The Sweetest Homecoming

Deployment, I believe, is the worst feeling. Ever. I am not prone to exaggerate, either. It's just plain awful. I cannot verbally describe the feeling of having to take the one you lost most to the airport. Not knowing exactly the next time you will see them. Not ever being assured of their safety. Not knowing when you will talk to them next. Just not knowing.

But, oh, that homecoming. I won't say it's worth it. Because, obviously, if I had the choice he would never leave. But that moment when he's in your arms again at the airport, those horrible nightmares vanish, as if it never happened. And you are the happiest girl in the world.

I woke up that morning very calm and collected, oddly enough. I put on the outfit I had specially picked out a few weeks prior with the help from my coworkers. I slowly applied my makeup. I wore his favorite perfume. And then. And then it was time. Since I was staying with my parents the few weeks before, I was able to go upstairs and see them first. My mom just smiled and said "Are you ready." I replied "yes," but that I also thought I could throw up. My stomach was a knot. I can't describe why exactly that happens, but it does. Faithfully. Every time.

The drive to the airport is 40 minutes from my parents home. Thankfully, my body knows how to get there without my brain really being there. Because my thoughts were so preoccupied. So much time had passed. Would he look different? Older, maybe? Or would you be able to see war on his face? Did he get any taller?  He has so much to see... we get married tomorrow, he hasn't tried on his suit, he has no idea what our venue looks like, or even what anything will look like.

I listened to Iron & Wine's Vigilantes. Like I do, every single time.

This is the first time we invited other people to the airport. Usually it's just us. We need that time to process, as the nature of homecoming is very emotional. But this time, considering it would be the last time he would have a homecoming in Washington, we invited his family. I did, however, tell anyone that if they even tried to hug him first, I would kill them. Sadly, I'm not joking.

So you get to the airport, and see family already there. Waiting, just like you. I walk a bit closer to the gait and just watch. I see a few people come around that bend. Are they from his flight? Could this be his plane?

And then you see him.

After anxiously waiting. After seeing each passenger walk around that corner. Finally, the next one is him.

You see that tall handsome man who's absolutely beaming because it's you he's standing in front of.  And your heart is happier than it's ever been. He just picks me up and holds me tighter than ever.

And all is well in the world again.

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