Monday, June 23, 2008

I only wrote it 'cause I know he CAN'T be reading [now].

It happened last summer, too. Channels of information would barrel by, sideswiping me in the gossipy whirl of the newly engaged. I tried to let the confetti fall then with less effect, then when I was raw and refusing to heal. And now full on love also, I mask the sting of envy but artfully, more optimistically, more contented. I have found that I actually am glad for those embarking upon such a merging, in the same way I have grown to appreciate friend's whose soldiers have returned while mine remains away. It is one of the most grown-up lessons I've learned thus far, to be happy for others when the same place inside is filled with only echoes.

I'm one of those girls who dates with agenda, who loves with future visions, and scribbles a familiar first name with possible lasts [Mrs. The Staff Sergeant]. And for the first time, I am not met with similar views. I brought up the taboo language of Marriage once, too early of course. It blew up with a cacophony of offense and defense, blubbering and recoiling. We survived though.

- I'm sorry about last night.

- I'm sorry it scared me.

We carry with us the heavy weights of childhood impressions, though I am unsure why I want it so - the last name, the family-of-two, the Home anchor. But I do. I do ten-fold when he's gone and I'm weary from absence, and wondering, but pretty sure he doesn't think about Us that way. And week after week more futures spin by like trains with destinations I cannot see. Life works out how it should, I know, but there's no one I could imagine being more perfect than him. There is no one else I would willingly follow to the ends of the earth, through the obstacle course of Army, and war.

We're closing in on a year and maybe it seems rushed to claim readiness. But don't they say that when you know, you know?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

an honest attempt

I am determined to write something positive as my fingers hover over these familiar keys. I was recently honored by being allowed to grace the ranks of's twenty-something genre and while I think I should feel accomplished and elated, I'm fighting the urge to crawl beneath the nearest rock. Not only have I read the latest posts, I wrote them so I know they haven't been profound or interesting. They and I haven't had much to say.

I'm trying to warm to this new life with its slower pace and limited social interaction. On top of the steep shift of transition, I am still only acquainted with Army-ness, which has currently caused the most distinct abyss of separation to date. My life seems to be carved out in such a monotonous cycle from now until it dissolves into the horizon, accompanied by the end of a lease, the want of graduate school, career-lust, where-we're-going-next, and the rest of uncertainty. I have found that these times of unanchored purgatory are my most miserable. I am the type of person who needs an artery to ground them to a blood source. It doesn't help that the nearest thing to Constant is unavailable. So I wait. I'm waiting for the end of Six Months, waiting to sink my toes into new soil and take root. I'm waiting for him to return so we can talk - what a luxury taken for granted - waiting to start the right job search in the right city in the right industry, waiting to apply to a right local university. So I wait, in this temporary, lonesome state strung between nothing and being engulfed in the thickness of Living According to Direction.

Something positive.

If nothing else, I'm reading. Just like I said I would love to, I'm reading books that have nothing to do with business or school or final exams. I read now in a carefree way that I only recall from memories of grade school or summer vacations. There is no guilt, only wispy delight in worlds cracked open like rich yellowy yolks - the smells and heat of a childhood in Rhodesia and Zambia, the damning panic that moves one to murder, escaping war-torn Sudan to the American violence of Atlanta. They inspire me to strain my reach toward the dream of one day growing into a writer. They let me step away from all the worry of Life's meaning and my role, from the weight of missing him and from counting the hours until he is home again.

While I am desperately trying to appreciate this new journey, the effects of the institution are strong and wrangling. I am a little lost without the obligation of college and afraid of the great-big-world sitting all cocked and ready to either act as my salvation or to happily crush me. This grown up chapter is frightening, especially without the support of my other half. I'll get through it just like I've powered through all the other trying times of my life, and I'll learn new things and I'll grow, just like in the other struggles to find myself. I'm sorry it often manifests from a dreary place inside, but I'll try to do you better than surpluses of desolation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

so THIS is the journey for which I've been longing?

I've concluded that I am really quite dull as a newly-graduated, single-but-not individual. Today's high point was a pair of paisley pajamas, that mind you, match the latest purchase of my table linen craze.

[Make that painfully dull.]

Oh, and I can't leave out the errand I was hopefully looking forward to following work - exchanging a pair of unmentionables for The Staff Sergeant. Annnnd just for good measure, and because I am not absolved of my pathetic solitary existence with only those few sad confessions, I stopped by the cologne counter on my way out of the store to douse a card stock sliver with his scent. It should be easy to make an evening of drinking [alone], huffing the magic of Kenneth Cole, hypnotized by the over-dramatic absurdities that constitute Lifetime television, all clad in said paisley jammies.

Enviable, no?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

you show me [I'll find my way]

I'm draped in this navy North Face t-shirt, many sizes too large and soft like infant skin. He offers it to me as he's packing to leave, he gives it to replace the one I had kidnapped and he has since borrowed back. It feels just like the powder blue shirt he wears as he folds this one in his hands and asks if I want it while he's gone. I tell him it would be better on him, sandwiched thin and tempting between him and my finger tips. Calling my bluff, he reminds me that I don't seem to need the lure.


I've given in to the taunting, bothersome self-sorrow of those who wait. I've grown tired of shooing Lonesome from my breathing space, and invited her instead for red wine and channel surfing, and a pitiful blog dispersion. I want his letters to spill from my mailbox into mounds of envelopes addressed in his hand. I want him back from parts-unknown so badly that tonight it's choking.

Tomorrow is another day, and that's what he would tell me. "You'll feel better in the morning," he would suggest in his usual, steady optimism. But it would be better to hear it come crisply from his own lips, and in a perfect world, from the pillow beside mine upon waking.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

this too shall pass

My fingers jostle the keys again, this time with a prayer to resurrect the failed engine, a silent pleading to at least have it try turning over. Nothing. Sweat is gathering in crystalline beads at my hairline and I am seemingly stuck, helpless, in this asphalt lot. I curse in futile breaths the wrong turkey sausages and the overpriced saffron that have finally been hunted down and now sit, baking in my passenger seat. We aren't going anywhere but here, static and pooling.

The day moves like this from the beginning, a forward motion unstopped, a freight train destined to plow through every inconvenient obstacle. I am a Murphy's Law poster child this Thursday with weak, up-thrown arms and tear-striped cheeks. Dad says, "Wiggle the battery cables. Just twist them, they're loose." They are bolted to the battery, unyielding. "Now try turning on the lights. Give them a good shake," he continues. But they're not loose. He commands for them to be turned, over and over again until I am tempted to shout profanities over the phone and collapse onto the blacktop in useless weeping.

Gremlins, they're called, Deployment Gremlins. Only he's not quite that gone, but in ways more gone than that. I snap a frustrated "good bye" to my father and call Jill. Jill can save me temporarily and will [and does]. Then I call his best friend, whose number I've been given for "emergencies" like this, for a second opinion. I ask him not to tell me to wiggle the cables. He trouble shoots as best he can from where he is and over the phone, but there isn't much he can say about the beached car and how best for it to be coaxed back into life. Jill jumps it like the doctors on television. CLEAR! ju-junk. And the motor growls in phony reassurance.

Something soft and feminine in me breaks. I am driving to the car parts store bawling-angry dialing my mom because I want someone to listen. She answers, unknowing, "Hey Princess!" and I break into an open sob. "Cheer me up," I say, "my car is broken and he isn't here to fix it." But she and I are fixers, so she tries fixing, and tells me not to yell until I say, "I don't need you to fix this, I just need you to listen!" Then her voice becomes cozy and pleasant and she says that, "everything will be okay and he'll be home soon." She's right and this could be so much worse than it probably is, so I wrap myself up in the stream of her words and quiet my drama in stuttering gasps.

The first stop identifies the empty, nothing-left-to-give battery that has troubled my mobility and my relaxed, day-off optimism. But they don't have the replacement. Their shelves are bare. The second stop offers the same vacant hole in the wall of car batteries, but a more expensive model is there, wanting to nestle into the space beneath my hood. I hiss, "I'll take it," to the old man behind the counter. He returns my obvious exhaustion with comic relief that I need to rid myself of the urge to cry again. He suggests a pace-maker and I laugh - only once and with arrogance. There are 1000 places I'd rather be than here in this oil-smelling shop where I clearly don't belong. He gathers all of the pieces and parts to install the brick of plastic encased power. I add a Diet Coke and with a wink he flashes the "friends and family 20% off coupon" before scanning it. I am humbled and thankful for the small, but generous gesture.

In the 4 o'clock heat I find a concrete pole to lean against. I prop myself here as he comforts and urges the bolts to let go, and as my plastic bottle of cola perspires down her molded curves and onto my naked legs. I watch his dexterous determination for hours until finally he is finished. I silence the untamed desire to crumple at his feet in thankful praise, and instead call him my hero on the front end of genuine appreciation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

no matter what I do

Summer, like Recession, settled in before we claimed it and before we expected June's sticky slop-for-air. The pristine mornings already are robbed of fresh infancy by humid fog and blinding brightness.

Creek banks are rotting in the sweet stink of rained berries that I've never noticed in all of three years. How they have hidden for so long is my newest quandary. They bleed between my sandaled toes, turning the pink skin deep purple and refusing to wash away. The grass is littered with them, unavoidable in my a.m. and p.m. promenades. I have quickly grown to hate them and the fruit flies they summon in herds. At night, there is a fortunate breeze that will linger only for a while, until the wavy, squiggled mirages of August's Hell settle. Limbs thick with fringe rustle in air not yet still, above the flaming, flickering bulbs of fireflies.

I've walked among these reoccurring scenes for weeks now as my beginnings and ends have become marked with the reliable biology of my dog's need to empty. Only this night I noticed the trees and the hum of early June and the sad, lonely seduction of myself. The warm change of season brings me here where without reason, I withdraw. Every year, slightly askew from the last in its nature, leading me not quite into the depths of Darkness, but to walk on the hems of her skirts. I could bore us both with years of analysis, but I won't. Instead, I'll only say that it comes uninvited with a restless itch.

I've staved off the temptation to succumb, thus far, with a distracted dialog, an open conversation that I imagine to have with him. I comment on the day's doldrums and anticipate the way he would laugh or tease me. I relive and re-relive the archived moments stowed away and rationed in times like this, so the hours keep steady, not losing any momentum. There is something to look toward in them passing as my life might seem to have otherwise settled in 9-to-5, flat monotony.

On the patio of that coffee bar where earlier I sat to scribble empty lines, deep, throaty Blues wafted from speakers over-head. Maybe it's the heavy heat, the weeks having denied us the luxury of communication, rotting-fruit-stench, or a glitch in my psyche that has caused my low spirit. No matter the root, I am lonesome tonight. I am the aching pluck of guitar strings and the brooding ballads birthed in The Delta.