Tom came home the other day with a box and a bag full of stuff.
“Did you bring home pie?” I asked hopefully. I had been craving pie.
“No pie. But I did go to the Airman and Family Readiness Center and picked you up a few things. For when I go,” Tom said, setting everything down on the kitchen counter.
My heart squeezed. It does that whenever he mentions leaving. He’ll be in Korea for a year. He leaves in August.
Tom opened the box. “So there’s a bunch of stuff in here, plus two recordable bears so I can leave a message, here’s some DVDs and....are you CRYING?”
Oh. I hadn’t even realized. But as I touched my cheek I realized it was wet.
“I just...” I sniffed. “You’re LEAVING!” It was as if it all hit me right then and there. I mean, I’ve known that Tom would be leaving for many months now. But looking at everything just made it real. Soon Tom would be gone and then only thing we’d have is some recordable bears with his voice.
“It’ll be okay,” Tom said, pulling on his collar. He’s never comfortable when I start to cry. I think a part of him wants to bellow, "There's no crying in Air Force life!"
“What if you don’t come back?” I continued, fiddling with the stationary that was included in the box.
Tom frowned. “Where would I go?”
“Some Korean woman could seduce you with her cooking!”
Tom scratched his arm. “Um. I’ve seen that bizarre foods show, Koreans like to eat bugs and dog. I doubt there will be any seducing going on.”
“What if I die in my sleep?” I continued.
“Have your friend Amanda alert the police if she hasn’t heard from you every five hours,” Tom suggested.
“What is this supposed to be?” I held up a DVD.
“Um. A dinosaur I think?”
I peered closer at it. Oh. Maybe it was a dinosaur. But what kind of name is Mr. Poe?
I lifted up a checklist.
“This creeps me out,” I said, pointing to the one that talked about putting a photo up so it could watch me sleep. “I mean I have pictures of you by my bedside but you know I freak out if I feel someone is watching me sleep.”
This is true. Tom once watched me as I slept because he said I looked adorable. I ended up jumping out of bed screeching, “JESUS what are you DOING?” I just hate the feeling of being watched.
“Will you leave me a sweet message on the bears?” I wondered.
“I think they’re for the kids. But I’ll make a video for you. Maybe even rated R.” Tom wiggled his eyebrows up and down.
Always the perv, even when I’m in tears.
“Everything will be okay,” Tom promised, pulling me close.
“You promise?” I mumbled into his shoulder.
“Definitely. You only have to worry about a Korean seducing me if she cooks Italian food,” Tom joked.
I smacked his arm lightly.
“No, but seriously, everything will be okay. Now cheer up.”
I sniffled. “Only if we can get some pie.”
Tom grinned. “Okay. Pie it is.”
So when Tom is gone and I feel sad I’ll just get some pie.
Or, you know, go shopping.