No matter your relationship status, I think the one word every significant other fears hearing is "deployment." For a few hours, I was forced to think deployment would become part of my personal reality.
If I am to be totally honest, I never wanted to be with someone in the military. Nothing to do with money but all the strain that comes with a relationship with a soldier. Thoughts of whether I would be able to have a career or be stationed in a town that considered Wal-mart to be a mall plagued my mind. But the greatest fear was being with someone that could get deployed.
As a child of someone in the armed forces, I have seen what wartime means for a family. When 9/11 happened, my father was a commander and as a soldier (reserve or active) they embed in you the idea that you should want to be there for your country in the time of need.
Now before you invoke your personal beliefs about the war overseas, I want to stress that a soldier's mentality goes beyond what are the "right" or "wrong" reasons for war. They are taught to be there for their comrades and to defend their country. With that being said, my father was ready to go overseas as soon as possible. While that seems crazy that a man would want to leave his family at the risk of being hurt or even killed, as a soldier they aren't supposed to think that way. My good friend from college has a father that is retired army that had the same mentality.
A million thoughts go through my head when I hear deployment in relation to my own life. I think about the mother of Akeem's son being on standby for deployment. While I don't necessarily care for her as a person, I would never want any harm to come to her while she was deployed. But once my mind leaves her, I am forced to think about Akeem.
Before Akeem left for basic training a year ago, I would have random thoughts about how I would deal with the thought of him being deployed. I thought about all of the bad things that could happen; like him coming back unhinged, handicapped, or in a coffin.
I tried to find comfort in the fact that he is an engineer and not in infantry. Thinking that he would be one of the last soldiers called upon to ship out, I was surprised by his deployment text early in the morning.
One of the battalions was short and his sergeant was asking for volunteers to deploy. Akeem texted me and the first thing I shot back was, "I HOPE YOU AIN'T TRYING TO VOLUNTEER!?"
Akeem responded that he wasn't but that he felt like a "shitbag" for not stepping up. I immediately shot him a bunch of texts with various questions but received no reply. I found myself just lying in bed crying thinking that this was the worst timing. My mom told me that this is what you sign up for when you are with someone in the military.
I started thinking of the movie Dear John and how he told her it would be only a year and he would return to her. Then 9/11 happens and he has to decide if he will "re-up" (that is what Akeem calls it) or head home to his girl. A year ago, Akeem left for basic training and I'm in countdown mode for when we will no longer be a long distance relationship.
With tears in my eyes, I texted Akeem back and told him to volunteer. CRAZY, RIGHT!?
I love Akeem, and don't want anything to a happen to him. But i know that one day he may have to go. I know that getting deployed is something that he feels it is his duty to do and that you don't want to be the one "asshole" who stays behind.