From: Your Loving Girlfriend
To: The Man I’ll Never Truly Love
Subj: There’s A Lot I’m Afraid To Tell You
There’s a lot they’re afraid to tell you when you sign up for the military. They don’t want to scare you off too early. They want you “hard for the guard.” I think you knew more than you let on. I remember your raised eyebrow when I told you what I was going to be doing. “Tactical Crew Gunner” is a lot scarier than it sounds, I guess. But your original dream was to join the French Foreign Legion, and you knew that it can be a bit of a death sentence if you join at the wrong – or is it right?- time. You wanted this for me more than I did, I think. But we’re all happy in the same big family, right?
But someone accidentally ruined that for them. Someone said the word “deployment.” Now that doesn’t mean anything to the average person. Oh, go spend some time overseas, come home. Except most people don’t get issued an M16, some Kevlar, and get put on the bow of a boat with a 50 caliber machine gun. It’s the most dangerous place to be, especially when protecting an oil platform.
There’s a lot that I’m afraid to tell you, really. I’m afraid to tell you that I’m being deployed and that they were very, very adamant that I write a full will. I’m afraid to tell you how many people have died doing this job. But because of what we do day to day, we become a blip on the news and then we fade into obscurity. I’m afraid to tell you that I’m afraid to look at my official military portraits because those are what are put on the news when we die, and that it gives me a sinking feeling to see my own death photo.
I’m afraid to tell you that I don’t actually love you. I love being around you, but there is nothing about you that will ever make my heart skip a beat or make me want to write about you. It’s why I don’t show you my writing. It’s never about you.
I’m afraid to tell you that I’m going with my gut on this one. I’m writing my will and sealing it. I’m afraid to tell you that I think you’re going to have to use it. I’m afraid to tell you to take care of my mom, and the dog, and the cats. I’m afraid to be buried. I’m afraid to be gone.
I’m afraid to tell you that this trip to see you might be the last one. I’m afraid to tell you that “just a year” might turn into forever.
I’m afraid to tell myself that it’s going to be alright because I don’t want to go with a false sense of hope when the dread overwhelms me.