Ask me which language of love I speak, and I will tell you - all of them. Except expensive gifts. They make me feel like I owe the giver something, like I have been bought. Maybe there is more Marcel Mauss in me than I know, or it could be that I’m just cheap that way. But yes, I cannot get enough of love letters, compliments and expressions of adoration; I will never leave the house – or come back – without a hug and a kiss; no multitasking or playing with your phone while you are talking to me; I want to hold hands while walking down the street, and if we are just sitting on the couch, I will want to have a finger or toe glued to you, if not more; thank you for making lunch and picking me up from the airport, and… do we have to say goodnight just yet?
I would like to think I give all of that back, but that is for me to hope and others to know. I am totalitarian, inclusive, fluid and osmotic in matters of the heart. It can be a little intense sometimes.
A few years back, I heard the words “Not everyone is cut out to be an army wife.” They struck hard because I immediately recognized myself as one of those people. I was too selfish. There, I’ve said it.
And they are gorgeous indeed; the soldiers, the shamans, the rock stars, the surgeons; the templars, the warlocks, the shepherds, the preachers. They are charming, and charismatic, and lead the way so effortlessly; and you want to be close to their fire, so intoxicatingly bright and infectious. But there is a part of them that belongs to the world. A fraction of their loyalty that will always reside elsewhere. A call in the middle of the night and a disappearance for howeverlong, whereverfar. Is your ego bendy enough to take a back seat in times like those? Mine wasn’t.
It just so happened that my baby was called upon again to do what he does best, and what he does better than anyone. A mission of fixing the human condition, one broken lost soul at a time, molecular and epic in one and the same instance. I knew this about him from the beginning, and I was torn. You want to protect what’s most precious to you from catching the brunt of other people’s shit; an illusion of control, and patronizing to boot, but I could not help it. Yet this is why you love him. This is who he is. This is what brought him to you. How can I negotiate that?
Just one look at his face last night, and my stupid little pussydog ego harnessed its own wicker basket, lit up the propane, and ballooned its way into outer space. Just one look at the toll it took on him, the weight, the pain, and his superhuman strength in dealing with it, and I knew what every army wife probably has grafted into her bone marrow, heavier than lead yet carried without complaint. Because that’s what you do.
I always knew, but I didn’t know. He told me, but I was reluctant to understand. I thought I was protecting him, but I was protecting myself from something I didn’t think I could handle. Because it made me feel small to think I couldn’t match the greatness with which he supported me. What a relief to grow. I knew that I was up for this kind of insight, and I feel embarrassedly late for the party. But there it happened. Everything else evaporated, except for love. I could care less about control and about feeling threatened by the public sphere invading my introvert hamster ball. It will not do to feel helpless or internalize his pain, when it is my place and my power to nurture the nurturer. He deserves a warrior, and a warrior he shall have. This love won’t let me be anything less.