Saying Goodbye

Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough.

For those of you who love anyone in the military, this is for you.

You’re leaving today. I wish time would stand still – we could press pause just for a little while. I want to go back to every single one of those Saturday mornings where I roll over and you’re there. The early light of the sun peering through your blinds. I lie there and watch the light illuminate the dust particles settling on us, the blankets, the pillows. I imagine connecting the freckles on your face. You sleep, your chest rises and falls slowly, and I’m at peace. I want to go back to that. Hit pause, hit rewind, do it all over again.

But the inevitable is undeniable. I’ve known about it since I met you. Dating someone in the military, what else could I expect? Of course you were eventually going to have to deploy. I think that thought hit me most the first time I heard Maroon 5’s Daylight. “We knew this day would come, we knew it all along. How did it come so fast?” My thoughts exactly.

You know normally I love the mornings – it’s my favorite time of day. But not this morning – this morning, I want the night back. I want the night to stay, to remain, to linger longer. Forever. I want the darkness to surround you and me and have it stay like that, eating a pint of ice cream with my toes curled under yours as I indulge your love of scary movies once again.

But there you are – dressed in your uniform. I still remember the first time I ever saw you in your uniform. We were at my cousin’s house, and you were getting ready to head back to base. I loved the way that uniform fit you. I still do. That day, I barely knew you, but I knew I didn’t want you to go. Ironically enough, I feel the exact same way today. Except this time, I know you better than I know myself. You’re my best friend, you know? I hope you know. And I hope you understand the depths of the love that I have for you. It’s like gravity – impossible to deny and impossible to ignore, but it keeps us grounded.

I am doing my absolute best, giving it everything I have, not to cry. But just like trying to deny gravity, that thought is highly impractical. It’s only four months, I tell myself. Four months and thousands of miles. Thousands of miles…when I’ve been used to only eighty miles standing between us. You tell me we’ll Skype, we’ll write, the time will fly by. But none of those things will ever come close to feeling the touch of your hand when you graze my cheek, having your lips kiss my forehead when I’m upset, letting your warmth surround me when I fall asleep against your chest. I won’t get that for 122 days, and don’t even get me started on how many hours, minutes, and seconds I’ll have to count down waiting for you to come home.

You give me a slight smile, your eyes are teary, too. I know what’s coming next. You’re going to have to say it. It’s inevitable, right? Inevitable. The good-bye I have long thought about is going to be real. I attempt a joke at fitting in your bag so you can take me with you, but any humor is lost amongst the feigned laughs and the salty water dripping down my cheeks and off of my chin. “I love you so much,” you tell me. No, don’t tell me that. Just let me hold your hand. You can’t go if I have your hand, right? God, I’m pathetic. I’m sappy. I’m in love. I’m aching – there is an actual physical pain in my heart and stomach. So I hold your hand and face what I’ve longed to be unreal. “I love you, too.” That’s all I can say. Because that’s all that needs to be said. It’s only four months, I tell myself. You’re coming back. You’re coming back. You’re coming back. One statement, over and over. I’ll just keep saying that, it will be okay. I will be okay. We’ll Skype, we’ll write, the time will fly by. And in 122 days, I’ll feel the touch of your hand grazing my cheek, have your lips kiss mine as soon as you see me, and feel the warmth of your arms as you envelop me in a hug. The past hours, minutes, and seconds will fade away, and I’ll relish the sun, the mornings, once again. I’ll relish the darkness, too. I’ll relish it all. Everything with you. You kiss me, turn away, I pull your hand back once more and kiss your knuckles. I cup your neck. Be safe, take care of yourself, I’ll write you soon. Actual letters – and I better see your handwriting, too. None of this email bullshit, I laugh amidst my tears. You smile, your blue eyes glistening. I love you, I say. I love you so much. I always will. Always.

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