June 22, 2006
It has been four weeks since he left for the war… If I’m being honest though, it feels like an entire lifetime has passed. I can picture him, marching in his neatly ironed uniform with a hard face of seriousness and determination; one man in a huge line of many dedicated men and women. The last time that I got to see him, when his safety was still promised, was a sunny Wednesday morning in May. One last “I love you”. One last time to squeeze his hand and look into his warm eyes. One last kiss. The final moments of love and passion before he left to fight his battle. How long will you be gone? That was undetermined. The uncertainty of it all is what I struggle with the most. Will I be one of the lucky ones who sees their loved one when this is all over? Will he be the same man I’ve learned to love? My life is filled with questions that don’t have any definite answers. I miss him already; he’s beginning to feel like a fading memory.
I’ve only known him for ten months, but I can no longer remember what it was like to exist without him by my side. I have never felt so close to another person in my life. He had become my family. I was drawn to him at first glance, with his brown eyes, golden in the sun, and his dark curly hair that had a knack of constantly falling in his face, though he loved to insist he didn’t need a haircut. He has the kind of laugh that would fill the room. Just looking at him is enough to make you smile. As time went on, I got to know his charming personality and learned that he is a man of honour, with a big heart yearning to spread his love. At first, he made me kind of nervous, but after I got to know him better, I found myself saying, “this is it; I want to spend the rest of my life with this man.”
Now his curls are gone, and his cropped hair cut makes him seem colder. Though his eyes were still golden in the sunlight the day we said goodbye, they were glazed over with fear and filled with tears. He didn’t let that show in his words of confidence, but he seems to forget how well I know him. Fear has its ways of crawling into even the bravest of hearts.
Loving him was the biggest and best risk I’ve ever made. I know that seems like nothing compared to the risks he has taken, but vulnerability is something I had struggled with until I had met him. He taught me things about myself that I had locked away for so long that I had almost forgot about. That felt new even though they had been a part of me for so long. I love him because he taught me to love myself in ways, I didn’t know were possible. I love him not only for the way he loves me and cares for me, but also for the kind of man he is to others. If you were to stop anyone that knows him and ask him what kind of a man he is, they would tell you what a selfless and giving person he is and that he would lay down his life for someone in need. That’s exactly what he was doing, when he enlisted in the army, risking his life for the good of others.
I know it may seem selfish for me to want to keep him to myself. Seal him into a tiny envelop, fold him up and keep him in my shirt pocket for safe keeping and so he can forever stay close to my heart. But I only just got him. I wasn’t ready to let go. There were so many more firsts that we were meant to have together that were put on hold indefinitely. I feel guilty when I complain like this because he is doing this for the safety and security of others. I should be grateful to know someone like that.
I was hoping that his letters would smell like him. But after I received the first, I realised this could never be true. It smelled like dust. His writing didn’t even look like his own. It was rushed and scribbled and filled with none of the lightness you would expect to read from a mailed letter. Then again what could I have been expecting? This wasn’t some love letter from my pen pal or distant boyfriend. He wasn’t writing me poetry in a café in Paris or at a bistro in Florence. He was living in a hot, dimly lit tent shared with a handful of grubby men. He didn’t have free time to spend twiddling his thumbs and write me a long winded and loving letter. There wasn’t even much about his day that he wanted to tell me. I expected all the rest to pretty much sound like the first: Hello my love, still alive. Yours always…
I know I’m rambling on at this point. But there is no other way to express how I truly feel than to you. I feel like I begin to sound ungrateful when I talk about my fears and how upset and lonely, I feel about everything that has been going on since he announced that he was joining the army. These pages can be tossed or burned or put away for ever and my words and worries would never have to becoming a reality.
I am grateful to our little apartment and the parts of him that continue to linger here. I won’t have him for a long time if, though I hate to even think it, let alone put it into words and write it down, he ever comes home….
Which reminds me that I must go check on my test. I missed my period last week and ended up peeing on a stick. I’ll be back to let you know how that turns out.