On Intimacy and Unease
Thank you to Emily Sovich who in honor of “The Day of the Deployed” (October 26th) has written this poignant blog!
Sometimes I wonder what it’s going to be like when Chris comes home. I mean when he really comes home, and not just for a visit. I’ll roll over in the night, stretch out my legs, and wonder where he’s going to fit beside me. I’ll look across the table to his empty chair at dinner and wonder what he’s going to add to our conversations. I’ll turn on the TV in the evening, glance at the couch, and imagine him there. (If I put my feet in his lap he might massage them.)
I have memories of him everywhere in this space we once inhabited.
At the train station, he’s studying the map. He’s carrying Katherine, pushing the stroller, and holding my hand. He’s everywhere, a dozen memories all mixed up and then abandoned, but when I look around he isn’t there.
This has to end sometime, right?
There used to be evidence of him in our family: a pair of socks at the bottom of the hamper, a phone call from one of his friends, an accident of habit, four plates set at the table for dinner, the book he was reading to Katherine still spread out on the chair. Now there’s nothing.
Last night I made burrito bowls for dinner. I cooked exactly enough food for exactly three people. How will I cook for him? I can’t even remember how much he eats when he’s here.
The truth is, I’m worried. I can’t quite remember our dynamic. What if we don’t get along very well after this long absence?
What if he sees me and thinks I’ve gotten older?
I don’t know what he thinks about the government shutdown, or about the extended furloughs that have affected so many of our friends. It’s hard to keep in touch with someone when you’ve spent most of your time apart for more than a year.
But this morning I woke up and the sheets were cool, the sunlight was slanting across the bed at just the right angle, and I remembered what it felt like to have his body wrapped around me. I remembered what it felt like to hear the girls scampering around the house, giggling while we ignored them, and what it felt like to pad down the hall on a late, lazy morning and hear them begging for pancakes. I remembered Chris in the kitchen, cracking eggs and stirring batter, measuring coffee for cappuccinos, and smiling down at his girls around him.
He’s not even on his way home yet, but one of these days he will be here.
During her years as a military spouse, Emily Sovich has traveled through five continents and approximately thirty countries. She’s climbed the Great Wall of China, gone swimming with sharks in Australia, and ridden a camel around the pyramids in Egypt. She loves culture and adventure, but she’s happiest at home with a book in her hand, a child in her lap, and a cup of coffee on her bedside table. You can read more about Emily’s life and adventures on her blog, Keeping Time.