Today was one of the particularly hard days. Deployments aren’t fun for anyone, but I’ve really gained a new perspective to what people go through when their significant other goes away overseas.
I try to keep my composure as I drive to my favorite coffee shop to sit down and write. I flip through the radio stations until one sits well with me. The song finishes as I keep my eyes glued to the road; it’s the only thing I can do to not completely break down.
Taylor Swift’s “Ours” comes on and it’s words have a new meaning now than when it first came out. I want to change it, but my hands don’t seem to be cooperating with my brain. I notice the car in front of me has a tiny “Army Strong” sticker at the bottom left of the bumper. My eyes feel full.
When a Ford F-150 glides to a stop at the light next to me, I pull over, gripping the steering wheel with all the strength I have. I rest my head on it, and the tears feel like rain spilling into my lap.
I wonder why the world has to be so screwed up that innocent people need to try and fix all of the problems. I feel like the most selfish person in the world because my soldier has it a lot harder than I do and because I just want him home and suddenly don’t care about the rest of the world. My heart misses him, and I feel like I don’t remember what it’s like to have a hand to hold. This long distance has been the easiest I’ve done, in the sense that I don’t ever question where we stand with each other, but it’s also one of the most painful things in the world watching someone you love go somewhere you can’t keep him safe. Not knowing that everything will be okay is far worse than just missing him.
I sniffle, alone in my car, and realize I have to keep it together for myself and my significant other. I wipe my eyes and smudge the mascara further across my cheek. I shift the gear into “drive,” and muster up the courage to go into the warm, bright cafe after fixing my makeup again.
I force myself to smile when I finally order my coffee.
I’m tired of being strong; I never had the years of training that make someone “Army Strong,” and don’t feel like I fit in. Love is sometimes simple, but other times it’s feeling everything all at once.