“Missed” Doesn’t Really Begin To Describe It.
That is, apparently, up until about 2 weeks prior to his return.
That, my friends, is when normally functioning cogs in this massive network of machinery operating our 1,600 square foot ranch home decide to methodically malfunction, one by one, and end up resembling nothing more than a smoking pile of dead robotic waste by the time he sets foot in the U.S.
Normal people would think this would be great timing.
Normal people would think, Hey — perfect! The modem crapped out and the electric fence blew a fuse and that tire decided to explode just in time for the Man to come home and fix them.
Because tires and modems and electrical thingamajiggers are Man jobs.
I’m not normal people.
And the timing couldn’t be more horrific.
See, this makes it seem like I couldn’t hold down the Fort. That while he was off in some foreign land doing whatever it is that he does over there, I wasn’t Man enough to hold it together. I couldn’t keep my eye on the prize. I couldn’t grease the wheels and tune the gears and keep everything functioning. I managed for just most of the time, but that was probably a fluke because it all went to shit mere days before his return.
And that, to be perfectly honest, feels like crap.
So instead of being all, Oh hi! So glad you’re home! Here’s a beer! Put your feet up while the chicken bakes and I’ll turn on the fireplace while you pick something to watch on Netflix, I had to be all, Oh hi! So glad you’re home! I’d give you a beer but it all went to skunk when the blown fuse broke the electric fence and stopped the fridge. You can’t watch Netflix because the internet’s down, but feel free to read a book while I run to the store to buy some chicken for that meal you like because I actually thought you were coming home tomorrow — not today — and don’t turn on the fireplace because the propane guy was supposed to come this morning but I had to cancel on account of picking you up because — again — I thought you were coming tomorrow and apparently I suck at everything.
Which actually turned out to be okay because really, there’s only one thing a guy who’s been deployed for 4 months wants, and it ain’t chicken.
And that is probably the strangest thing about a military homecoming. Everyone — and I mean everyone — knows when you’re having sex. And then they call you. Seriously. This happened more than once. And if you pick up the phone, they say, WHY are you picking up the phone?!
Then I say, Oh, didn’t you know? I’m a multitasker. That’s right. A little to the left. So what’s up? I haven’t talked to you since yesterday. Oooh. That’s it.
And then they hang up.
Okay, I made up that last part. But really, I say, He’s been home for 5 hours! Do you REALLY think we’re still having sex? It’s been 4 months. FOUR MONTHS. This ain’t 50 Shades of Grey. Real people need real recovery time. And if you thought we were still having sex, then why are you calling me? Perv.
And then they hang up.
Okay, I don’t say that last part, either.
Really, I just tell them he’s out picking up our takeout pad Thai, and then I listen to the judgmental gasps before I have a chance to explain just why I didn’t buy the damn chicken have a home cooked meal ready for his return and that he’s been craving Thai food for months anyway and you know what? I’m not sure why I picked up the phone, either!
And then they hang up.
But the thing is, no one really knows what goes on in a relationship besides the two people who are in it. We might think we have ideas on how others function based on stories they’ve told or semi-candid moments we’ve witnessed, but really.
This is us we’re talking about.
All I know is:
- The weirdest feeling in the world is getting nervous to see someone you’ve lived with for 9 years.
- We like Thai food from the little place in the strip mall in Spring Lake, and he hasn’t been able to eat it for 4 months.
- I’m terrible with computer stuff and electrical stuff and anything involving preparation whatsoever and honestly, if everything had been perfect upon his arrival, he probably would’ve thought I’d been cheating on him.
- Fires are overrated when you finally get to experience the touch of another person again.
- Four months. It’s a long time. A long time of worry. A long time without touch. A long time without sex. A long time to get used to a place without the other person in it. To form new habits. To become set in our ways.
No one else really knows.
No one, except us, knows how much time we should be spending together. How much time we should be spending apart. Or whether or not it’s acceptable that one of us — let’s just say it’s not me — has somehow developed the idea that it’s okay to now pee with the door open.
It’s just us.
We’ll figure it out.
And that’s the way I like it.
Here’s a little video I made of his homecoming. It’s called, “Justin’s Homecoming,” or also known as, “You’re Home! Will You Please Weed the Patio?”
(This was my first foray into internet video making. Yes. Next time I will turn the camera horizontal. Thank you.) :)