T Who?

A month or two ago, a couple of girls from work and I decided to eat lunch at a vegan restaurant in town. I had wanted to try this place before, but T and the word “vegan” don’t ever appear in the same sentence. Except for the one I just wrote. But other than that – forget it!

This was the perfect opportunity. The three of us crammed into a cozy booth had a completely enjoyable chat. The lunch itself wasn’t that good, which I’m sure T will be glad to hear since he won’t ever be in danger of having take me back.

During the course of the conversation, one of the girls snuck a peak at her watch, then apologized profusely for being rude. She had a meeting at one o’clock and wanted to be sure she wasn’t late.

We completely understood and told her so. Work lunches can be like that.

But, when I saw her glance down at her folded arms and turn her wrist slightly to tilt the watch into view…it triggered a memory.

“I just remembered,” I told her a few minutes later. “My husband does that all the time and it drives me nuts!”

I don’t know if it’s a military thing or what, but he is constantly doing it. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing. We could be having dinner at a restaurant and have absolutely nowhere to go afterwards, but he’ll still monitor the time.

“You just remembered that?” she chuckled in benign disbelief.

I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but my oversensitive radar is always on and I immediately went on the defensive.

“Yeah,” I said. “You forget everything.”

And you do.

Back when the boys were deployed to Iraq, K and I would remind each other of our men’s quirks. One day I saw Baby Blue sitting in his stroller with his legs crossed. I mentioned how I thought it was funny that he was imitating Joe so perfectly. K asked me what I meant.

“That’s how Joe sits,” I said.

“He does?”

You forget everything.

During Iraq, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what T’s belly button looked like. This was a matter of intense concern for me. T, however, did not share my angst. When I told him my worries, he simply said, “It…looks like a belly button.”

Clearly he is not aware of navel diversity.

Forgetting is part of what makes it bearable, but it is also very sad. I don’t want to forget anything about my husband. Except maybe that he refuses to eat vegan food. And that his car is always a mess. And that he eats cookies before noon.

Okay, some things I don’t mind forgetting. But most things I don’t want to forget about my husband. When he came home on leave in May, I teared up as soon as I caught sight of him making his way down the stairs at the airport. In that moment, everything came rushing back and the emotion of it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Later, when I caught sight of a freckle on his ear, I cried again. I loved that freckle. And yet, its existence had been completely blotted out of my mind. How could I have forgotten?

By the time my husband gets home, it will be six months since I saw him last. I talk to him on the phone almost every day. But no webcam, no Skype and almost no pictures. If I look at old pictures of him, I can sometimes feel a glimpse of the essence of T, but it is fleeting. A tease, at best.

I realize that this is part of what will make homecoming absolutely amazing. But, there are also times when I feel like a perfect stranger is coming to live with me. And that makes me sad.

Fortunately, this, too, is fleeting. I know as soon as I see his face, all will be right with the world.

Hello T!

I mean, really…how could it not be?

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3 responses to “T Who?

  1. I love that photo at the end! It’s like he’s watching over you here…..I’d never even thought of the possibility of “forgetting” things about a deployed spouse. I can imagine how on some level it’s part of how we deal with prolonged absences, as well as being part of what makes the homecoming so special (yet scary at the same time!). No doubt with both of you, the “strangeness” will be but very transient! We’ll look forward to hearing about the tears again when the freckle is spotted for the first time.

  2. LMAO! I love the belly button thing. And that picture is classic. I tend to get really nervous when The Hubble comes home. It’s so weird. I have trouble looking at him. I don’t even like to kiss him. It’s like a stranger expecting you to be instantaneously close to them. But it quickly dissipates. Don’t be sad…be excited that you get to learn everything all over again. Your relationship will never grow old because you are constantly rediscovering things about each other. ;-)

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