|ON NEW CHAPTERS, AGAIN • 03.17.16 |
My sleeping habits rival that of a teenage boy, which works in my favor when my husband is up before the sun. The hum of the coffee pot, the rustling of the closet hangers, the deafening squeak the ironing board makes when it opens, not even the beeping of the security system being armed can lure me from my slumber.
Until it can.
It happened just once, a few months ago, my mind suddenly aware of his presence in the room well before my own alarm went off. I was in no state to have a coherent conversation, for what it's worth, but I was conscious, which is more than I can say about most mornings at 5 a.m.
"It's okay," I heard him say as I began to stir. "I'm getting ready to leave. Go back to sleep."
I nodded in agreement, my eyes still closed as he walked around to my side of the bed. He bent down to kiss my forehead and I reached up to wrap my arms around him. As my hands clasped together against his back, I had only one thought.
What is that?
His training involved a great deal of physical fitness, but no back muscle could possibly be that solid. Right? Surely I would've noticed it before now. Yet here he was, an impenetrable mass from his shoulder blades to his waist. It felt more like steel than muscle, to be honest.
I suddenly realized oh, yes, the bullet proof vest.
I knew he had one, in theory. I had seen it from time to time, stashed in a corner or tucked away near the back of our closet. I knew he wore it, in theory. I had heard him mention it on occasion while swapping work stories in the evening.
Everything up to that point had been exactly that, though – in theory. All of a sudden, the reality of the situation – of the new chapter that was about to start in our lives – was no longer theoretical.
This is actually happening. The man that I love and adore more than any other human being is now in a position that requires him to wear a bullet proof vest. Every single day.
It was a life-changing hug.
Tomorrow he'll take an oath, an oath to protect and to serve. While the words will differ from the oath he took over seven years ago, his heart remains the same – filled with courage, integrity, selflessness.
A journey more than three years in the making, culminating with months of physical, educational, and tactical training, he'll soon swap the scenarios for the streets, trade the theoretical for the tangible, his life – our life – changed forever.
At least in theory :)