The sergeant just drove off with Kid A. He’s off to Milwaukee for the day, and he’ll get on the plane for Ft. Benning tomorrow. We won’t hear much from him for the next ten weeks. We thought they might let me come along to Milwaukee to watch him swear in, but the logistics didn’t work out. We spent the morning cleaning up, figuring out which computers and bikes he’s going to want whenever he comes back. I’ll get back to that in a minute; no concentration for anything else.
Between cleaning spurts, he watched a bunch of strange stuff on YouTube (like, a remix of Justin Bieber shooting it out with a cop, set to dubstep. . .yeah. . .). We talked a lot. I gave him a tiny container with some of his father’s ashes, to wear as a pendant. He gave me a “Proud Parent of a Soldier!” window sticker.
There’s a lady who works the make-up counter at Walgreens. Face that could make you swear off make-up forever. Her daughter died in Iraq. She keeps a big picture on the check-out counter, her girl in fatigues, smiling and beautiful. This clerk also wears a big pin with her daughter’s picture, the date she was born, the date she died. I used to feel sorry for the woman, so entrenched in grief, with a face that looks like a battlefield on the last day of some private war. But I’ve got no more pity; now she just scares me.
Last week, Kid A asked whether it would be weird for me after he and Kid B were gone. “Hasn’t it been like thirty years or something since you lived alone?”
Not thirty years, I told him, never. Never ever. Parents’ house, University co-ops, rental houses with other young people, boyfriends and whatnot, and then Dan and me living together and raising a family. I don’t remember ever in my life having a house or apartment to myself for a single entire day. No wonder I’m so addicted to getting outside.
But Kid B’s at school for the next couple hours, so I’ll crank up the music and scrub down the newly empty bedroom.