Saturday, August 15, 2009

They're Leaving

She's saying goodbye for only a while to her fiancee. He's patting his son on the back but he dare not open his mouth to speak. She watches as her brother puts his enormous pack with all the gear on his back. The young woman over there, the one with the amazing blue eyes holds the hands of her fiancee. They are both assigned to Afghanistan but at different ends of the country.

This group is going down range tonight. They've been waiting in the hanger as the final clearance is performed for the aircraft that will fly them to Germany. The Sgt. has passed out the medication they will be taking daily throughout the deployment. The predictable joking is heard as the bottles are passed to the individuals to whom they are assigned. She popped the top and a handful of pills spilled. No one will admit to the anxiety that is thick enough in the hanger it could be cut like cheese.

The Dfac (dining facility) provides a last hot meal - roast beef, baked potatoes and rice, green beans, salad with choice of dressings. There is fruit - apples, oranges and for the first time since I've been eating at the Dfac there are peaches and plums. Packaged cookies, snack bars and a variety of chips are also offered. The food might not be haute cuisine it is basic, familiar and the troops are encouraged to take multiple servings to get them through the 18 hours (or more) of travel time.

My instructions to myself for this deployment: Focus on this moment here. Don't think about when the plan may be ready. Don't focus on where the troops are going. Just stay present. Breathe.

No comments:

Post a Comment