I was recently thrilled when I learned that my husband’s unit was having a Family Day towards the end of their gunnery. Because my cat is not a good substitute for my regular “NCIS”-marathon-watching partner, I was already counting down the days until my spouse returned. The chance to see him for a couple hours was exciting.
When I imagine it, reuniting with my husband is always a beautiful picture-perfect experience. It involves a lot of slow motion running while my hair billows perfectly behind me, and maybe some dramatic music playing in the background.
In my imagination, we perfectly reenact the iconic V-J Day Times Square kiss and then stroll arm in arm as we discuss the day’s range events.
The practical part of me knows that this is not how it works. In reality, after a week or two in the field, the stench emanating from the whole unit is enough to limit all physical contact to high fives and fist bumps.
When I saw him on this recent Family Day, my husband had just gotten out of a sweltering tank. My first instinct was to hug him, but my arms froze inches from his dust and sweat saturated NOMEX coveralls (I believe the technical term is a “onesie”).
As I stepped closer to examine the growth of his field mustache, I was met with a wave of a week’s worth of body odor. The smell was the result of spending days in the Texas sun and sitting in a metal machine, combined with infrequently changing clothes (I intentionally do not ask how often and he does not volunteer that information).
As we stood in the shade, glancing around periodically for somewhere to sit, I realized that it was probably a good thing we were visiting everyone in the field. This way, even though I am generally not a fan of Public Displays of Affection, I was not tempted to get mushy and clingy.
It was wonderful to see my husband and get a chance to catch up on the past couple weeks. But any burning desires to passionately embrace are going to have to wait until he gets some deodorant.
Magdalene Blocker is a civilian married to a a soldier in the Army. They are currently stationed at Ft. Hood prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.