Have You Heard
about the meltdown that happens here, behind the lines of the military lives. I feel more and more that there is a divider between me and the world I used to be completely a part of. When you drive onto base out here — a sensation which used to be terrifying, unwieldy comes over me now in a calm sort of evelopement, sort of like coming home.
The Lance Corporal and I, we live half an hour from base. I chose this place so I could be far far away from the marine corps, I wouldn’t have to see them, and they wouldn’t have to see me, and I could be a civilian with a husband who wore combat boots for a living, and looked hot in his uniform. But that doesn’t work like I thought that it would. I used to see that place, the vast greens of the rolling hills that make up Camp Pendleton — as enemy territory the place that stole my husband and his brothers, and will steal them again as soon as they are able. When you drive onto base they check your car, sometimes your ID, and they wave you in — helicopters circle the sky around base, practicing formations, drop offs, and whatever else. Men in uniform everywhere. But then, a mile in, you come to the married marine’s neighborhood.. children run around on sidewalks, play on play grounds. Women, laughing and talking to each other walk the streets with their strollers. Solidarity comes within the gates of the base. Inside, though we don’t all click perfectly, there is an understanding that calms me in a way nothing else does. These women — they are me — and I am they. Our husband — one man with many faces. Our children are the offspring of war — our own little baby boom happens after every deployment. These children, they know what war is, what it means… even though we all try to make it less than it is. These women, they age more quickly than many… in their eyes I see the sorrow of heavy burdens, and I see the joy of childhood still twinkling. We know all too well that every little thing should be celebrated, we don’t forget the sky and its blueness and we enjoy the fog when it comes. We see the colors many people forget, because our husbands are home today and life is fair and full and we will not bring in the tide of regret — not if we can keep it at bay — that they will leave again. For that is tomorrow, and we know only today.
Summer is coming and our men will be gone again, but that is in the fall and they are still here. Today our children (not mine, but the others) they laugh, some of them just born are learning to smile, we watch them run, and the men they hold them close and watch their faces as they sleep. 3/5 has had only one girl that I know of so far — the rest are boys… wouldn’t you know it?
But the women — we will be here and there come autumn, still the gates of the base will draw a circle around each of us, enveloping us in the promise that there will be strength within these walls, the women — we will stand together again. for now and for always.
Isn’t is just strange, that the place that must look so hostile to the outsider would be the warm winter feathers that keep this bird dry?
Love and the best to you.