After a little bit of convincing, we ended up going to the movies that night. Watching a movie about a conscientious objector in World War II... Now here's the thing, both of us are Marines, and while we were watching and kind of joking around seeing a our own jobs on the big screen, pointing out the gear that we use...we neglected to face one simple fact. Somewhere down the road, one of us will have to go.
We didn't talk about it, but seeing men with limbs blown off, and the fireman carries, body drags... things that we've done before but never really cared about - it started to hit a nerve.
That night turned into one of our more difficult but eye-opening experiences. It was the first time in a long time that I spoke to God...and He answered within minutes.
When we went to sleep that night, those scenes were still in my head. What would happen if I was in that situation? Would I have that same selfless courage? Would I be able to leave everyone I love back home? I didn't know that it was in her mind too.
She woke up in tears. I heard her in my sleep and immediately woke up, wrapping my arms around her. "Are you okay?" She just kept repeating, "nightmare". I didn't have to ask what it was since she was checking to see that I had all my fingers, arms, legs....that there were no bullet holes. "I can't lose you." I tried to convince her that she wouldn't. Tried to tell her that everything would be okay and that the worst wouldn't happen. But what did I know? I can't tell the future... I was trying my best to keep some kind of positivity. But it quickly faded when I looked at her and saw the tears. Whatever she dreamed that night, she had felt.
I tried to think back on what higher ranking Marines had told me in the past. What had my Staff Sergeants said...Gunnery Sergeants... First Sergeants... they had to have said something that I could touch on to help me ease her pain. But I realized that I couldn't...how could I ease that fear when I had the same fear myself?
We would talk about our future, how big our puppy would be, how we would have the perfect wedding and our families would get along great. We talked about some perfect idea of life but we knew that life isn't always perfect. We promised to be there for each other no matter what happened. To remain faithful to each other and talk to each other. We both had failed relationships in the past and we both didn't want that pain to happen again.
However, there was a very real reality that we neglected to pay attention to. What would we do if the angels weren't on our side? What would we say to our families? How would one of us pay the bills? School? What would happen?
She wasn't the only one with the nightmare that night. I've had that nightmare for a long time.
"Why did you have to have this job? Why one of the more dangerous jobs? Why?"