Where to even begin!?
Let's reminisce about Christmas for a moment. Going home these last few times has been an interesting experience, especially since both of my parents are still unemployed. In fact, it's quite depressing. I've been praying for a good while now that something will come along for them but it hasn't yet. It's hard to see your parents so down and out. Christmas is even more tough because, unfortunately, it's turned into a holiday of such excessive spending. And despite what I told them, my parents still went overboard with me. I wish they didn't feel they needed to do that. Christmas Eve was a good time. Sam was supposed to visit (since she wasn't able to fly home to Iowa) but she ended up coming down with something and couldn't make the trip. I was sad that she would be spending Christmas sick and alone in Greenville but there wasn't much I could do. Trish, Robbie, and the kids came down, bringing their new Chihuahua puppy, Fancy. If only Rubie could have made it, they might have been the best of friends. Grandma was there too, of course. We ate dinner, opened gifts, and played Wii. I was having such a good time that I momentarily forgot about everything that was on my mind. James had recently told me that guys were having a difficult time getting flights when trying to go home on leave. Of course, this terrified me and my mind instantly went to the worst case scenario. I pictured him being delayed so long that I had to be back in Greenville before he finally made it home. So that fear had been weighing heavily on me. In fact, on Christmas Day, it was all I could think about. I'm ashamed to say that I was quite the Scrooge. It didn't help that it was pouring rain. All I felt like doing was lying about and any bit of Christmas cheer was wasted on me. Very unlike me, I was happy when the day was over. Then, I didn't feel guilty about being in such a bad mood.
Fast forward a few days later... My mom's side of the family was over. That evening, James called me on Skype and, thanks to borrowing my mom's computer speakers, I heard the call even though I was in another room. It's a good thing too because he ended up asking me if I'd pick him up at the airport when he arrived on January 29th. I was THRILLED. This was way earlier than I'd expected to see him. Not to mention the fact that, a couple months ago, he wasn't keen on the idea of anyone picking him up at the airport. Now, he not only wanted me there, he wanted to stay in Raleigh that night, just the two of us. I was on a cloud for the rest of the evening.
For the next two days, I was a ball of nerves. Excitement too, of course. All these scenarios kept running through my head about how it would be when I first saw him. And as it turns out, I didn't have to pick him up at the airport at all. That Sneaky Pete took an earlier flight and was at a hotel in Raleigh (the Clarion, at which we have much history) before I'd even left my house. When he called to tell me, I flew out of there like a bat out of Hell. It took all I had not to speed the entire way. And when I saw him...it felt like I'd just seen him yesterday. He stepped off the elevator in a white t-shirt and shorts, the only clothes he had aside from his uniform (too bad it was freezing), and it was as though the last 5 months didn't even happen. I squealed and ran at him...how nice it was to kiss him again and feel my arms around him. It just didn't seem real. The whole night was like that. I just kept looking at him because I couldn't believe he was actually there. We both agreed that the time he'd been gone was a blur. It was a very special night...I wish we could have just stayed in that moment. Because after that night, everything began to change.
The next day, we left Raleigh for Denton, where his parents live. That's where we'd be staying for the following 2 weeks. A lot took place during those 2 weeks and it just isn't feasible for me to record everything here (or I'd be typing forever). So, for the highlights... I did some things I never thought I'd do...like shoot a rifle AND a pistol, throw a tomahawk, and go squirrel hunting (though we didn't actually see any). I was pretty much one of the boys for 2 weeks, spending lots of time with James and his two brothers, Michael and Jason. I also got to know his parents much better and realized how amazing they both are. Unfortunately, things weren't going so well between James and I. For the sake of his privacy, I won't go into much detail here but I'll suffice it to say that he had changed a lot over those 5 months. It's funny because, that first night he was home, I was relieved that he was just the same old James. But that was just because the changes hadn't had a chance to reveal themselves. Practically living with him for 2 weeks, however, allowed plenty of time for me to see them.
To make a very long story short, James and I broke up a few days after he returned to Afghanistan. It was a decision I struggled with day and night until I was confident enough to take action. I weighed the pros and cons, I talked and talked and talked with friends...but part of me thinks all that wasn't even necessary because my gut knew what needed to happen. I haven't been the one to end many relationships and this one was especially complicated. There's a lot involved when your significant other is in Afghanistan, even after you do break up. Regardless of what happened between James and I, I loved him (intensely) for 9 months. That doesn't just stop. And, unfortunately, neither does the worrying. Even though he and I haven't talked much during the times he's been online since the break up, it still soothes me to see him on because I know he's safe. I still care about him very much and I wish things could have turned out differently. He's a good man...in a bad situation.
And that should bring you up to speed...at least in the realm of my romantic life. I'll be writing again shortly about school issues, my general take on life at the moment, and the like. ;-)