you down on the playground until you were rosy-cheeked and out of breath?

There I dawdled in the retail lull of early morning, catching up on an order that needed processing, filing some paperwork from the day before. I neatened up my corner of the shop and was grabbing for my keys to retrieve something from my car when my phone began to dance across the glass counter top. I haphazardly reached for it expecting a wrong number [or my mother]. Instead, it was my surfacing soldier two weeks later! Stomach spinning and heart startling into a feverish pulse, I fumbled to find a simple construct of "hello." It's awfully hard to push words through the strain of a grin like that, but I managed to partake in 15 blissful minutes of conversation before his calling beckoned his return.

The strangest phenomenon in this process is the way that perspective is so slyly rearranged. Before him, a quarter of an hour would have been an insufficient pinprick of time. I never would have settled for something so slight to sustain such an unbalanced proportion of time apart. He melts and reconfigures me before I am even aware and I hang happily on those sparse words exchanged in the otherwise barren wait for his return.

As I battled a bought of usual frustration one night, I joked with him that he should have handed over a manual when he finally confessed his profession. I heard his smirk convey through the sound waves of yet another phone call as he explained that he was under the impression I was writing it. In rare moments like today, I feel that I have proven maybe an ounce of compliance to the military life. I feel a hair closer to being malleable in the way that the army needs its wives and girlfriends to be. If we never become able to bend, the nature of this would be crushing. Looking back it seems not that I am writing a definitive how-to, but that I am in some manner, recording my slow and awkward success.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

out of control

I've been falling short in the blogging world but rapidly excelling in the one of Domestic Goddessery. I always seem to do things backwards. It's one of my signature trademarks. I bought a house at 20 and shed it for apartment living. My collegiate journey entails a number of forward and backward motions, and now I have taken up nesting long before I have a partner to nest for or with. But to my credit, it does put me leaps and bounds ahead in my goals to dethrone the reign of Martha Stewart one good thing at a time.

While I haven't been here launching creative ideas through prose, I have been busy in my mind redecorating and stocking my life with such creature comforts that enable one to claim that they are one or two steps closer to being a real-life, adult, girl. It began with china - fine china. I used my graduation money to purchase the most beautiful, S. Princess-esque white and gold set of Richard Ginori, "Duchessa Gold." It was love at first sight and when the shipment arrived, it was like Christmas! Naturally the gorgeous plates and cups and saucers and coffee pot needed a vintage cream and I ebay-ed until I found a pair that added a little funk to the mix. With special plates, I needed fancy table linens...and acquired several many tablecloths and napkins and chargers, etc. And because I had all of these new pieces with which to entertain I needed a place to house them - enter vintage sideboard/china cabinet. And while I was seeking out the furniture to hold the china, I happened upon a spectacular vintage dresser that needed to come live in my bedroom...and a Dwell duvet cover because...[at this point, why the hell not?]. you see, it's been a rambling and ridiculous frenzy of gathering, and I have justified it through the reasoning that I am now a grown-up and need an adult home. I need adult china and linens and old, substantial furniture, and new stemware and more silver. There's no time to blog when the writer is 100% consumed with and obsessed with collecting crap. That's part of it. The other part is the value of a thorough distraction. I haven't talked to The Staff Sergeant in 11 days and counting. This stint is a rough and lonely one, and as I excuse my crazed behavior with the "adult" tag, I'll also admit that it's an outlet used to soak up the Lovesick.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


The raw beams beneath my feet squeak after eras of wear, and the old warehouse is scattered with oscillating fans, having slept through the HVAC movement. I wander and weave between the labyrinth of booths if only to prod along the conversational ache of hardwood and to eavesdrop on the murmur of fan blades. I am home here among the rusted, paint-chipped, vintage silhouettes and the stories they would tell if words were theirs.

My mother likes to kid that she raised me in the back-roads antique shops of the South. Her "therapy", she called such pit-stops on these desolate highways. I used to loathe being dragged along the eternally winding aisles of cluttered shelves and ancient furniture. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to venture forth into the world of relics left over, but mostly my priorities were more child-like than antiques could entertain. Regardless, she would park her car, unbuckle me, and lead me inside. Those owners were just as humble as their shops, older and prone to the liberal use of Honey and Baby. I imagine they held their breath as I scampered in behind my mother's steps. None of these external factors would deter her, though, this was her salvation in a world of self-made chaos.

It's no wonder that my heart aged much more rapidly than it's vessel. Just as she reflects on my raising, I would swear I got lost in the mix of time. Even though I've long since moved out of my nest and away from her, some roots are too deep to shake loose. At the end of another work day, with the sour of homesick in my core, I set out in search of a refuge.

I found myself in the wondrous cave of this antique mall. I stood quiet before its floor-to-ceiling windows, open wide to swallow gulps of sunshine and breeze. To my right a big, white fan purred affections, smoothing back my hair in a maternal charade. I thought of summer days spent in my childhood home and the smell of Dad's fresh-cut grass slipping in between the honeycomb mesh of window screens. Then, there was a feeling of peace when nothing had yet hooked me, when I was still virginal and naive. I miss not worrying what I'm going to do with my life or how I will learn to survive the military staple of separation. It's strange how Home manifests itself in the old trinkets of other's pasts and in a man who wears camouflage and smells distinctly like Kenneth Cole.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

hello, hello.

Even now I am unsure what to log, and it isn't that I've been void of thoughts to reflect on or plagued by a lull in my need to garnish an opinion. I come to this place ritualistically, a habit formed by months and months of writing something. But I am empty and exhausted. I feel like I need to say something about the long scholarly journey of college and how it changed and matured me. I feel like I should be able to choke out at least a few woeful verses given my most recent circumstances of love. The truth is that all I can muster is body shaking sigh of relief that I have conquered an undergraduate degree. All I can bring myself to note about matters of the heart and the military is redundant - I miss him and love him more than I ever thought possible. But this is life and I'm staying afloat. For once it seems that the struggle has lessened. For the past week it seems that I've given up the frantic treading of water and allowed myself the luxury of a lackadaisical back-stroke. I'm taking a break because I can and loving every idle minute of it. Soon I'll be back. I've got so many stories to tell, after all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Long time coming.

I can't believe it's over! Finally! No more lectures or power points, no more papers or all-nighters pulled to write them! No more tests or finals! I graduate on Saturday.

[Hello, Adulthood. I'm not sure we've become fully acquainted.]

Monday, May 5, 2008

I [heart] my soldier.

For various reasons, I still must be vague. The undefined churning has been no thanks to Uncle Sam, but I'm sure that was clear in one of the various past posts reeking of drama. I'm not much for roller coasters, you see. They're fun at first with the weightless sensation and the washing cycle tickle in your middle space. Then the curdling occurs and the surplus of unknown dips and turns and up-side-down loops becomes much more than you had ever really wanted. It's hard to ride this high for too long without finding yourself eventually bent over the first available bush or retching into the open mouth of a trash can. Thrill rides are best handled in small doses for a reason...because after too many jolting corkscrew twists, the fragile girl frays a little at the edges and would much prefer the ride to slow [if only for a minute].

This is one of the more volatile stretches it seems, one for which I could not have been prepared. As usual...well, you've read how well I've handled the rapid changes.

I'm driven to write most often by those ravaging feelings that need to be purged lest they eat me alive in viral gluttony. The joyous ones are held close, achieving the same comfort as a child's blanket - sacred, guarded and mine. I come here to unload the blubbering nights and the sometimes scalding recaps of less favorable interactions because I want my memories to remain untainted. I want my night and day dreams to be mystically romantic and heart-fluttering, not marred by the inconsiderate mishaps doled out by The Army. In rereading the last week or so worth of posts, it has become apparent that I have unjustly deprived The Staff Sergeant of any homage owed. It's the institution that's hard [for me], not us. It's the tremendous challenge of assimilation that feels so large and intolerable at times. It's the high-speed roller coaster that makes me restless. He on the other hand, is incredible.

There are some things that you should know, some filler for the woe: I take him out of his element...much farther, I'm guessing, than he would ever want. I'm certain that I test his patience. I know that there are moments when my girly-ness is just as foreign to him as his army-ness is to me. We don't always see eye-to-eye. He doesn't love everything that I do and I do some things anyway [blogging him, for example]. He's very strong and very brave and very, very admirable. When it would be so easy for him to hang up the phone, he chooses to stay on the other end even when I'm sure he and I are both teetering on the edge of sanity. We speak other languages entirely when we try to process the meaty parts of this relationship. Imagine trying to achieve a serious goal with a Martian. You are equipped only with the ability of're both blind or stuck on the phone. Just imagine it. I spit a phrase and it comes out skewed on his end, but he doesn't give up on me. He reminds me that this isn't just my new terrain.

He sent me roses on my birthday when he couldn't be there. He took me shopping this weekend, for no reason. He opens every door for me even when I've become accustomed to opening my own. He takes my cookies to work even though he gets heat for his girlfriend's home-baked goods. He picked up that I heart my soldier sticker I've been wanting even though the cliche and kitsch [probably] make his skin crawl. He's honest and doesn't play emotional games. He's supportive of my dreams and always tries to live up to whatever I've said that I need him to be. He humors my not-so-funny-after-all stories. He humors me a lot, actually.

That's just the shallow end of him, but I'll save some things because he isn't much for exposure. He's infinitely more than opened doors and purchases. He's more than humoring and supporting me. He's also more than absurdly sexy, but I felt I that justice couldn't be served without its brief mention.

I admit that the reading has been bleak as of late. If you asked him, he'd probably say that the chatter has been as well. My heart however is weathering the storm just fine - a little ache never killed anyone. He's back this time for a literal minute and the next jaunt into the world bodes poorly for even phone calls. That's very hard to think about even now without feeling dreadful tears begin to scratch at my eyes. I'm not good with missed milestones, just as I have outgrown my love for roller coasters. I'm not a fan of lonely nights or long stints of absence either. I would have never chosen the army but some things are well worth their sacrifices. Seeing his smile after weeks without it is one of those things, and I'd do it ten-fold to be able to wake up in his arms.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

back again

I'm up and showered and perusing the wealth of internet info for a breakfast recipe...something hearty, or maybe just something sweet. Pancakes, I think.

Behind me, he lays still in bed. After returning he swears that he isn't leaving the comfort of its pillow top and soft sheets for a time likened to eternity. I hear his shallow breaths of sleep and now and then he readjusts beneath the blankets. I could just now leave this screen, take only a few short steps and touch him for the mere sake of feeling his skin, if I wanted. He is home.

The funny, yet predictable phenomenon surrounding this to-and-fro pace is that anger and upset have a very limited hold when there he is walking toward you in the baggage claim belly of the airport. And when he wraps you up almost twice in his strong arms so much bigger than you or your own, their presence dwindles still. When he inhales the scent of your hair and tells you he loves you and missed you, and when he smiles in that slightly boy-ish way because he really does and really did, those emotional burs have long been shed. For better or worse, they are left on the worn tile floor to be swept away by the late-night cleaning crew. And I am happy to leave them there [unresolved] because giddy is a lot less thorny and doesn't prickle through the top of my socks.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nobody's lost but nobody wins

comes from

I fear tearing open the paper pouch because it seems that more brilliance and truth lies in the packaging of a tea bag than in my own emotional scope. I'm trying. I'm trying so hard not to want more than I've got, more than I get to have. I'm trying and failing so well that grace is an unimaginable attribute today. I'm not even trying to fake it, rather I'm trying to keep from slamming the cell phone messenger into the wall or surrendering my attempted composure to primal screams or to just slip into a warm bath of hysterics. What a relief it would be to just let it go and to have it gone and then to be able to go on as the sunny version of me.

I feel feeble and small. I feel helpless next to the piled obstacles. And clumsy. I feel more clumsy now than at any other time I've ever tried walking this road. I've slipped and tumbled and scraped and bruised, then risen to break again. I don't know why I am so bad at this.

[and all this like a message comes to shift my point of view. and watching through my own light. as it tints the shade of you]

neither kindness, mercy or forgiveness.

"If this is too much for you...," he exhales, but never finishes the thought to which we both know its conclusion.

Maybe this time it is. I can't help feeling awkwardly out of place in the company of his hissed curses and my panicked, flailing arms desperately searching for a rewind button that doesn't exist. I am no longer leaking water, but taking on pools of lead and the stifled sobs within me would rather overtake my person like hungry depths of sea. At maximum capacity my words become lost to reckless breaths, my face is hot and contorted with tears. I know that this pending eruption will poison my soul if I cannot release it so I plead with him to hang up until he concedes.

His exasperation is so palpable that it has taken on a presence in even my room. I imagine his stoic order of ale, a timeless solution to the midnight lover's quarrel. I know him and yet I am bewildered by the means of this transaction, how it came to this intersection and failed to yield. We were whole before we were wreckage...

[we were, right?]

Closing my phone, I place it delicately onto my nightstand, turn away from it and bury myself in all 600 threads. No one else is home and I don't care if I can be heard beyond my walls. For every fairytale that this is not, for every inflated tax paid to distance and time, for every four letter word combination that would never encompass this fury and heartbreak, for every war ever waged, I protest in choking wails.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why, is not this better now than groaning for love?

mercy and

I fear what is coming from the sour sinking in my heart. An unexplainable pang, or dare I claim an intuition? It caught me today with a sudden grieving, I pray too soon and unnecessarily. And what to make of me, a brave young fatalist, trusting signs sent not by tea leaf but worse, tea bag?

Only Shakespeare would pose such comic tragedy, such foolery of Fortune, and foretelling. Perhaps the Universe wants only for me to act with kindness at all times and to practice forgiveness more wholly and consciously. A blanket statement, if you will.

A coincidence. It must be that simple, that all of my discourse happened to align with the random selection of that pomegranate package tonight. Oh, but if I am wrong and it is that ill news is to be ladled from the scalding pot...will I have the composure to practice kindness? To be merciful? Will I be humble and forgiving, as advised?

[let's just cross that bridge when/if we get there.]

so close I can almost taste it...

I'm here, I'm still here!

[albeit frazzled and should-be-studying]

I feel neglectful and unresponsive, but school, these last, painfully long days of school, has called shotgun to the rest of living. 4 exams stand between me and that long sought after diploma, and so as tempting as these warm nights of spring can be to throw caution to the wind and...relax or blog or do anything other than pore over stacks of hand-crafted flashcards, I must power on through the jargonny fog.

Next week I'll be back and full of jubilation!