Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sleeping alone...a love story

 I met Micah at a casino. 

He was a security guard and I was a blackjack dealer. I remember the first time I saw him. I was walking with some other dealers to an upstairs break area. Micah passed me on the stairs and the bells in my head went off. I had never been attracted to red heads...but he was different.

 At the time he had a goatee and was lean and muscley (no that is not a word..but that's what he was). I remember that split second exchange of eye contact, it was a conversation that wasn't heard. When I asked who he was, the dealer I was with told me "His name is Micah, I'm kinda seeing him" DAMN! Shut down before I had a shot.

He later came up to my table and introduced himself. He was so polite and sweet that it was almost unreal. 

We became friends.

 Micah would come to me for girl advice, political thoughts and, other random subjects. I loved making him laugh...it was like the door to the real him would open up just for me. I watched him make huge girl mistakes. He'd call me and start off with "I'm so stupid, guess what I did last night". We did have some trouble in our friendship. But he drove an hour to my apartment, apologized, and held me while I slept. You'd think I would have caught on to the under current of feelings. Before he was to leave for the marines a friend of his asked us "So when are you two gonna get together?" We literally laughed in his face. "He's like my little brother! That's gross". I later apologized to him for this, clearly he saw what I hadn't.
     
One night, I chipped my tooth on a beer bottle. Micah stuck his finger into my mouth to feel the tooth, while laughing hysterically. It was just a little chip and we were both cracking up.Then he kissed me. It was not unusual, he had pecked me before, but this time it was like all the lights turned on. I could see on his face that he felt it too. So he kissed me again. This time my mind slowed down and I had a clear thought.

  "Oh my god, I'm going to marry him"

I knew right then without any doubt that we were going to get married. Later that night he said to me "You know this is forever right?". So he obviously had the same thought. There was one small detail, he was leaving for boot camp in a week.

I started second guessing myself. I was looking for a reason to end the bliss, just in case he was going to break my heart. But then my mom met him and pulled me into her room. She looked at me and told me "You're in love with him"."NO! no I'm notttt......I'm in love with him???" That was when the fear started and so did the tears.

 To realize that your best friend is not only leaving in a week, but taking your heart with him. It was not a happy realization. But he did leave and it hurt more than I could have imagined.


Boot camp graduation 
     
We started planning our wedding after he got out of boot camp. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton and I was still living with my parents to save for the wedding. Long distance was hard, but we were happy.



Then my world imploded. I was at work when he called to tell me that he had received his orders. They were shipping him to Iraq in September....it was June. We knew it was a possibility, but had been told it was not likely. My dad had to come pick me up from work, I completely broke down. It felt like we were never going to actually be together. I wanted to postpone the wedding until he got back, but Micah was determined. He told me he wanted to marry me before he left...in case anything happened. 

So we were married July 24th, 2004.


Our wedding day with Lake Oroville in the background

 We spent an amazing week in Mexico for our honeymoon. I have told you all before in my post "The weight of the situation" how I came back from that trip pregnant. Micah deployed in September, the most painful day of my life was seeing him for the last time before he left. We never had a chance to be newlyweds. He spent 7 months in Iraq and I spent those 7 months sleeping alone.


 The man that returned was not the same man I married. 


Most couples have a blissful honeymoon phase, where they get to learn about each other. We didn't  have time like that. It was a struggle for him to adjust to the real world. He would kick and twitch in his sleep.When he was awake he was always angry. It was not the happy home we had imagined. We both questioned whether we had made a mistake. But then I'd make him laugh and I'd look him in the eyes.

 He was still in there hidden under ugly memories of war and sleepless nights.



Fallujah in November 2004

     That was 8 years ago and I'm no longer a bride. We have overcome so many obstacles together and filled in the blanks with babies.

 Now that he is a firefighter there are times he is gone for long stretches. It's hardest because the kids miss him. But when they are asleep at night and I lie awake in our bed I remember...I remember that feeling of fear. The fear that he was killed or injured. So many of those nights, laying alone in the dark, instead of saying my prayers to God, I would talk to Micah. Please don't leave me here alone, please come home to me, please be safe.

 Last night my bed was full of little girls, but I still felt alone without him.So instead of praying to God I talked to Micah, and what I said hadn't changed much. Please be careful, please come home soon, please remember how much we need and love you. This fire is big and far from being under control. For us that means many more days without Daddy. So tonight like so many nights I'll go to bed alone. And like all those nights I'll talk to him....I love you, please be safe, please come home soon.