It's pretty pitiable, if I do say so myself. Poor me, eh? Yeahh.
The situation with Andrew and me, well, it frankly still sucks right now. I've not spoken to him in a week, and haven't had a proper conversation in two weeks, and haven't had a pleasant conversation in almost 3 weeks. We're not arguing, we're just... really struggling. I'm struggling to muster any strength at all, he's struggling to muster any good feeling at all. The last time I got an email from him, he remarked with a sigh that it seemed like someone up in the government genuinely wanted all of the 1-17 men to die. It just gets harder and busier and more dangerous for them. You'd think it would be getting easier. Most of them are coming home in a week and a half, and yet, it seems like the military is squeezing every last drop of effort and life and use out of them before they leave.
I've gotta set that aside for now. It's too exhausting even to think on.
On another note, today marks the one-year anniversary of my beloved granddaddy's homecoming. I miss him alot. He was the best man I knew. And, in the same few weeks leading up to his heavenbound journey, I was falling in love with the other best man I'd ever know--my love Andrew. I only wish Granddaddy could have met Andrew. But at least, I did have the chance to tell him about my new romance, so Granddaddy knew that I had found the other half of my heart, just like he had, over six decades earlier.
In memoriam, here is the first bit of my senior thesis, which was inspired directly by Granddaddy's wonderful stories. Just substitute "Warren" and "Betty June" for Henry and Annie May, and you've almost got a biography instead of a piece of fiction.
Love you, Granddaddy.
Henry had two weeks of shore leave and a girl at home to propose to. When Hughes, Greene, and Berger told him they had scrounged up a Ford and did he want to drive across country with them, all he could see was her in that green dress standing on her mother’s porch. He stepped on land, it was early June, and her name was Annie May. Annie May Mills. There had never been such a beautiful name on such a beautiful girl. Fourteen months on the destroyer, and his mind was just as drenched with her—the high lashes, the typists’ fingers, the well-made linen dresses, the gardenia cologne. They had written letters, and though sometimes his letters were sentimental, she always wrote so calmly. So cool, so clever, so old-family South, just what he liked about her. She wrote about her sisters, and about her painting, and her job, and he could tell that she always wrote exactly what she meant. He wrote about seeing the Polynesian islands and all the pungent sweat-and-flowers smells he’d never forget, when he wanted to write about how he remembered the scent of her hair. He wrote about his Catholic bunkmate, when he was really thinking about the times she’d let him escort her to the Presbyterian Church. He wrote about hard-as-shoe-leather Navy biscuits, when he was yearning to recall the light-as-a-cloud meringue pie she made for Easter last year. He wasn’t a shy fellow, but something about her and the thought of how she’d read his letters knocked him to pieces.
When he wrote her about his two weeks in June, he told her he loved her, terrifically, and that she’d better watch out or he might ask her to marry him. He had shoved that letter directly into the hands of the petty officer and ran off again before he could change his mind, and then he had cold sweats for the rest of the morning. He drank a lemonade, paced on about on deck, and told Hughes to physically restrain him if he attempted to go steal it back. They both got shouted at for brawling, but back in their quarters that night, Henry shook his Hughes’ hand and called him a good friend.
The Washington port was thick with rain, but a little damp didn’t bother the four young seamen. It was not yet dawn. They laughed and pushed as they climbed over each other into the faded ‘36 Fordor Sedan, as the little wiper worked madly over a cracked windshield. Greene ridiculed the prickly holes in the upholstery and the coughing engine, but Berger thumped him in the head and asked if he thought he could have done any better. He kicked on the low beams, and waited with a temper as the doors were shut the door.
“I’ll leave you all here to go moldy,” he growled as the car nosed its way out of town, but when Henry offered him two dollars for gasoline, he shut up quick.
Henry didn’t see or hear much of the first day of the drive. He stared out the window at the gray landscape, cut with distant black forests, and thought about Annie, and how well she’d look on a Scottish moor or by an Irish garden. When he squinted, he could almost see flashes of red hair among the trees. Oh, perhaps he just thought she was perfect because he loved her, and perhaps every man would claim such things, but Annie truly was the loveliest creature he’d ever seen. That red hair, how it haunted all of his smiles and all his frowns. Most girls needed some treatment from the beauty parlor to get what Annie had naturally. Pristine dark red curls, set just so, like a movie actress. When she said yes, and he got out of the Navy, one day he’d watch her wake up and brush those curls, and do the tricks ladies do to make themselves so pretty every morning.
September 5th, 2007. Mimi and Granddaddy, with my wee sister Anna.