Military GF


13:17

A full thirty days have passed since I saw Clyde last. Over those thirty days, I spent an inordinate amount of time moping. I’m getting my grip back, though, and finding my stride.

So, of course, something has changed.

Clyde has been granted a four-day pass for next month. He will be spending it here. Of course, I’m excited to see him again, to spend some more time with him. Still, I’m also dreading it, in a way. It means going through the good-byes all over again. They were rough the first time, and ten times as bad the second time. I’m not looking forward to the third time.

Everything that I’m reading tells me that this is normal. My common sense of psychology tells me this is normal, too. It’s a self-protective mechanism. Great! That just doesn’t make me feel any less guilty about it. I felt the same way while he was here the last time; As it came down the the last couple of days, in some ways, I just wanted it to be over.

It’s a difficult way to feel, wanting to just get the pain over with, but it’s the way it seems to be. The hard truth is, since he has to go, I just want him to go already! I’m tired of thinking about it, tired of dreading it. I just want it to happen. The sooner he deploys, the sooner the countdown begins. I’m sick of waiting.

I know it sounds awful, but this is the way it is right now. Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow. I don’t know.

~Betty


Lonely

26Jan08

03:30

It’s one of those nights that are hard to get through, I guess. I’m not sure what set it off, if anything. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I won’t see Clyde again for so long. It’s stupid, really; I got along without him in my life just fine for almost twenty-six years. We don’t live together. We haven’t even been seeing one another for too terribly long of a time. Exodus was amazing, but it shouldn’t have been enough to make it hard to live day-to-day without him here. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way, and it’s really irritating me.

~Betty


01:55

I got to spend almost a full hour on the phone with Clyde this afternoon. It’s been a while since we were able to talk that long.

He’s doing amazingly well in training, and he’s enjoying himself a bit more. Thank God, because, when he gets bored, he gets rather bitchy.

I’m doing better. I miss him terribly, but I don’t feel like sitting around and crying all day, either.

~Betty


Almost Fight

11Jan08

15:09

Clyde and I just came to the brink of our first fight… via text messages.

CLYDE: A Lt. Col. just told me I was cute. I am scared. I love you babe

BETTY: HE should be scared. I’ll fuck up his existence in a life-long kinda way. >:-) You are cute though, so I’ll respect his good taste while I’m at it. I love you.

CLYDE: She is the leader of my PRT, and its still kind of creepy. I love you Betty, and I love it when you talk violence.

BETTY: You couldn’t leave me with my assumptions, could you? Jackass. I know how you curry favor with female superiors. LOL (*)

CLYDE: Fine, HE is still my commander and with one exception I do not mix business and pleasure, especially when it is against the rules and I am in love with you.

BETTY: And I am teasing. Lighten up a bit please? Let’s not have our first fight via text messages. How can you appreciate how cute I am when I’m mad that way?

CLYDE: You’re right baby. Sorry. Tempers are a little high around here and I am sorry for directing it at you. I do love and miss you.

BETTY: It happens. Nothing to be sorry for. Are you ok? Can you tell me what is going on?

He called right after that. It seems that, after four days on the range, suddenly having to spend an entire day in classes leads to a lot of pent-up aggression. I can see what he means. I also have an idea as to why they are running the training the way that they are. I just can’t tell Clyde what I think.

So much of military training is about psychology, and part of the trick with mass psychology is that, once the confusion is broken, the training suffers, because the people being trained are no longer desperate for something to hold on to, a mental anchor.

It seems Clyde isn’t the only one silenced.

~Betty

(*At his civilian job, I was Clyde’s supervisor. Hence, we didn’t really start taking this seriously until shortly before he left the company to prepare for deployment.)


00:06

“I know what you’ve done, but I’m not going to beat you over the head with it every chance I get”, he says to me, tonight.

I say nothing.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Are you there?” he says.

I say, “Partly. The rest of me is thinking about how, someday, I’ll tell you how much what you just said, what it meant to me”

He says nothing.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

“I’ll love you, no matter what happens”, he says to me.

I told him, “I’m going to hold you to that”.

He says nothing.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

“I don’t understand why you have such a hard time believing this” he says to me.

I say, “There are a multitude of reasons for this, most of which don’t even involve you. However, there’s also the fact that you lie to me”.

“I told you that I’m working on it” he says.

I say, “I believe you, and I appreciate it. You also told me that you still want to get one over on me”.

“I wouldn’t do that to you with something this serious” he says.

I say nothing.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

I say, “You’d better actually be the person you’re acting like you are, or there’s going to be some serious problems down the road”.

He says nothing.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

This is what it’s like to have a serious conversation on a cell phone when one of the parties in that conversation is on a military installation in another part of the country. You just have to imagine that the lines of dots represent times when reception cuts out, and the ensuing minutes while the non-military party waits for a call-back.

I am NOT looking forward to trying to talk when he’s finally in-country. I’m really, really not.

(For the record, in the end, we held a signal long enough to say I love you and good night).

 

~Betty


The Mission

05Jan08

Since last night, I’ve been replaying a part of my conversation with Clyde over and over again in my head. We were discussing my respect for the fact that his mission is more important than I am. Frankly, until he said something, I didn’t consider it all that remarkable. How could I claim to love a soldier and not respect that basic tenet? This is important to him. This is what he chose. I have no right to stand in the way, or to make him feel guilty for this. He may not have chosen his deployment, but he chose his service. He has a job to do, and I want to support him in that, as I want to support him in all of his endeavors.

The mission comes first. Egos be damned. It is the same when you are the partner or spouse of a soldier. What WE need matters much, much less than the mission. What we simply want doesn’t mean anything at all. Deal with it, or get away. We are a distraction to begin with. Don’t make matters worse by trying to place yourself before what is best for your soldier. The same goes for me, and for Clyde. I would rather him die protecting another soldier than for him to be the sole survivor and come home to me, not only because I respect the mission, but because I know that he would make that same choice, given the slightest chance. Yes, I want him to come home. I also don’t want anyone else to have to deal with the harm or death of a loved one just so that I don’t have to, nor do I want Clyde to feel that he didn’t do his job, that he lost his honor as well as a comrade. That would haunt him forever. Those men and women out there with him have a bond with him I can never share or break. I don’t know war. I don’t know that kind of fear. No matter how many times Clyde may tell me what he’s seen, or how he feels about it (which he hasn’t even bothered to do, and I don’t ask), I will never truly understand. I know this. I accept this, and I trust that his training and his squad will help him through it, because I know that I can’t.

The mission is what matters. It is what they have chosen. To interfere is to show how small your love truly is. Come home with your shield or on it. There is no in between. Defeat is preferable to surrender. Death is preferable to capture. Nothing is as honorable as death in the name of your brothers. This is the way it is. Accept it, or leave it be. It cannot be changed. It’s called honorable survival.

I was raised with these beliefs. They didn’t just suddenly appear when Clyde came into my life. I believed them when I had no stake in them. How can I change that now, just because I have a personal interest? How can I ignore what I know to be true just because it is inconvenient? I can’t, and I won’t, even if the way is shown to me.

It is not only warriors who can have honor.

~Betty


23:18

Clyde and I just hung up from our first conversation since he reported back to duty. We spoke several times during his bus ride, and again, briefly, when he first got back on base, but this was the first time he’d called since he got back into uniform. It was also the first conversation where I wasn’t crying when we hung up. I’m glad for that. He’s told me before that it upsets him when I cry, and that he doesn’t want me to cry for him. I’d rather just cry when he won’t know about it.

I was surprised to find that he still sounds like himself, instead of the way he did when he first reported for training. Our first conversation, after he left home in December, was a difficult one for me. It was as if there was a whole new person talking to me with Clyde’s voice. His vocabulary was different, his rhythm of speech, even the tone of his voice. It took me a while to adjust and accept the fact that, for whatever reason, this was one more way that he was going to change. Then, he came back on leave, and was back to the self I had met in the first place — Gentle, charming, prone to polite euphemisms. During his last two days here, bits and pieces of the rougher side of him came back, and we ended up having a conversation about it. I told him then: I’m not complaining. I’m curious about why these things are developing at this point in time. I wasn’t asking him to change anything, just to give me some small amount of understanding as to why it is happening. Now, when I’m talking to him, I can tell that he’s aware of the changes in the way that he talks to me, and he’s trying to avoid them. It’s frustrating; I don’t want my feelings to stop him from doing whatever it is that he wants or has to do. I’m not sure if I’ll mention it to him or not.

Today was my Offical Day of Binging and Moping. I did nothing but eat, watch movies, and mess around on the computer. Oh, and cried. A lot. My roommate asked me to go out with him and his fiancee, but I said no. All I’m thinking about is Clyde, so that’s all I’m talking about, and I know it’s annoying to people. Besides, I wanted to indulge myself for one more day before I start forcing my mind and body to adjust and cope with things the way that they are, instead of daydreaming about the way that I want them to be.

Back to work tomorrow. I started vacation the day after Christmas, so that I could have as much time with Clyde as possible. I also needed the break from all of the drama and stress. I love my boss, my company and my job, but it can be very overwhelming. Still, I’m glad that it’s time for me to go back. It will be a distraction, and I could really use one of those right now.

It’s only the second night since he left, and I’m already dreading going to sleep. I really don’t want to wake up tomorrow, wondering where he is, only to realize that there are still months to go before his side of the bed is no longer empty. That’s no way to start a morning.

~Betty