I have reached inside my soul
and found that I am lined in gold.
It fills the cracks and fissures,
the erosion of my tears through troubled years.
It formed in veins, snaking over heart and mind
steeling them against the harsher times.
And my value cannot be seen by prying eyes
I’ve hidden away what makes it a prize.
It’s yours to take, yours to see
because you’ve always only seen the best in me.
We are stars bursting,
Super novas bleeding out
The darkness of space.
When I lost my grandfather over five years ago I felt like I had lost my best friend. To a little girl whose father had abandoned her, my grandfather was everything. He and my grandmother took my fleeing mother and us three fatherless babies into their arms without question and I as the youngest and weakest took to my grandfather’s quiet masculine kindness the most. I adored him. I followed him everywhere. I copied what he did. We ate cornbread and milk on the front porch on warm, humid summer evenings. We listened to whippoorwills hearken the coming summer days. He slipped dollars into my palms whenever I asked and often when I hadn’t. From diapers to college he did these things. Until he no longer could.
The years after he died I felt lost. In body, mind, and soul. I had looked up to him and respected him so much. You can’t lose somebody you loved and just go back to living like you did before. I didn’t know how to live my life anymore.
Then I met you. Like my grandfather you emitted an attitude of candor, generosity, and innate wisdom. You had an easy sense of humor and a ready smile for anyone. You jumped at friendships, regardless of the risk of free fall. You befriended me though I was nearly a shell of a person. Then a funny thing happened. We fell in love. Quickly, then everyday since. I was broken but you took the time to see I could be repaired, put back together with the golden adhesion of your patience, laughter, and gentle reminders that I mattered to the world.
I would not have survived not meeting you. You pieced the puzzle of my heart back together, and added a greater complexity of happiness and self-worth than had been there before. You understood my brokenness, the loss I had experienced, and respected the influence of my grandfather on my life by asking for my hand in marriage on a hike to visit his final resting place, a mountaintop he had frequented, taking long breaks to absorb the magnificence of the vista. A place where he had passed on a love of nature to his children and grandchildren, a respect for the history of our family, the silent nobility of mourning the loss of his loved ones. Where the gods of the Appalachian Mountains had welcomed his soul into their guardianship.
You understand all this about me and more than I probably even know about myself. Every single day I thank the stars, God, the gods, the divine uncertainty of Chaos that I skipped work that day and found the love of my life.
Once again a whole human being,
A Soldier’s Wife
And I whisper into the encircled totem that binds us
a tenuous thread of darkness and light unbalanced apart
“I miss you, I miss you,”but it seems superfluous.
And I seek to find faith in what I don’t understand
and ignore the selfish whispering flames of my heart
though it burns my chest like an iron brand.
And I pray to a god who does not love me
though I begged him while swollen with your child
to not steal you away as I cowered on my knees.
And I covet the touch, the graze of a hand on cheek
of people passing by me unknowingly
because I have known the thrill that is piqued.
And I cry at the space between our hands
because I can never reach far enough
to bridge the distance between lands.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and you never left my mind. But to be fair it is a rare day when I can manage to distract myself enough not to think about you, to remember you, to miss you, to dream of the day you come home and our life together resumes. Your words were so beautiful, more beautiful than a hundred roses. I nearly cried reading them while I sat at the circulation desk, pretending that my life was as normal as anyone else’s.
I have these moments between the drudgery of the incessant passing of time, moments of clarity where I realize that we are going through something major and life changing and neither one of us can come out on the other side the same. I know what you are doing is important and you are providing for your family the best way you have found. I can never thank you enough for being so brave, so dependable, so very, very good to me and Baby. It is unfortunately a rare man who would make such sacrifices to care for loved ones.
I believe our children will be better people for us having gone through this. We can teach them sacrifice, love in truth, what it means to cherish and appreciate what we have, to embrace moments while they are in them. I will never take for granted the small moments we share together ever again.
The days are passing. I am assured of that at least. Some faster than I thought they would. I have settled into my routine though Baby likes to switch that up from time to time. We get through, I didn’t think I could honestly, but I have found a way to care for her and myself (most days). I’m not saying the dishes get washed every evening or the tub gets scrubbed as clean as you like but we live almost as decently as before you left. There is still laughter in our home, your daughter makes sure of that. She brings me the greatest joy and I adore you for agreeing that we shouldn’t wait to start our family until you came home. She creates my inner strength and motivates me to push when I want to crash.
I tell you this because I think it is important you know we are okay even with you thousands of miles away. If something were to ever happen to you for you to know we are capable. I will care for your daughter no matter what and give her the very best life but we still desperately await your return home to complete our family.
Until then the days count down, the clock unwinds, I sigh a breath of relief because each day without you is one more day done, gone, in our past, and one day closer to the thousands upon thousands we will spend together.
I love you. Infidimensionally. Until tomorrow, my love.
A Soldier’s Wife