It is three weeks before Superman was scheduled to deploy.
Superman is no longer deploying.
One of Superman’s orders did not go through and we found out about this just yesterday. The Army has sent us on ups, downs and all arounds, but nothing as jolting as this.
We have planned for everything. We sold the bike, rented the house, changed our residency, became beneficiaries, lived apart, quit jobs, and took jobs.
Right now, I don’t know how I feel. In theory I should feel happy. This means that a year from now is just one month away – our long-awaited togetherness ever after. I don’t believe it. No really, I don’t. I know I definitely have a familiar feeling of anxiety coupled with anticipation and excitement – the exact feeling I felt a few weeks before Superman returned from his first deployment.
In fact, all I really remember from Superman’s initial phone call was this: “If any couple has been through everything, it’s us. So I have no doubt we’ll get through this. Just like we’ve gotten through everything else.”
For the first time, Superman may be around for my birthday. For the first time, Superman may be around for his own birthday. Superman may see me accept my first journalism award. We may not even have to eat the rest of our wedding cake a few months short of our first anniversary. We may be able to spend our first anniversary together. For our first time.
But I also have an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. No one was more prepared to handle this year better than we were. Deployment is a state of mind a spouse eases into. It took us two years to settle into this deployment. And it’s not a switch we can turn on and off. Yesterday, today, perhaps even tomorrow, we are in deployment. We projected the future together so far ahead that 2011 seemed like an independent individual endeavor. Now we know it won’t be.
More than anything, I thought of Superman’s deployment as a job. And in some ways, this feels like getting laid off. I know there are so many options ahead for us, but I fear that what I should be fearing about a year from now – having to leave the apple, leave my career, leave my life, leave my writing program, leave my friends, give up, give up, give up when I have just taken off the ground – is something I fear now. Even though I know there's more keeping us in the apple than anywhere else. I also fear that even though there’s no deployment, it may not mean that we will actually be together. There has always been some force that, for more than 5 years strong, has kept us apart. So it can’t be this easy. I’m so jaded.
The truth is Superman and I have never been together. Never been married. But we have been apart. We have been deployed. So now, for the first time, we are entering the unknown.
And I’m learning that what’s scarier than enduring a deployment is not enduring one. And not knowing what the future -- which is now thought of as one month from now -- holds for us.