The date has been set for my next trip to Germany. I'll be seeing Kyle in twenty-one short days. Exactly three weeks. It's not a long wait anymore. In fact, I told someone recently that anything under one hundred days was cake. Turns out cake isn't always that easy.
I completely lost it today. I was sitting on the sofa with a text book open, trying to prepare for finals, and suddenly all the weight of these last three (closer to four) lonely months came crashing down on my shoulders and before I knew what was happening I was curled up in a ball crying harder than I have in a long time.
To be perfectly honest, I don't even know what brought it on. One minute I was fine, and the next I was right back on the same roller-coaster track, plummeting fast. It didn't make sense, but then what about this journey has?
All I know is that I miss Kyle. I miss him so much it hurts, and it's not just today. It doesn't only happen when I'm crying. I miss him all the time, for every second of every day, and it always hurts. Occasionally it catches up to me. Apparently even now. Even when I'm so close to the end of one more segment of this separation. Even when I know that each day is one day closer, and that it's a day I need to treasure because I can't get it back. Even when all those things are true, even when the world keeps spinning and thousands of faces pass unaware, it hurts.
And each momentary lapse, each time I feel myself slide a few feet backwards, reverting into that old pattern, I feel. so. weak. It's awful. So eventually, I pick myself up go at the day again, trying to fight off the last bits of the sadness in which I'm drowning.
But you know, I think I'm finally starting to see things a little differently. After approximately thirteen months dealing with the not-so-great side of the Army (by which I mean, putting up with it stealing the most important element of my life) I've realized that strength does not mean you never cry. It doesn't mean you're not afraid. Strength is not about being "fine." It doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to feel to the pain.
Strength is what happens after the crying. It's what takes that little grain of fear inside your heart and tells it to scoot over, because there has to be room for hope too. Strength is what makes us be able to take every last drop of that sadness, and then wipe our eyes, pick ourselves up, and carry on with what must be done. So, no matter how many times I have to stop what I'm doing and cry, I know I'll always get back up afterward. I love him. I love him so much, and that's what makes me strong, even when I don't want to be.
Twenty-one days. Almost there. Almost back. One breath in. A tear hear and there. And another breath out.