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  • the war at home

    On Wednesday last, Reality crashed down on me like a ton of bricks, a nine-pound hammer, like the sky is falling.

    Mister had called to share his latest karaoke exploits and to ask about the children. Thankfully, no one had been injured or required the emergency room in a while (touch wood!). However, within 5 minutes of the conversation, something new happened.

    It was about 10pm his local time. This crazy siren went off, somewhere behind wherever Mister was standing to make the call. Mister said, "Uh, I gotta go," and the line went dead. I sat there on my comfy chair, just staring at my phone.

    What did that siren mean? What was going on? Can I call someone? Who would know? What do I do?

    I cried for a few minutes, because it instantly occurred to me that the call could very well be our last conversation. But then I pulled myself up hard, because The Girl would be home soon and I couldn't let her see me like that. You see, I have to be strong for everyone: my mother-in-law, who fears for her only son; my mother, who understands all too well that death is a reality of war and that warfare can turn a man's heart to stone; my children, who really have no clue; my friends, who suddenly don't know what to say anymore. There's no one here to be strong for me, so I guess I'll have to save that for later, like so many other things in my life.

    All evening and into the night, I stayed by my phone and checked my email, hoping for some contact. Morning came and went. I spent the day with the phone in my hand and my computer waiting whilst I tidied up a bit in the event I had visitors. Finally, around 2:30 Thursday, the phone rang. I nearly jumped out of my skin. He was fine, claiming "that happens all the time, hardly worth mentioning." Utter tosh, but I was so relieved just to hear his voice I didn't press the issue.

    Later that night, I found myself sleepless again. Thoughts of what are, what might have been, what may very well be, kept haunting and taunting me. I know that thousands of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen have come and gone in the theater, but too many have returned not as passengers but as cargo. As soon as my eyes close, I hear that siren again. Sleep is no longer a refuge; my room is no longer a sanctuary.

    Would that I could speed time along, but like so many other things, I'll just have to wait for that, too.


    Beav said...

    I know it's not much, but if you need an ear or a shoulder...just call. I'm here. I can't speed time (don't I wish), but I can commiserate, comfort, and reassure.

    It's been something of a life-role.

    Vika said...

    Gosh-I can't even imagine. I hope you can find some peace, and know that there are those who do care!


    Soo Mi said...

    Thank you, everyone. Please know that I am not nearly as depressed as the post sounds. I read it over again, and I wanted to call me, too.

    This event was something that I hadn't emotionally planned for. I had myself convinced Mister's in a safer place than anywhere else in Iraq, and so this just knocked me for six.

    I still haven't asked what it means, but I doubt he'd tell me anyway.

    Amber said...

    Poor Soo. :( Scary stuff. Strong people don't get as much attention as the raving lunatics, which is really a shame, but pat yourself on the back for NOT calling everyone you know to freak out, which is what many in your situation likely would have done.

    I'm keeping you and your Mister in my positive-thought land.

    Soo Mi said...

    Thank you.

    It is hard, esp when it feels like everyone is depending on me. It's always been like that, even when I was a pre-teen ('dependable soo'). I should be used to it by now.

    But I guess I was expecting a little more... or a little less... I dunno. Something different, anyway.