So long, soldier
Last night was Dan Shofner's last night at home before leaving for basic training today; he's going into the Navy, and nuclear school, and hopes to work on a nuclear sub. I called him to say goodbye & to ask him to take good care of himself.
Several years ago, when we were still dating, I dreamt that he went into the Navy. But it was during a full-blown war, and the dream was itself set in the 1940s. In it, I was saying goodbye to him on a train platform; the train was stopped, steaming and whistling, next to us; it, and the platform and the air, were all a dusty, faded tan. He was in full uniform, also tan, even the hat, and had only one square sleek black bag of things in one hand. I held his face and told him goodbye, knowing that it would be the last time I ever saw him, tears uncontrollably rolling down my face. I didn't tell him this knowledge, and he didn't understand why I was so upset, and awkwardly (vainly) tried to comfort me. I couldn't tell him that I knew he was going to a war from which he wouldn't come home. In the dream, I woke up before he got on the train. But even now, I can feel his head in between my palms as I held it so tightly.
I didn't tell him about this dream on the phone last night. At first I was sad that I missed his last day at home - he actually ended up having to leave earlier than expected; otherwise, I would have caught him - but now, I think it might be okay. Saying goodbye in person would have been too much like the dream; it would have felt almost like somehow jinxing him. Saying goodbye over the phone like this sort of broke its charm. Though I'll still keep his safety in my heart.
[And still, I haven't written about the Islam & Middle East galleries! I still want to; other stuff just butts in - maybe the third time's the charm, like they say...]