One of my resolutions this year is to write more, and to help accomplish that I am participating in a daily writing challenge. Today's challenge was to write your happiest memory. There were a good handful of memories to pick from, including my wedding day and the moment I became a mom (which I have written about many times), but I wanted to try something a little different. Please comment; I would love to know what you think!
The sun was just beginning to make its appearance over the harbor and already the day was hotter than any I had ever experienced. My thin cotton sundress was stuck to my skin, and I could feel the sweat pooling in every imaginable place on my body. Moments earlier I had stared in the mirror, fixing my hair just so and now it sat angrily on my shoulders in damp, frizzy strands. My feet were swollen and sore, and my hands were white from wringing in anticipation.
None of it really mattered. The heat, the pain, the unkempt appearance. All that mattered was the horizon. I kept my eyes peeled and waited, as patiently as was possible for a moment like this. Minutes felt like years as men and women piled off the small boat and onto the dock. Each boat carried a full load of passengers, but it was a mere fraction of the 5,000 people who were waiting to come ashore. Thankfully there were several boats travelling at once, making the journey back and forth, back and forth, but I knew it could take hours before he would arrive. I settled in for the long wait, my heart steadily pounding in my chest.
The aircraft carrier sat still in the distance, firmly grounded to the sea. The sailors were tiny dots, growing larger with each wave. My heart leapt and sunk with each small boat’s arrival. Finally he arrived. Dressed in his khaki uniform, with a bag slung over his right shoulder, my love emerged from the boat and stepped steadily onto the dock. I locked my knees to keep from swooning, and when he approached the waiting area I ran into his arms. Our embrace was sweaty and tight, his lips salty and sweet. I looked into his eyes for the first time since that cold, dark January morning when he had left for what was scheduled to be a three week underway. Then bombs were dropped in Iraq and everything changed. Now here we were, eight months later, embracing in the heat of summer in a foreign land where I never thought I would have the courage to journey. The long separation had forced me to exit my comfort zone and travel halfway around the world alone. It was worth the fear to see his smiling face, to feel his palm in mine.
The happiness of that moment was pure and deep. We only had a few short days together before I would journey home to wait out the final month of deployment. But we had made it this far, and I knew in that moment that we could survive anything.