Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We Have To Talk

"We have to talk," Tom said.


He knew.

"Look, I couldn't help it," I blabbered. "Gymboree was having a 50% off sale, plus I had a 20% off coupon, so I had to shop." I threw my hands in the air. "It would have been a crime NOT to shop the sale. I certainly don't have that kind of willpower. If you had seen the clothes, you'd have understood."

Tom blinked at me from the computer screen. We were talking via Skype, and he seemed at a loss.

"I wasn't talking about that," Tom finally said.

Double crap!

I had assumed he had checked the bank account and had seen the charge from Gymboree even though I had promised PROMISED that I wouldn't shop there again until it was time to redeem my Gymbucks. But that was before the sale. The FIFTY PERCENT OFF sale. (Actually, the sale is still going on now. If you're wondering.) I didn't feel too guilty about going back on my promise that I wouldn't shop, mainly because Tom vows that he won't buy anything else, and then he'll go, "Oh, but then I saw these shoes, and I needed shoes so..." And then he'll shrug sheepishly as if to say, "What did you expect me to do? Say no to the shoes?" Same with video games. He'll vow that he won't buy anything for many months, and then he'll see one on the shelf, hug it to his chest and go, "Can I? It looks awesome. There's a sinking BOAT on the cover."

"Well...since you weren't talking about that, can you delete it from your memory?" I tapped the air with my fingers and went, "Click, click, DELETED!" just like Jim Carrey did in Liar, Liar. I love that movie. I've seen it more times than I can remember, and it always makes me laugh. Especially when--

"I'm being serious," Tom said.

Oh. Okay. He was being serious...

Oh my God, was he having an affair? You hear about that sort of thing happening all the time. Granted, it's usually the spouse left at home, but it can happen out there. I started to chew on my fingernail. If he had an affair, I'd fly my ass to Korea and attack the chick with my chewed on nails. I may look weak, but I have a pointy elbow and a purse filled with loose change.

"What?" I nibbled my thumbnail.

Tom took a deep breath. "You know what's been happening over here, right?"

I nodded. "North Korea is starting shit." God, North Korea was like a spoiled child, the one kid in playgroup that everyone cringes when he or she approaches. Nothing seems to make the child happy, so it causes mayhem.

"That's right," Tom said. "And...well, we're on high alert here, as I'm sure you're aware. It's just, if they need volunteers to go to North Korea, I'm doing it."

My heart dropped. "But that's dangerous. Did you not see what they did to Lisa Ling's sister? I mean, I don't think they did much, just kept her captive, but that was pretty rude in itself, don't you think?"

Tom shut his eyes for a moment, then opened them. "I'm being serious."

"Me too! Poor Lisa Ling's sister! And her friend. Can you imagine being stuck in North Korea? I bet it stinks. I saw this special on MTV about it, and it's so quiet there, hardly anyone walks around so you could walk into a coffee shop and be the only one there."

"I'm volunteering, Amber, and I just wanted you to know. I joined the military to defend my country," Tom explained.

I knew this. All along Tom had told me this. In fact, it killed him not to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. He tried to go, several times, but wasn't needed. He did eventually get to Qatar and did some missions in Iraq, but it wasn't enough for him. He'd watch stories about his fellow soldiers fighting and dying, fighting and getting injured, and I could see this disturbed him. Why should I get to sit on this couch, enjoying life, when they've lost theirs? When they've hurt themselves?

"Could you maybe just let a group volunteer first, see what happens to them, and THEN volunteer?" I asked meekly. "Like the people who have no families, surely they can go first?"

"Everyone has families, Amber. Maybe not their own, but mostly everyone I work with, they have loved ones."

I knew this too. I knew I was being selfish in my thoughts.

"Yes, but, they don't all have a little girl who would be crushed if anything were to happen to her Daddy."

Tom swallowed. I knew he was picturing Natalie, arms outstretched, calling for him. "If anything did happen, she'd be proud of me."

"She would, but she'd--I'd--" I could feel my nose start to prickle and had to stop or else I'd surely burst into tears.

"You'd be fine. You'd go on with your life," Tom said knowingly.

"I wouldn't WANT to go on with my life," I replied stubbornly.

"You would. Look, nothing may not even happen. I'm just telling you if it does. I'm going. I'm going to North Korea."

I sniffed. "I'd love you if your face got melted off."

Tom's eyebrows shot up. "EXCUSE me?"

"On Oprah awhile back, there was this soldier, and his face got melted off due to an explosion and his wife stuck with him. He literally had no face left, just...well, I think there was a hole made for the mouth, but as I've said before, I'd love you if you didn't have a face," I said grandly.

"Um. Thank you?" Tom answered. "But I do love you. I just wanted you to know."

I sighed. "I sort of suspected, Tom. We've been together awhile now and I...sort of suspected." I was quiet for a few seconds. "Want to hold your hand up to the screen and I'll do the same? It seems like something that would be done if we were in a movie with soft music playing in the background."

Tom shook his head, unmoved. "No, thanks. It'll make my screen all smudgy."

Somehow, I don't think the male character in a romantic comedy would say that. But oh well.

"Just...if you did volunteer, don't offer to like, be the hero or anything. Don't risk your life. Don't drive your spaceship into the alien spaceship to blow it up for the sake of all mankind," I said passionately.

Tom rolled his eyes. "Have you been watching Independence Day?"

"Maybe. But still. That sort of applies here. Only no spaceship. Or aliens."

"I'll do what I have to do," Tom said. He was acting like Yoda. Ugh.

I just hope nothing does happen.

I hope he'll be able to come home in August, as planned.

I just hope.


  1. God bless you, Amber. God bless your family. And, God bless you ALL for the sacrifices you each make for our country. we are eternally grateful.

  2. aw I'm sorry hun.

    Ali basically summed it up for me. Thank you ALL. *hugs*

  3. How Brilliant! Go Tom...Sorry Amber but I guess we all need hero's like Tom.

  4. Only you could turn such sad news into a post I can't stop laughing at. Never admit to anything until they bring it up, especially shopping sprees. Rookie error. Here in Japan, North Korea is making everyone a bit nervous, so thank you and thank Tom for making us feel safer.

  5. I will keep him and your family in my prayers.

  6. I totally concur with SarahF - brilliant post dealing sensitively with a really hard issue.

    I admire any man or woman in the forces, to be so selfless to want to support fellow comrades and country.

    You must be proud as well as terrified and I hope he comes home safe to you and Natalie.

    It doesn't mean he loves you any less, or doesn't need you, you know?

  7. No conversation that starts with "we have to talk" can end well. Prayers being said for Tom and you. Can we send North Korea for a time out? One that lasts until, oh I don't know - the new millenium?

  8. Oh hon ((hugs)), I can't even imagine how you must feel. You married a good one, didn't you? I feel humbled, next time I feel like having a rant about something petty, I'm going to remind myself of the bigger picture, and of how blessed I am to have folk like you and your husband who are prepared to stand up and be counted, to protect the likes of us. You are both hero's.

  9. Laughing and crying and cursing. And guessing you knew this was coming.

    Day at a time living ain't easy. You do it with grace.

  10. You've got yourself a keeper... an honorable man...does he have a brother???

    In all seriousness, praying for his safe return.

  11. Such a hard thing you and your family are going through to keep us all safe and secure. Thank you for that sacrifice and thank you for sharing your story with us. Merry Christmas!

  12. I knew guys like Tom in college - strong, brave and willing to do what it takes. He certainly sounds like a truly wonderful man!

  13. Those are the conversations I hate. I understand where you're at because my husbands like Tom... and while you're insanely proud of them, you kind of hate them at the same time because seriously why do they have to be so damn brave.

  14. I can't even imagine what you're going through... keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. Tom is already a hero, Amber - just by doing what he does.

    Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Thinking about you and your family! My brother was a Marine and I know it's not easy. God bless our troops!

  17. Coming from a former military wife...we are all so thankful for what your family does. And I have to admit that I laughed through most of the post. Praying he comes home in August!

  18. I know it's not easy. Try to stay positive and remember that he loves you.

    I'll keep you in my thoughts.

  19. *hugs* He sounds like my husband - when 9/11 happened he actually thought about re-enlisting. *shudders* I know...it's who they are and we agreed to that when we got involved with them.

    I will keep Tom in my T&P and please keep us updated!

  20. Huge hugs! Life sometimes really sucks as a military family & words can't really make that better. But I'm keeping you guys in my thoughts!

  21. Send him screen wipes for his computer and tell him to suck it up and PLAY the soft music in the background when you talk to him next time.

    Hugs and Prayers!

  22. How are you able to write so beautifully and funny about something so hard? It really was a cute, fun post, but my heart would be sick with worry too. I don't know how you handle it.

  23. While I'm VERY glad this wasn't about the overspending at gymbo, well, huh, it's much more serious. He's very brave, and you will be too. 

  24. Oh my goodness, Amber! This is intense! You have some humor sprinkled in, but the underlying message is a lot to take in.

    I'm honored by his strong desire to protect the U.S.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  25. Wow. Thanks to Tom for everything, and much more thanks to you, for letting him do everything. You both rock.

  26. We need men like Tom and women like you. Behind every good man, there has to be a great woman. (::starts singing::) But seriously, it is a mess and North Korea is like a spoiled, petulent child. It's a shame they're still being obnoxious and that has to cost you even more peace...and on Christmas, too. Jeez. But hey, at least you're with family and have the Gymboree sale. He'll come home to you, and I bet he won't even care about the shopping spree. 50% off!

  27. army wife toughest job in the military or something like that! I spent 20 yrs following my husband around the world with the military. You write it so well, it tugs at your heart strings but there's the snap back of humor.

  28. That's tough, to be proud of your husband's integrity and be scared shitless at the same time! Hang in there! My thoughts and love go out to you guys and I'll be hoping for August too!

  29. He'll be alright. He's not a "first in" frontline soldier, but more importantly, North Korea is all talk. It's posturing. They don't have the balls to actually start something. And we won't start anything for fear of pulling China into it.

    Things will cool back down and he'll be home in August.

  30. I have been reading and not commenting lately because i have been so behind in everything, but this needed to be commented on.

    I love your husband and his strength. I love you and yours too.

    You touch my heart and God Bless!

  31. Wow my nose prickled too.
    What a brave and wonderful husband you have. And what a brave and wonderful wife you are.

  32. Here's hoping North Korea stops acting like a 5 year old. That way Tom won't have to go there!

  33. It's people like your husband who allow us to live in the country we do. His decision to go to North Korea is a heavy one, especially right before Christmas, but have positive thoughts and everything will turn out okay. You are so brave to be able to handle that the way you are.... Have a good Christmas.

  34. I can't begin to imagine how fast your heart headed south to your toes when he said that. I will pray that he remains safe and that you and the kids have a wonderfully blessed Christmas!

  35. Hi, Friend, My heart goes out to you, your children,and your husband. I hope your Chistmas will be a good one, though, and just draw your children close to you. Best wishes for a great New Year.
    Ruby Young

  36. I know this might sound bad to some people, but I really hope that I don't have to go through a situation like this whenever I get married. It just seems so stressful and a completely different level of hard.

  37. Oh my goodness, that is tough. I will be praying for you, for your family, and especially for Tom. And I will even pray that North Korea settles down so he doesn't have to go.


  38. Oh Amber, that's so scary. What is it with guys? I felt the same way when Curtis volunteered to go to Afghanistan. The world needs people like that - I just wish they were different people, don't you?

    Keep your head up. Prayers for you and Tom.

  39. OK. First, Tom is an amazing man. We appreciate every thing he is sacrificing for our saftey.

    But I have to say, I laughed hysterically when you said "I'd love you if your face melted off"... hopefully, you won't need to keep that promise.

  40. I've still got shivers down my spine from reading this. Fingers crossed for you and Tom. Let's hope North Korea gets over their tantrum and behaves again.

  41. Well, bless your heart. Here's hoping that nothing happens and he doesn't have to go at all. Here's hoping for quiet time in North Korea and your sweetie coming back in August to see all the cute stuff you got at Gymboree!

  42. Proud, proud, proud of him, but hard, hard, hard on you. Keep the faith, sweetie.

    P.S. Do I ever tell you often enough that you're a good writer? You are. Very.

  43. I'm so SORRY! BIG HUGS Sweetheart!
    I think the wife of a soldier would have to be one of the hardest & toughest things ever! My heart goes out to you!
    And Prayers for your husbands safety!

  44. WOW. God Bless your family.. Ya'll are in my prayers. I could not even imagine my husband saying that to me.. I would definitely break down in tears. I thought being a police wife was tough with him calling me (multiple times)from the hospital and saying he'd been hurt in the line of duty, but it does not even compare to what you are going through. Tom is a brave man and you are a brave woman. We are lucky to have Tom serving our country!

  45. Man. . . What a brave dude! Even though he's doing the right thing, it so isn't! I'll be praying that he isn't needed - and if he is that he's kept out of harms way and soon on his way back home to you and the kids.

  46. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

  47. What I wonder is if the Koreans are really worth the trouble (and loss of American lives).

    They've been war-crazy since the beginning of time and the current war is now nearly 60 years old.

  48. I always think of you guys when I hear about North Korea in the news. Tom is brave and I know you are proud to be his family. If he goes, I hope he returns quickly and safely.

  49. I am not selfless enough to marry a man who is in the armed forces. Seriously. My heart goes out to you all and I hope with all my hopes that North Korea doesn't flare up before Tom comes home.

    Hugs and have a Merry Christmas, Amber.

  50. Oh, honey, I'm so sorry.

    Someone needs to go in and spank NOrth Korea.

    But not Tom!

  51. Wow. Tom Sr. Don't Be a Hero... don't drive a spaceship into the alien spaceship. Well, that doesn't really fit the meter of the original, but you get the idea. I hope that Ed above is on the money, and North Korea backs down. Regardless, I hope you get your Tom home safely in August.

    And you're a hero too, Amber.


Thanks for the comment!

Share This

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...