In My Socks, In The Snow

22Feb08

21:19

Clyde left to report back to Ft. Bragg this morning. We spent three-and-a-half days together, days that, I’m afraid, I didn’t take full advantage of. I was so emotional in so many ways that I started quite a few moments of drama that I know both of us could have done without. I wish I could sit here and explain why I acted that way, but I really don’t know. I do know that I wish I hadn’t, but it’s too late to do anything about that now.

I was sitting in the living room when Clyde arrived at my house in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. When I heard him call “hello” from the foyer, I went in to see him. It was a movie moment; We saw one another, he dropped his bags and we were in one another’s arms. We exchanged gifts — a teddy bear for me, and some books for him — before settling into bed for a few hours of sleep. I woke up shortly after he did, and we shared our morning coffee, as we always do when he’s here. That time is the time that I miss the most while he’s gone, so I tried to linger in it, but Clyde has become accustomed to a more rapidly-moving morning, and he was off to the shower before my coffee even had time to cool in the cup. The day itself brought no production, although we did stop at the office so that he could say hello to some of his old co-workers. It was a lazy day, without a doubt, but that’s fine by me. We ordered Chinese, because Clyde has a thing for people bringing him food, and my stove isn’t working properly. I was sorry that I couldn’t cook for him, as I had promised, but there wasn’t anything that I could do about it at the time.

The second day was mostly the same — We sat around and watched movies. Again, that was the way he wanted to spend our time and I don’t pressure him to do any differently. I’m a quiet person by nature, and although I rarely engage in passive activities like watching television or movies without doing something else at the same time, I’m more than happy to indulge Clyde when he’s on passes.

Yesterday was spent with his family. There were some affairs that he had to manage before he left, and most of that time was going over paperwork. We went to dinner with his mother and had a good time. After, his mom let him borrow her car, and we stopped by Wal-Mart so that Clyde could buy a laptop and webcam to use during the deployment. While in line, Clyde was talking with the checkout clerk and he mentioned his upcoming deployment. While he and the clerk were talking, a woman in line behind Clyde looked at me, standing off to the side in Clyde’s Army shirt with tears in my eyes, and says to her friend, “Look at her. She ain’t happy. She don’t look so proud”. I almost clocked her, but I try to remain aware that my actions in situations like that reflect directly on Clyde, so I just shut my mouth. It had been an emotional day for me as it was, and a fight wasn’t going to help that at all. We came back to my house and hung out with my roommate. I have to say, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure how well Clyde and Justin would get along, but it turns out that Justin likes Clyde quite a bit, although he doesn’t take our relationship all that seriously because we haven’t been together long. Still, Justin can’t deny that Clyde cares for me, and that’s really all that he wants to see. I do have some wonderful, wonderful friends. ❤

I was up all night last night. Clyde tried to stay up with me, but he needed some sleep, and I was so emotional that I was picking fights, so I took that time to go downstairs for a shower and a good cry. I thought, foolishly, that having a fit then would keep me from falling apart later. I was wrong. From then on, I was in tears on-and-off (mostly on). Once Clyde was up, it was nothing but preparing for his departure. I was doing fairly well with keeping it together until I went up to the bedroom to make the bed. I broke down, and I am not one of those people that sits and simply sniffles quietly. I was sobbing, and Clyde heard me, so he came upstairs. As it was during Exodus, so it was again that we ended up sitting on my bed, crying together. I realize that, to some people, Clyde’s tears can be seen as a sign of weakness, and I agree, but that’s part of the point of them. He feels safe enough to cry with me, and he hurts when I hurt. Unfortunately, I made things much, much worse.

I had kept my personal opinions on the politics of the mission to myself up until that point. No matter what I think of the situation, I understand that he has to go, and that what he has to do over there comes first. I understand that he is following orders, as he swore to do, and I don’t ever want him to feel that he doesn’t have my full support. However, going through this situation has led to a great deal of emotion regarding the situation in Afghanistan. As this is a post about Clyde’s leave and not my personal politics, I won’t go into this here but, suffice it to say, I said things that I’m afraid may have made Clyde feel even more guilty about leaving me. That was never my intention, but that was what I did.

Too soon, he had to go. I was not anywhere near as strong as I was the last time. I was clingy, and I’m so very disgusted with myself for it. I walked him out the door, and watched as he crossed my walkway to the car. It was an impulse that I couldn’t control that drove me to call his name and run out into the snow in my socks. After a few minutes, we let go and said our see-you-soons (never good-bye). I went and stood up on the porch, watching him clean the snow from the windshield. He turned and started walking toward me. I thought he had forgotten something. He opened the door, and he gently pulled my arm until I was standing inside of the house; I guess he just couldn’t stand seeing me standing in the cold, crying. That fact doesn’t make it hurt any less, though. I wanted, needed, those last seconds of seeing him. I stood at the screen door instead. He was probably still able to see me, but it was a compromise.

I came back into my house and cried until my eyes swelled shut. I kept walking to the window, watching the snow fill in the space where his car had sat overnight. It filled quickly, too quickly, just another piece of proof that he was here that was disappearing. I couldn’t stop crying. Like the lucky girl I am, I called my mom and asked her to talk to me. Even though she was at work, she took the time to hear me cry, to remind me that I am so much stronger than I have ever thought I am, and that I am lucky enough to finally be in love with someone who deserves it. This is the first relationship I’ve ever had that holds no basis in dependence. I’ve had this time with him. What’s nine months out of a lifetime? While he is gone, I will have the opportunity to get my life to where I want it, so that, when he is finally home, I can focus on him as much as I want to without feeling that I am somehow indebted to him for my successes (not that he would ever try to make me feel that way). Yes, I am hurting, but I am also blessed. I would not trade this pain away for a lifetime without it, because that would mean I never got to know him. I will gladly trade these tears for his smile.
~Betty

My New Bedmate
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