|"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill
Kyra has been planning this exact moment since the day he left just under 18 months ago. He is finally coming home, today, and this time it’s for good. She wasn’t quite sure how to react to the news when the ombudsman had called and said they were coming home, elated? Sad? Terrified? Emotions ran through her at a constant pace and at any moment, she might just burst into tears from the exertion. The last time he came home, he was supposed to stay for at least three months for some kind of training they always did but he left for Afghanistan only a week later. She was heartbroken that her time with him was cut short. Nevertheless, this was the life of a military wife wasn’t it? The needs of the Navy always came before the needs of her. Jon always said that she came first in his mind and she was the reason he came home at all. She knew he was right but she just couldn’t wait for his time to be up so they could spend the rest of their time together instead of apart.
He had promised her before he left that this was the last time and he would get a real job after this. She believed him and was excited at the idea of him having a nine to five and she didn’t have to worry about him anymore. Kyra knows that he carries a picture of her on the inside of his helmet. She gave it to him the first time he deployed and he never went anywhere without it. When he was home, it is in his wallet. It is one of her favorites too, it was taken the morning after they had first met and she was leaning against the wooden fence at the bluffs which over looked her hometown. She was wearing his hoodie since she had been chilled, her hair was up in a loose ponytail and the strands that weren’t secured were caressing her cheeks, the sun was just cresting over the mountaintop and the light shone brightly on her face.
The two of them have only been married for a few years and she felt as if she has only seen him for about six months of that time. This was not the life she signed up for but she realized a long time ago that she could not do a life without loving Jon as completely as he did her.
She can barely contain herself as she rushes through the house picking up the bits of clutter that lay strewn about on the floor and couch. She has always been a bit of a neat freak but when Jon is gone, she just can’t seem to move his tennis shoes from the front door or put away his gym bag that he always leaves out. She sleeps in his tee shirts because they smell like him and it’s as close as she can get to the real him until he returns each time.
She glances in the mirror as she passes, which hangs on the closet door, she needs more sleep. She doesn’t generally sleep much while he is gone due to the terrifying dreams she seems to have. Most of her time at night is spent perusing military blogs and newspapers trying to find any information on where her husband might be. She knows that it’s not a good thing and the other wives have constantly told her to stop torturing herself. She pulls the bottoms of her eyelids down and groans to herself. The skin under her eyes looks like she had been using them as purple punching bags.
Kyra shakes her head and knows she has to get moving. Her small house is easy to keep clean but just as easy to make a mess in as well and today is no exception. She doesn’t have time to mop the floor before she leaves but she does make sure to sweep first getting the dog hair up at least. Quickly, she throws away the piles of bill trash on the table and wipes it down with a damp cloth. She has about fifty people coming to the house today for Jon’s homecoming so getting the house in order is priority number one.
She makes a list in her head about what she still needs to do before the flight lands as she makes her way through the house picking up the random items she has left laying about for months. She needs to get the dog from the groomer, the clothes from the dry cleaner, make the bed, get the car washed, finish scrubbing the bathroom, and finally meet Jon at the airport at five.
She glances at her watch, three thirty, “shit!” she curses. There is no way she is going to get it all done. She throws the clutter she has in her hands into the hall closet and slams the door. She grabs her keys off the ring by the front door, grabs her purse, and hurries out.
Her cell phone starts to ring the theme song from True Blood and she fumbles to find it. She drops her keys and dumps the purse contents onto the ground as the phone continues to ring. She curses again and kicks the bag out of the way, pushing the random items around on the ground until she is able to spot where the noise is coming from. Grabbing the phone finally, she glances at the screen. Brittany Carr shows in bright green lettering and her smiling face appears on the screen with the options of accept or decline.
“Thank God you are calling me right this second!” She says into the phone as she presses the answer button and brings it to her ear. She shoves the thing between her shoulder and her head and begins to pick up the strewn items off the ground.
“Hey to you too, Face!” She says excitedly. “Where are you and what do you need me to do?”
“Home…but I’m leaving to get the dog. I don’t need you to do anything except get your butt over to my house or else I am going to lose it today.” Kyra whines. She opens the car door and throws her bag into the back seat as she climbs in. She starts the car and backs quickly out of the driveway.
“Alright, calm down I am on my way. Hey, I’ll swing by and get you a Dr. Pepper at the Hotspot ok?”
“Lady, you know me too well. Make it a big one!” She smiles and hangs up the phone tossing it onto the passenger seat. She wonders how she would have gotten through all of this without her. As she pulls to a stop at the light, she tells herself to breathe, slowly, in and out. Good, she is feeling better.
Stop acting insane, she chides herself this is not the first time he has come home.
A loud honk from the car behind her brings her out of her daydream and back to the present. The light is green and she has no idea how long she’s been sitting there. She presses her foot to the gas pedal and waves her hand behind her apologetically just as the light turns yellow. Two blocks later, she makes the right turn into the groomers parking lot. She grabs her purse off the back seat and locks her car doors and she hurries to the office. The bell chimes as she enters.
“Kyra! Good to see you again!” The clerk behind the counter smiles widely at her. “Jon coming home today I take it?”
“Yes he is.” She says with a smile. The only time the dog went to the groomer was when Jon was coming home. Otherwise, Jon washes and brushes him at home, sometimes taking hours to clear the dense fur.
“Hawkeye’s all done.” The groomer says as she leashes him up and begins scratching him behind his ears making his tail wag excitedly. “No trouble at all.”
“How much?” Kyra asks as she digs into her purse for her wallet.
“For you? Nothing. It’s on the house this time.” Says the groomer waving a hand about as if to brush off a ridiculous request.
“Oh, no, really, you don’t have to do that!” Kyra exclaims.
“Yes I do.”
“Well, I just…” Kyra sighs and quickly brushes away the tear in her eye. The constant kindness from the people who know Jon always shocks her. “Thank you.” She finally says after a deep breath.
The groomer and the clerk simply smile and she walks Hawkeye to the car. Opening the back door, he jumps on the seat and immediately clamors to the front to sit. This is his place unless Jon is in the car; even then, it’s difficult to get him to stay in the back, as he wants to be on his lap at all times. Hawkeye is just too big to be a lap dog but she supposes no one really told him that fact. Ever since he was a puppy he would climb all over them both, sleep on their bed, and generally take up space in their small home. Jon had to go buy him his own couch so he would stop getting all over theirs.
Kyra decides to skip the dry cleaners and just go home; she can get those items tomorrow. She still has to finish the house cleaning before she picks up Jon. She rolls the window down for Hawkeye to stick his head out of and drives the few blocks back to her house.