The phone rings, and I pause the movie we are watching. Slowly I reach over to pick it up, glancing hopefully at the caller ID. Who is on the other end? Is it my mom? I haven't talked to her in a few days. Maybe it is someone I don't expect. My pal JD? She hasn't called today. Will? Doubtful, he usually calls on Sunday nights. Only this time? It is Will. With trepidation I answer, cautious because what if something is wrong? At the same time, hopeful and happy to be able to hear his voice.
He is unhappy where he is. This place is making him miserable and I can hear that so clearly in his intonations. There is not a single good thing to be said for this part of what he must endure. Yet, hearing his voice always makes me feel like he is next to me. He may be far away, but when we speak on the phone, it is like we reconnect. I wonder how it will feel to have him here again. How many times I will have this very conversation with myself? How in the world will I make it through the next two years?
Gwennie was fussing when he called, and wanted to have gup. I sat down glad that something would quiet her while I spoke to him. But she fell asleep quickly and didn't get to talk to him. Rhayn did, but she doesn't know what to say to him. She misses him and wants to talk to him, but then when she has a chance, she feels lost. I understand that totally. I want to talk to him every day, however when he calls for the first few minutes it is a shock. I have to sit there, knowing he is on the other end for a few moments before I feel like I can unload myself into the phone.
Then we talk about everything that is happening. We discuss the color I chose to paint the walls. I tell him how I was able to get a 10% discount at a store because of my military ID. Lately that has come in handy a few times. It always has actually. We have gotten free desserts and discounts often for showing it, instead of a drivers license. Even if every now and then I get someone who really dislikes this war, that looks disdainfully at me, most of the time it is a camaraderie that I need right now. I hear "My (fill in the blank) is in the Army/Air Force/Marines/Navy and is/was/will be deployed." I hear "My son is gone right now, and I am helping his wife watch the children." I hear "My husband just got back." I tear up at every one of those. How will it be when he is really gone GONE. No longer in the states, you know? Will I be able to bear to hear other stories? Will I search blogs for mothers in my situation (Oh. Wait. I spent a good hour this morning looking for a "blogroll" of military mamas who are more like me. There are very few, in fact I only found one that I bookmarked.) Will I search out groups for friends? Probably. In fact, maybe I should stop typing and do that right now...(Okay that can wait until later.)
We talked to Will for forty-four minutes. Rhayn said "That was a long call," as I hung up the phone. I told her it wasn't long enough for me. I could sit on the phone and just hear him breathing and be happy. Because just for a moment, he is there, with us, with me. And I am not alone.