My hands are shaking so I'm having trouble typing but I need to get this out of me.
We did go to a sports bar to watch his favorite football team yesterday. I dressed in my best jeans and a turtle neck sweater. Several guys at the sports bar were tripping over themselves to get introduced to me. I had to acknowledge them because to Soldier, I was practically invisible. He used to say that he didn't want to hear about me with other men. Now here men were flirting and he barely noticed.
I was tired. I don't sleep well when he's in my bed. I didn't last year either. I can see bags under my eyes. He was nice to me... but like a stranger would be nice to me, you know? He did buy us a sandwich to share and drank freely from my cup as if it were his own. He did open the doors for me. He did what he could to make me feel comfortable. I tried to do the same.
On the drive home, I was struggling. I wanted him to be where he wanted to be and not feel like he should be with me out of obligation. I kept begging God to help me say that but I was afraid it would sound like I didn't want him with me. So, I didn't say anything but constant prayer under my breath.
I am aware that we are both calling for love. Help me to know how to answer his call. And help him to know how to answer mine.
What happened to the guy that I could talk to so freely? We've had great conversations every time we talked.... for nearly 24 years! Now, he's silent. I'm babbling to fill in dead air because when I'm quiet, he asks me if I'm ok.
He immediately went back to my bed and turned on more football.
The ex used to lie in that same spot and do the same thing. That's it. This wall that he's built is strangely familiar. Its the same wall I felt the last year of my marriage. Ah! There it is. Be aware, T. Try not to project your past pain on to this situation.
He asked me to snuggle with him. I lay down in the crook of his arm and began to rub his chest. He immediately relaxed and said that I was soothing him. There he is. There's the guy I knew. He loves to be touched.
He turned on his side so that I could rub his back. I did and made my way to his bald head. I rubbed his head for a few minutes until I heard him snoring. I spooned him and kept rubbing. His body was twitching and jumping. I've noticed this when he sleeps. He has very vivid dreams.
Every time I tried to leave him, he would hold me tighter. We stayed like this for a long time. I finally pulled away and he turned over, throwing his body weight on me. He didn't want me to leave and so, we lay together, all wrapped up like we used to.
We went out for a quick dinner and again, I was invisible. He was girl watching... I was doing it too early in the weekend. I knew he was enjoying seeing women again. But last night, I found I couldn't take it.
As we were lying in bed last night, I asked him if he was still going to stay in touch with me once he is back in Iraq. He said, "Of course. But not at the level we were. It would not help while trying to divest emotions."
I was a mess.
"This hurts me baby." I told him.
"Yeah, well in the Army, divorce happens. Its part of the deal."
Wow. He was expecting this all along.
We talked more about what I was feeling and what he was feeling. I told him that I'd almost asked him to leave earlier. He said that he was having a good time and enjoyed the day. He went into a whole thing about feeling guilty for not being as supportive with me during this deployment as I've been to him. Every care package and card was somehow filled with guilt instead of the love that I packaged so carefully.
He said, "I tried to be strong and push you away a year ago but you would have none of it."
"Remember," I said, "That I didn't contact you after that. You contacted me."
"Ok. You're right. I was weak. I feel weak when I'm over there. What you were doing felt good. But this has to be the right thing to do now. We just aren't going to work out."
"You have to understand," he continued after I pointed out that I knew who he really was, versus what I was seeing now, "When there's a car wreck here and one person dies, its front page news. In Iraq, one person's death is a non-event. You just have to shut down your feelings and emotions. I won't be the same for a very long time after I return. The man you met last year had been home from Iraq for 10 months already."
He went into a tangent about his training calendar for more marathons and Ironman competitions. His schedule, upon return from Iraq, wouldn't have time for me. He'd feel bad about that. He said, "I know me. When I get back I will want nothing but physical relationships from women. I am already planning my schedule for next summer and I already have in my mind where to go to meet women. That's not fair to you T. You deserve better than that. You need someone to be what you need."
I agreed with him. I am happy he was honest with me. Our discussion never turned angry or accusing. As usual, we are always able to be adults when we have an issue. Both of us admitting our feelings and our wrongs. Neither of us pointing fingers at the other one. I can respect him for treating me with respect.
He touched my hair as we talked, stroking me gently. His hand was on my knee most of the night as he twitched and jumped in his sleep, dreaming of God only knows.
He's leaving today though he still sleeps in my bed at the moment. Maybe I'll go spoon with him one last time. The next time I see him, whenever that will be, he will be only an old high school friend again. It is the right thing to do.
Still, I am in pain. I am mourning because I feel like, though Soldier will soldier on, my love has died. My love died in Iraq.