9 Days until Shipping
I was headed off to bed at 3 o’clock this early morning, but was stopped by the ping of my cell phone. As I picked it up, I noticed that it was a notification from Messenger… I usually never get Facebook messages out of the blue like that; this was very odd and actually surprised me a bit. From the preview my phone gave me from the lock screen, I couldn’t see who the sender was. I only saw that I got the message, and that the sender was still active online.
It was Tori. She wanted to wish me happy birthday at 3 in the morning. Ha, she knows me too well… From the sleep-deprived daze I was in, I became extremely shocked by the realization that it WAS, in fact my birthday. It literally snuck up on me without me knowing anything about it. Sure, my parents mentioned it a week prior, but my senses were spent on waiting for my shipping date. I was also working the remaining amount of my attention away the past few weeks, so even if I had a million reminders, I still wouldn’t have kept up with the date.
Honestly, I couldn’t care less if anyone celebrated my birthday. I say that now after my family prepared to celebrate, but I’m serious. The years that I was only given a gift bag and a pat on the back was perfect for me. In my opinion, I favored those sorts of occasions more than the times where we’d have a party at my grandmother’s… That whole thing about me being around too many people in one setting made the entire thing unsettling to me. I was only 9 years old when my family would host things like that for my brother and I (he was born the 8th, so 3 years and 364 days after me, roughly), but the tension was still real. I prefer the confines of my room or my basement, even during my birthday.
Even so, I appreciate the fact that Tori remembered my birthday. Sure, Facebook probably sent out an alert to all of my “internet friends” this morning and she just so happened to still be awake to see it, but it’s still nice. I cherish all the little things she’s done for me, like this… I do so much, in fact, I tend to feel a little too thankful for it in a way… Taking all of those small acts of kindness and appreciation as a sign that she’s interested in me. You know, that sort of stuff. Anyway, I got the message and simply stood in place for a moment. I hadn’t realized that I messaged her earlier that day asking if we could hang out one last time before I left, so I was still trying to process why she’d suddenly send me a MESSAGE. I mean, she could have easily posted something that would have been public… But a message?
Here I go, over analyzing things again. I’ll stop.
Long message chain short, I expressed how grateful I was of her wishing me well on my birthday, which turned into a few minutes of… How we used to talk. Never mind all the confusing emotions and hearts that moaned and ached for relief… I greatly enjoyed the chance to separate my feelings from the conversation we had, and just talk together as good friends. Even if it was for a few minutes before she headed off to bed, it was quite a relief for me. In those moments, I was able to understand that I will feel fine about talking to Tori again in the future. After all of this nonsense cools down and I’m settled in the military lifestyle, I will have no problem with talking to her without bringing up the past or the feelings I had for her then. No regret behind my sighs, no tension underneath my laughter and each inhale of air… I can see it being like how things were during band; light and free… Innocent and not burdened with barriers we both put up against the other. The temptation to sweet talk her will be all but alive, and the hope to have her as mine has already dissipated…
It’ll just be a friend talking to a good friend. Yeah, that’ll be nice…
Well, I don’t feel so horrible anymore. I’m starting to regret the entire idea writing her this elaborate final letter, like I just got done writing. Maybe I’ll keep the original copy, then have an edited (effectively less harsh version) to send her the morning I ship out. I’ll have the one with the emotion and hurt, and she’ll have the edit with my concluding words… Eh, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see when I take her out next Sunday.
Besides that, I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do to prepare for that fateful date ahead. I have a few boxes downstairs to use for the rest of my civilian clothing, technology, and other things that can be shipped to my duty station when I get that far along. After that, I’ve got to buy a few essential toiletries in travel sizes, because they don’t allow anything else on a plane (damn you, 9/11)… But, both tasks are only going to take a few hours. After that, it’ll just be up to the wait.
That cruel, agonizing wait.