nametape

the aesthetic

windows 95 on cathode monitors in the middle of the night, keys clacking loudly in an empty ops room. an S&W Model 1076 within arm’s reach on the night-table, safety off and a round in the chamber. night desert fatigues with the nametapes removed, M4A1 SOPMOD Block 1s and NODs as the moon hangs heavy over the Arizona desert. Hueys over Cambodia, sitting on your helmet and wiping sweat from your eyes as something unspeakable rises from the jungle and the door gunner screams over the intercom

+P loads in an old .45, hands slippery with sweat on the grips, trying not to breathe too loud. a shattered weaponlight

muzzle flashes in a wheat field at night. a naked man emerging from the Potomac River. blinking sleepily into the eyepiece of a starlight scope, trying to figure out if what you just saw was a glitch, your imagination, or something else

that’s the aesthetic

Day 8- A picture of your favorite piece of jewelry that your man has gotten you and why it is your favorite.

Before my boyfriend left he bought me a nametape bracelet. He went to a site and designed it himself. It is hot pink (my favorite color) and ACU paracord. And he picked three charms to put on it. They say, “my boyfriend wears combat boots” “army girlfriend” and “my boyfriend my hero.” I love it! I had no idea he ordered it, it came in the mail a few days after he left. I probably had the biggest most dorky smile on my face. It was hard to pick my favorite, but I can use the other two pieces for other days :)  

2 years ago today, my husband came home for R&R during his 12 month deployment.
That entire week, I cleaned the back porch every day, gave our dogs 2 baths, made 2 welcome home signs and picked out 3 different outfits.
R&R is something very difficult to plan. I had to be ready for a total of 3 days before getting word that he was finally on a plane to El Paso. Delays in Iraq, delays in Germany, delays in Georgia… It took him what felt like forever to get home. It could have been at 5 AM or it could have been at midnight. Thankfully, we had our embrace at 915 PM.
I had imagined this moment so perfect–I see him coming down the escalators, I run to him, jump on him, we kiss and walk off into the El Paso night to enjoy our 2 weeks. Wrong. Want to know what really happened? Sit back and prepare to feel sympathy for me. 3 other girls and their families were there waiting for their man to come home for R&R as well, meaning the area was quite crowded. After a few civilians came out of the escalator and after 2 soldiers came down the escalators, I had finally spotted my husband’s boots. The way he was standing, the length of his legs, the shape of his torso… I knew it was him. I was looking around at pathways for me to get through so I could run to him but it was so crowded. What did I do? I pushed and shoved people out of my way to get to him. The moment came and we embraced after 6 months of him being in Iraq. I jumped on him like I had imagined and we kissed like I had imagined. But it isn’t as romantic as you think. My sweater was made of some kind of felt material so it would be obvious that it would attach to my husband’s nametape velcro. As he put me down, my sweater didn’t follow. I flashed everyone in that area my nice, black, silky bra and my husband had a good feel of my back. I tried pulling my sweater back down but I couldn’t pull it down all the way before I wanted to put my arms back around my husband.
The moment you’re seeing right now is when I said “Fuck it” and continued to flash my stomach because putting my arms around my husband was more important.

We had an amazing 2 weeks before he left to finish up the second half of his deployment. He came home to me living in Killeen in our first apartment together waiting to make our home whole.

For those of y'all who feel like giving up because the distance is too hard, I can tell you from experience that the wait is worth it. This entire night, the indescribable emotions I felt… Welcoming him home was definitely worth the lonely nights, the sad tears, and the miserable phone calls when we had to finally say “Goodbye, sweetheart”.