There are a lot of things that go hand in hand with army life. Long working hours. Having loads of khaki items lying about the house. Spending time away from home.
For people in a relationship, i.e. me and my boyfriend, this means lots of saying goodbye. Lots of airports. Lots of suitcases in car boots and watching the other one drive away.
During our relationship we’ve faced a few goodbyes, some as small and some a lot bigger. This week we faced a pretty big one.
You’d think that by now we’ve have this whole saying goodbye thing down pat, but it was still sad and difficult.
No matter how many times we do it, saying goodbye will always be hard. Because it’s not a ‘see you soon’ or ‘until Monday’, it’s a goodbye. It means that for quite a whole our lives are going to be separate. That one little word carries the weight and the anticipation of weeks alone, the knowledge that after that final kiss we are going to have to walk away from each other.
And knowing that after a few weeks we will be back together again doesn’t make it any better.
Our goodbye this week was a little bit different. Usually he leaves from home, so I’m able to beg for one last hug and a longer kiss, but this time I left him at the front gate of the army base.
Our goodbye was short and warm. Three little kisses, long hugs, and him telling me to be brave and look after the cat. Lots of ‘I love you’s. No time for tears.
I think it was my favourite goodbye by far, if favourite is the right word for it. It was the only goodbye we’ve had that made me feel like I can handle the next few weeks. Because I can be brave, and I can look after the cat. That I can do.
And after six weeks of being brave and looking after the cat he’ll be home, and I’ll be meeting him at the front gate for a long, warm hello.