Deployments are hard. I didn’t cry until the night before when we were laying in bed together, the silence suddenly broken by the thought I had been pushing away for so long. This will be the last night I sleep next to my husband for nine months. I didn’t want to let myself drift off to sleep. I watched him for what felt like hours, blanketed in the darkness of shadows cast from the peak of street light coming through our curtains while he slept. I knew this moment – the sound of him breathing, the brush of his arm as he turned over, the weight of his body next to mine – would be all I had when I crawled into bed that next night and I tried so hard to drink it all in.
The next day I cried once before we left the house, we were in the living room and he started gathering his things. I didn’t want to but I couldn’t physically hold it in, my eyes burned so badly trying to fight back the tears. The car ride was awkward. Every mile brought us further from home and closer to goodbye. Watching him walk away across that field as I stood next to the car with tears spilling down my cheeks and blurring my vision is still a moment I can’t think about easily.
Our house was so still when I got home but certain places burned with the absence of him. Where we ate the Chinese food we had ordered for lunch, where he left his cell phone on the counter, where he pulled me into a tight hug as we stood next to the couch. Oh how deafening silence can be.
Routine soon replaced the absence and days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. I’ll soon be standing with the other anxious wives, waiting for our husbands to walk off of that plane that took them so far away from home.
Looking back on that night before he left I realize I can’t remember. I can’t remember what it sounds like when he sleeps, what it feels like when he brushes up against me in the middle of the night.
It’s okay. I can’t wait to discover those moments all over again.