She sat in her chair, the chair she worked in, the chair with a view of the laundry room door to the garage and a second view to the pretty clock which was totally unnecessary due to her phone and computer, but somehow softened the reality of her time away from him with its pretty curves and scrolled ironwork. She struggled to focus; she struggled to shake the feelings of being overly dramatic from her mind. She found herself asking why? Why was she reacting like this? Why was she so discombobulated over something which was so much the norm for her life? And she realized it was really a matter of timing. It never failed, it seemed at least. The moment she allowed herself to drop some of the protective coating which encased her always seemed to be the moment which proved to her that vulnerability was not an emotional state she could afford herself.
The memories of that summer night came rushing back to her. Thoughts of him, outnumbered, darkness preventing his vision of the predator who were armed and intoxicated, a group with no clear thought, nor regard, nor respect…..nothing to lose, yet he came home.
The memories of that familiar nonchalant call came rushing back to her, stifling heat of a raging summer, the vision of him wrestling a robbery suspect onto the scorching pavement, his gun drawn, suspect resisting and his words to her afterward…..”Sesame Chicken or Sweet and Sour Pork?”
The thoughts she had memorized came back to her……timing, she thought. Just earlier that very day she was awakened by his warm body against hers, completely wrapping her within his much larger frame, enveloping her in a cocoon of safety only he could provide her. The memories of that very morning came back to her, listening to his words as she studied him, memorizing the scar on his forehead, thankful once again the cause didn’t claim him, studying the scars she knew so well which marked his body with memories which ended in calls of reassurance…..the good calls….the calls which brought him home to her. Just hours later, on a typical day she would receive yet another good call, a call of reassurance, a call which would indicate he would come home to her…..so why? Why could she not shake the one thing she refused to allow in their life? Why, could she not keep herself from thinking analytical thoughts and implicating his life with statistics?
She never allowed him to factor into her numbers. He was off limits to her. She spent her life studying the loss, researching the cause, gaining knowledge of the facts. She could see the map of a country with a thin blue line running through it in her mind at all times, she could visualize holes in the line and those stepping in closer to fill the gaps. She could close her eyes at any moment and state by state see the numbers of injuries, deaths, close calls…..and good calls. She lived it, breathed it, it stripped her of the good dreams many months ago……it claimed her ability to sleep completely. In a way, it consumed her, and yet she knew, if she were to maintain her commitment to it, it must consume her. She was crazy in the eyes of most, she was ignorant and misinformed and guilty of transferring her love of one to the commitment to the others. She would surely wake up one day and realize the fool she was. And for her passion she realized was so ridiculed by most, she excluded him. It was her way of protecting him from the statistics. She removed him purposely from all thoughts which may concern her about his safety. She allowed the reputation of his department to interrupt her knowledge of the truth she had known all along…..that it wasn’t if something would eventually happen, but when….and to which one of them. Statistically speaking, she knew they were due. Long overdue, actually; but that thought, was not allowed.
She sat in her chair, headphones in place to drown the thoughts which would not elude her tonight. She stared into her glass of wine not willing to allow its contents to soothe her, for as much as she wanted to dismiss the thoughts which were spinning in her head like a whirlwind, she knew she must face them, accept them; swallow them for the truth they held. She knew, she must entertain the thought of his mortality in order to be able to confront the fear today had invoked, and in turn, to allow it to return to its rightful place in the back of her mind.
She had lived her life with him constantly rebuking the monster within her which told her nothing good ever lasts for her. She had continually fought her fear of losing the happiness which had eluded her for years until she allowed herself to accept the love he freely offered her. She forced herself to quash the resentment she felt for him for telling her, almost proudly, that if this life were to claim him early, it was in duty he wished to be claimed. She was almost sickened at the thought of him proudly leaving her, although she knew it was purely selfishness which allowed her to think that way. She knew what he meant, she just refused to accept it. To accept it was to entertain it. To entertain it, to her, was to acknowledge the possibility of it. To entertain the possibility of it, was to picture herself the widow of a hero.
So perhaps today it all boiled down to one thing. In the early morning hours she let her guard down, she allowed herself that closeness she couldn’t bear to lose. She allowed him to hear her soften. She allowed those emotions which always ended in pain for her. She trusted herself to him knowing the consequences, knowing the risks. She allowed herself to accept that he was worth every ounce of what she had to give, regardless of what it may eventually cost her. And she allowed her heart the opportunity to be broken out of the sake of fully loving him.
Hours later……..she sat in her chair, the chair with the view of the garage door and the useless clock, and she waited, she waited for the sound of Velcro and keepers and she waited for that warm body pressed up against her reassuring her that this life, this love, this constant unknown, was worth the risk of a broken heart. She waited as she always did, but perhaps today, a little more aware, a little more alive, a little more in tune with her appreciation for each moment of the unknown.