I hadn’t heard from my husband in 24 hours and I was beginning to panic.
And yes, I get that there are wives who go days..WEEKS…without hearing from their man. But Tom is not on the front lines. He’s in a place where he’s able to communicate. We have a routine where we speak at about the same time and he never showed up.
I thought, okay, he had to work later. No biggie.
But as the hours slipped by, I started to worry. Where was he?
He might not be at a dangerous base but really, no place over there is completely safe.
My imagination began to go wild. What if…what if….their base was attacked? But no, there had been nothing on the news about it.
What if…what if…a soldier went crazy? The base Tom is at is a hub from those coming from Afghanistan. PTSD is a serious thing. And sometimes there are soldiers who lose it. Have you seen Hector from Army Wives?
What if…what if…Tom collapsed? Heart problems run in their family. In fact, Tom’s Dad had a heart attack when he was away from Tom’s Mom. They normally chatted at a certain time, he never showed up, and hours later soldiers came to her door informing her that her husband had died of a heart attack.
I couldn’t freak out in front of the kids though. I had to put on a happy face. Make dinner. Act as though everything were okay.
I don’t know how you wives who have soldiers on the front lines do it. I’d be a mess. It’s no secret that I can be overly dramatic….which is why I shouldn’t be surprised that I birthed a daughter who is, well, overly dramatic. I checked my phone every two seconds. The battery drained so I plugged it in beside me. I kept checking Skype. I kept checking Facebook.
WHERE WAS HE?
I pictured him sprawled out on the floor in the gym. The gym, because he’s been working out since he’s been over there. He has a bad shoulder. Bad knees. A BAD HEART. Oh God. He could be in a hospital bed writhing in pain. Moaning, “I can’t feel my toes..”
Okay, probably not. I watch too many hospital dramas.
I began pacing the room. I do this when I’m nervous. Natalie started following me.
“What are we doing?” she asked. She smacked into my butt when I abruptly stopped. I thought I heard my phone go off. I rushed to it and…no, just a game alert.
I chewed all my fingernails. It’s a nasty habit, yes, but I do it when I’m worried.
I sent Tom texts that said,
“Are you okay? Please contact me!”
“It’s been 24 hours. Are you alive? What is happening?”
“You know how I get when I panic. I no longer have fingernails and I’ve consumed 1 cupcake, 2 chocolate bars, and a shot of vodka.”
Down on the couch I went.
Up from the couch I went.
I couldn’t sit still.
It wouldn’t be so bad if Tom warned me that we wouldn’t be able to speak. This has happened before during exercises. “It’ll be a couple of days before we can talk again..” Okay, fine. I can deal with that.
But when I don’t know what’s happening? I don’t react well.
I sent one final text before I went upstairs to bed. I didn’t think I could sleep but I had to rest. To do something.
“I hope you’re okay. Please contact me when you can. I don’t care if it’s 2 AM my time.”
And then seconds later.
I dove for it.
It was HIM!
“Sorry. Internet just came back up. We had a black out. Didn’t mean to worry you.”
He’s okay! He’s breathing!
I told him it was okay, that I was just happy that he was still with us.
“You’re weird,” he told me.
(Only he spelled it your weird. Because he likes to rile me up with using the incorrect your. He says the English language is dumb and we don’t need all these differing words which also tends to rile me up.)
So yes. I couldn’t get a hold of my husband for over 24 hours. It turned out okay.
My heart goes out to all you spouses who go for days and sometimes weeks without knowing what is going on.
I’d be permanently without nails if I had to go through that.