Friday, August 28, 2009

I've gotten into this really... significant habit of reading every day. Against the advice of literally everyone I know, I like reading about the goings-on in Afghanistan, and Stryker News is pretty awesome because it focuses (big surprise) on the Stryker brigades around the world.
Yeah, I go to the site today and see that there have been about a half dozen casualties from Andrew's brigade, the 5/2, in the last week. Obviously, the DoD doesn't do a press release on anything until families have been notified and all that, but it's pretty disturbing for me to see a headline of "Department of Defense identifies Army casualties" with the catagory of "5/2" before I see the name of the soldier who died. I mean, I know it's my own fault, looking at this stuff. Everyone said not to watch CNN, not to watch any war coverage really. But for those first 6 weeks or so, it was a comfort to know what was going on. It was better than not knowing anything, I said to myself. But I was kinda deluded, because I only felt that way because things were going well. Now that they are IDing casualty after casualty from that brigade, and the reality of how much danger those guys are in has hit me, I'm feeling sick to my stomach.
My last letter from Andrew was pretty disheartening. He sounded okay, really, but the thing that got to me was when he mentioned that he hadn't received any more of my letters. "You haven't forgotten about me, have you?" he asked, in the midst of his normal jauntiness.
Oh my goodness, that broke my heart. I mean, I know they moved to a new fob (Forward Operations Base---yay for me finally remembering acronyms!) recently, and it's in the middle of nowhere with no phone or internet and apparently the convoys bringing the mail keep getting attacked (lovely), but I was like "ahhhh noooooo!!! I've written you so many letters! I'm so sooorrrry babe!!"
I don't care if I never hear from him, but it is so crucial that he can hear from me. I know my letters bring him home for a few moments. They bring him a little bit of me, and it keeps him going. I've been praying like crazy that my letters start making it through, especially with all these casuality announcements I keep seeing. I know Andrew is the last person in the world to let things bother him, but six guys dying in as many days will rattle anyone, even someone who is half robot like my dearest love.
But I'd really like to hear from him... whenever I'm stressed or down or overwhelmed, I find myself saying "ohh, I just need to get a letter," because it makes everything better.
Sigh. Well, I'm living and loving and waiting as always.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I dreamed about Ray Charles last night, and he could see just fine

So, I'm pretty much loving blogspot. I'm probably gonna import my wordpress stuff sometime today, to show my true transferal of loyalty. Despite what Caitlin posited--that wordpress was easier to format and work with pictures and such--I think blogspot is superior. Or maybe I was just too dumb for wordpress and I understand the concepts here better... with wordpress I was always somehow screwing up my formatting and I really never knew how I did it... I would add a photo or try to justify it or use boldiness and in some strange way I would end up converting all my changes into massive amounts of code. I mean, maybe wordpress is a way into the matrix. Who knows. I don't want to mess around with the matrix. I'm strictly a blue-pill kind of girl.

Anyway. I'm really excited for Whit to move into the house tonight, and for Laura to move in next week. The first few days of chillaxing here alone were awesome, but I think since I got Andrew's we-nearly-got-'sploded letter on Thursday, I've been super super unbearably lonely. I think the most overwhelming feeling is uselessness---there's nothing I can do but wait and hope and pray and love. And those are wonderful things, don't get me wrong, but my physical body kinda yearns to take some kind of helpful action. But as I've said before, I'm proud to join into one of the oldest almost exclusively female traditions, that of waiting for our men to come home from war.
I remember the first time this idea, this tradition occured to me. It was in my first reading of my second favorite book, Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier. There's a moment where the heroine Liadan makes some mention of how one of the most significant tasks of women is waiting---waiting for harvest, waiting for a baby to be born, waiting for men to return from battle. And I like to think that I'm the kind of woman who has the patience to take on this task of always waiting with quiet strength.
I heard so many stories from Andrew, right before the 5/2 deployed, about the way the other wives and girlfriends were acting. He said that the guys were really astounded at the fact that I wasn't complaining about him having to leave; I wasn't bitching about being left alone for so long. Geez. I am astounded at those women. What kind of selfishness does it take to make your boyfriend or husband feel even worse about leaving? I'm ashamed of them. I mean, I'm not an especially selfless person. In fact, I think I'm incredibly selfish, and yet even I can see how these men need to reassured that the people back home will be okay.
Because no matter how much it hurts, still the days go by, and bring him closer to coming home.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

sighs a million

Ah, existence. It's rather a miracle sometimes. I feel like today I have everything and nothing to say... I think mostly I'm still, yes--still--avoiding finishing my epic suicide paper for the symposium next month --irk. So I'm trying to ponce around, doing everything else, instead of settling my brain towards a single task for 2 hours, during which I could probably finish that paper.
But of course, no. I think the biggest problem is that my head is still in "summer" gear---except that I was able to write papers for my summer lit class...
So that excuse goes out the window. GAH let's be honest, people! My head/brain/mind/thinking-bits are completely fixated on this midtour wedding thing! Now that it's becoming more and more likely (and it's only 5 months away... gasps and terror...), I just can't think straight. I mean, it's not even like I've got my head full of weddings and dresses and flowers or whatever---my head is just just just completely unfocused! AGH!
So pray for me, that I can start making sense in my own poor head.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New thoughts

I got a letter from Afghanistan yesterday, which is about my favorite thing in the universe. As I was about to leave my parents house (I always stop by after work because I'm right there, and since my little brother is just moved out, my mum is rather lonely), when I got a text message from my older brother (to whom my mail is still being sent because of address changes and such), saying "You've got a Cook letter!"
Of course then, I shrieked most fetchingly and leapt into my car, all the while smiling and trying to listen to mum as she told me "don't speed! it'll be there! be careful! oh dear..." It seemed to take hours to get to my brother's apartment in Asheville (I still think of it as my apartment...sigh). My heart kept spinning as I reached each visual marker... the highway... the junction to 240...the expressway... Charlotte Street exit--oh my gosh--..finally the road to the development...I halted in front of the apartment and literally jumped out of the car and ran up the walk. When the door was locked, I hyperventilated and knocked about ten times. After a moment, Phil opened the door and he laughed at me as I slithered past him and ran towards the stack of mail I saw on the dining table.
Amazon, Amazon, something from Montreat that I've already gotten, junk mail and then---there it was. A letter. A nice, thick letter, full of pages. My pulse was tingling in my fingers. I looked up at Phil and squealed a bit, and he laughed at me again while I tried to be polite and make some conversation--"how are you? is Ben settled? kthnxbai."
I truly did consider the possibility of waiting until I got home to read the letter. For about 10 seconds, I thought I would give this occasion the import it deserved, and wait til I could sit down on my deck with some dinner and a cranberry Mike's---wait til I could be calm and devote all my attention to every word that he wrote to me.
Yeah, that didn't happen. Before I was back in my car, I had pulled open the envelope and snatched out the letter. By the time I was seated, but before I had closed the door, I had read his familiar greeting--"Hi babe!"--and by the time the door shut, I was crying.

Sometimes I wish he weren't such a good writer. I think it would be easier if I loved a soldier who was more like the Army-grunt stereotype, who just wrote things like "How are you? It was super hot today. I missed you alot." Instead I love the soldier who writes things like this:

"It's always a surprise when that moment comes... that moment you've been preparing for but never ever could really expect. Our base was attacked today. One minute I was walking down the dusty, scorching streets, looking at the dirty sun-soaked signs posted on the stone walls that turn the roads into tunnels, and the next---that moment. Those sounds, that energy and impact that happened so quickly it was like my body was metal and the sand was magnet, I hit the ground so fast. It was beyond sensing. The fire, the debris, the screaming, the death. When finally those automatic actions we take for granted restarted, when I was able to see and move and focus again, you were the only thing my mind could locate to keep me think that 30 seconds ago, I was standing where the bombs hit and it could have been me. But it wasn't, not yet. It may seem strange, but I suddenly understand that my life is not my own. If the time came that I had to give my life the way others did today, I would do it gladly. My life is not mine. My moments are not mine."

Then he closed the letter, 3 pages later, with two sentences that I had to read twice, because I thought I had misread them at first--"Every day I get more tired of being your boyfriend--I want to be your husband."

I don't have it in front of me, but I've almost got it memorized by now, so I think that's about 85% verbatim. I cried so hard after reading that letter. I'm not sure what I was feeling. Not sadness, exactly. Sorrow that he had to suffer through what he did. Agonizing joy and relief that he was alright. Terror, because it finally, truly, one hundred percent sunk in how far away he is, and how dangerous his world is. But more than anything--I think I felt gratitude. Gratitude that the Lord brought this man into my life. Gratitude that I've been afforded such an incomprehensibly stunning romance. Gratitude for His perfect design, His deep love for me and for Andrew. Gratitude that suddenly I have so much perspective on the stupid little dealings in my life--all this stuff about renters and money and "oh, I'm such a hardass?" Who cares? I'm full of love and softness now. I've been reminded what matters. It's not about power and control and making sure that everybody does what I need them to do. If I may be pardoned a line that I never thought I would say outside of jest or quoting, love is all you need.
Thank you, God.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So, now that I have two blogs, I'm not quite sure which to post in. I'd like to truly concentrate on this dearest darling blogspot blog, because, as mentioned before, Wordpress really gets my goat. And I'd like to keep my goat. So. Let's take baby steps.
(I DO love this font that I get to type in...)
I went to see Terminator: Salvation again the other night. It was just as marvelous as before. I know most people are all grouchified about it, because it wasn't much like the other Terminator movies, or it was too... I don't know. I can't think of a complaint beyond Bryce Dallas Howard's character being entirely superfluous, and... is it too shallow of me to wish they had cast someone either prettier or just tougher? I mean, the original concept character of John Connor's wife was a little more badass than little old Bryce. Seriously. You're gonna be the partner of a dude like him? You gotta be tough, man.
But of course, as I've said before, many a time, I swoon over T:S because of Marcus Wright. As was further confirmed by my second viewing of the movie, Marcus is SO much like Andrew. Andrew's obviously not quite as dour and serious as Marcus, but their attitudes, character paths, intentions, honor, and badassery are exactly the same. And they look so much alike---I was making a very stupid swoony-face most of the movie, thinking of my Terminator-boyfriend.
Alright, good start. Spaceman Spiff, away!