Military Life

I Hate Saying Goodbye

I don’t cry when I say goodbye any more.

I can’t. I’m sure it’s because I’ve said too many.

It wasn’t always this way. Five years ago — before I stepped foot in America, before I met the shockingly blond guy behind me in English 3010, and far before I married him — I sobbed as I said goodbye to my grandparents. I was going to America, for a year, traveling across the ocean for the first time in my life — alone.

Months later, I broke down in San Diego airport as I parted from the guy who won my heart with contraband sweets shared in class and an impossibly wise soul. I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again, then, but I did: Visit after visit, SAN-LHR, months in between each one. Gradually, the tears subsided. Compared to the first, the worst, goodbye, nothing warranted the same reaction. Nothing cleaved my heart in two like the very real prospect of never seeing my love again.

In months to come when my husband deploys, there will be tears. But that’s a new kind of goodbye; all the other goodbyes have been said time and time again, and I have thusly developed armor. My mind is on autopilot, every time: It’s okay, it’s not forever, it’s okayI can cope with goodbyes, because I’ve had to.

So: No tears.

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