Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Letter

"Pursuant to Presidential Executive order of 14 Sep 2001, you are relieved (haha!) from your present reserve status and ordered to report for a period of Active Duty . . . . not to exceed 545 days, unless extended or terminated by proper authority". Those words turned an ordinary day upside down and threw my quasi-normal life out the window.

It was about a week before Thanksgiving, and at the time I was still working night shift. I typically slept during the day when I worked nights, and when Rache came home with Chester, he'd sprint upstairs to lick my face and wake me up, and Rache would give me a kiss hello. Today though, Rachael sat on the edge of the bed and started to cry (Chester, unaware anything was wrong, continued to lick my face). She handed me a large yellow envelope marked overnight priority from the Department of Defense. Now I was worried, because the Army never actually pays to send you anything. Inside was a folder with some info, and a one page sheet that looked very familiar - official DA orders. I read the 1st line (quoted above) and my heart sank, and I felt a strange pain like someone had just kicked me in the balls.

After about 10 minutes where Rachael sobbed on my shoulder and I yelled disbelieving profanities, we settled down enough to call our parents and break the news. Poor Chester didnt know what the hell was going on, so he kept a timid distance for a while. That was a tough night, and I knew there were going to be many more. I called my boss and told him I wouldnt be in the rest of the week, and being an ex-82nd Airborne guy and a friend, he understood. So Rache and I got drunk, cried with our parents (yes, I cried for the 1st time in about 10 years), and went to sleep hoping we'd wake up and this would be a bad dream. Unfortunately, it wasnt.

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