The Place We Didn’t Like
I hated the constant rain and partly cloudy skies. From the first day to the last day, I was fighting terrible colds and allergies. Moreover, I hated the ignorance of racism.
This particular place became a true test of our marriage. Could we survive without the external environment and material things for our happiness? No. Rather than finding comfort and strength in each other, we let our bitterness divide us. It was always a competition on who hated it there more.
Deployment to Iraq didn’t help. I was stuck in a place I didn’t like, by myself. He was stuck in Hell. I supported him the best I could, short of teleporting to see him.
The week he left, I decided to order him a new computer desk and make him a computer room. He knew about the desk, but not of the loving gesture of making him a room that was to be his sanctuary.
For several weeks, I reorganized and moved storage boxes from the small bedroom to the storage area in the carport, stained the unfinished desk and made it his retreat. I was exhausted from the labor, but I couldn’t wait to see his face when he returned.
Yet nothing I did fulfilled his preconceived ideas of how I should have acted, and he picked fights with me. It hurt deeply.
Steve was supposed to call me the morning I left to see my mother in Montana. He did not. I worried that something had happened or that he was hurt. I e-mailed him as soon as I got to her house. He didn’t e-mail me back immediately. When he did, he said he didn’t feel like calling because I was supposedly not giving him the emotional support he needed. My mother was upset with the mind games he played with me the week I stayed with her. She claimed a sand flea crawled up his shorts. He controlled my emotions the entire time he was over there.
A month before he was to return home, he sent me an angry e-mail that I wasn’t sympathetic to his plight. It sent me over the edge. I felt like he was blaming me for him being in Iraq. Well, everything was my fault, right?
I replied back calling him an ungrateful jerk, in polite terms, and tore into him. I didn’t care. I was tired of his attitude. I was tired of the verbal and mental abuse while I was falling apart waiting for him to come home. I sent him episodes of his favorite television shows, books and other items he asked me to get. I took late night phone calls. I e-mailed him every morning and night. Nothing I did met his expectations.
My nasty e-mail was apparently sent to several people, including his ex-wife, as if to illustrate that I wasn’t a good wife or a good person. I’m sure they all felt sorry for him. I was always made out to be the one at fault. We both were, but he never took responsibility. In the e-mail, he told me to pack up and leave before he returned home. Four days went by. I didn’t eat nor did I go into work. Finally, he called me and I explained why I was angry at the e-mail he sent. Nothing I did was ever good enough.
When he returned home, our relationship was better than it had been in a long while, but he believed I created the computer room after the fight out of guilt rather than before and out of love. And making me feel worse, his reaction wasn’t what I had envisioned. No thank you was spoken, no smile of gratitude given.
Deciding he didn’t want another tour to Iraq, he started the process to enlist in the Public Health Department and relocate to Lake Havasu, Arizona. Weeks went by believing the transfer was being processed. It was not. A second time documents were submitted and lost. Taking matters into my own hands, I walked into the General’s Office and politely told his secretary of the failures on the department’s part. Miraculously, the process finally began.
Believing nothing else could go wrong, we purchased a house. Yet, more government blunders between the two organizations held him up from leaving. I was sick again. We were fighting again. Twenty-six months of feeling trapped, I left in March to go to Lake Havasu. I felt if I didn’t leave, our marriage wouldn’t survive.