Do you ever look at pictures of us and think–why do we ever fight? Because I do.
A man in uniform. Hot. A uniform crumpled on the floor. Hotter. A cocoon of safe arms. Warm.
Don’t get up. Don’t go.
It must be the Army in his veins. I’m not usually awake at 5:15am these days. I had never been a lucid audience watching Keith when his alarm goes off. It gave a new meaning to UP AND AT ‘EM.
I think my dad would’ve liked to see me move this way when he would clap his hands in my room late on Saturday morning, “UP AND AT ‘EM!” <CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP> I am no soldier. “Mo-ommmmm! Tell him not to do that. And why does he always call me Adam?!”
I was playing 2048 on my phone when his alarm went off. Keith JUMPS out of the bed, and I think he must land in his pants, socks, boots. He would have an amazing transition time in a triathlon.
He is quiet and quick and I don’t know what all he did in the dark. I blink twice trying to see him; I can’t figure out where he went. I feel the wind of the fan being blocked, and I sense he is kneeling by my side of the bed.
“Bye baby. Have a good day.” Smooch, smooch.
I look at my phone time,”It’s only 5:23am.” He has to be there at 6:30am.
“I know.” I was thinking he must’ve forgotten to switch his watch back an hour last time we did that.
“Do you always get dressed that fast?”
“Yeah.” And I feel the fan again.
I know he likes to leave about an hour before he has to be somewhere, but I didn’t know he greeted the morning with such vigor and sense of purpose. It was inspiring. He was completely ready and out the door before most people would have had the time to hit snooze once.
I slipped back into sleep. When my alarm sounded…well. Let’s just say my soldier mechanic probably wouldn’t have been impressed…
Who will protect us if the US gets attacked? Who will lay his life down to do anything to protect our family if someone broke into our house? What is the face of our nation’s defense?
My love…up before the sun on a Sunday, out the door within minutes, never a hesitation, never a complaint.
Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
Do you feel the sun beat on your neck, inhale some dust, and wonder if we miss you?
Don’t remember my daggers. Please forget them. Forgive them. Think of me when I’ve been a cold drink for you, ice clanking to your lip when you don’t want anything to eat, only a drink. Only cold tea down a dry throat. Only me.
We do miss you. In a messy house, clock ticking, exhausted pile of arms and pjs and ponytails, under a lonely blanket on a creaky couch, we do.
Your flaws are not flaws to me. I watch you when you don’t know.
Did I forget to hug you today? Did I forget to hold on? Did I forget to thank you?
I know I probably did.
Leave your guns on the shelf. Stare into my eyes. Search them. See me. I will hold your face. I will slide my fingers over your warm sandpaper jaw. Let me see you. Come back to bed. Dim the lights and remember me when I was beautiful. It’s okay. Closer. It’s me. Soften. Find us.