Original Post Date: August 2008.
My trip to Reno was everything I imagined it to be. We drove through what seemed the endless cornfields of Kansas and into beautiful Colorado.
The snowy topped mountains reached above the horizon in the far off distance, appearing protected by a seamless blue fog. I, however, have one complaint of this trip. Due to its high elevation my daily headaches had progressed to a constant state of being. At the time I was sure they would subside with hope and a lot of Tylenol. And after a few days they did return back to their normal state.
Once we arrived in Reno, my husband and I moved in to our new apartment without delay. It was quite a change from what we were used to. We moved from a three bedroom 1700 square foot duplex in to a two bedroom 950 square foot apartment. There is no other way to paint the difference for you accept to give the measurements. With that being said however, the air of the new city and home left us feeling new and hopeful, even excited. After all we had become community members of “the biggest little city in the world”.
We moved across the nation and started over fresh in a brand new environment. One that allowed us to breath without wondering who will turn that simple breath of fresh air in to something more like the inhale of a piece of rolled paper stuffed with tobacco. We moved to a place of encouraging and positive atmosphere for us to forgive and move away from the ghosts of our past. It did not take long for us to gain new friends. I found a job working for a private swim school and it paid well. For once a job that offered incentives. Life was becoming gratifying.
In my attempts to be a good wife and artist I picked up a few hobbies: cooking and painting. I discovered many ways to season chicken and even baked doughnuts from scratch.
I finished my first painting ever.
I started working on my novel again. Things were really picking up and I was becoming the person I wanted to be.
My husband and I started spending real quality time together. Mostly trying to get to know each other again. It’s funny how we forget or lose track of who our loved ones really are. We took a trip to Virginia City, “a step back into time”.
Virginia City used to be a huge mining town in which millions of dollars in gold was dug up. Now it’s a tourist site. It’s a beautiful place and had it not been for the modern clothes on my back I would have believed I was back in time. We started on weekly walks with the dogs to the local Sparks Marina Dog Park. The park has water access for dogs, which I found they enjoy.
May and June came and gone. The summer in the mountains and dirt of Nevada was really beginning to heat up. In late May or early June a large forest fire broke in California. Due to Reno’s close proximity to California, we caught wind of the smoke. There were days when my drive to work was interrupted by the thick fog-like smoke. The air had a constant stench in which I can’t find the words to describe. However, by July most of it was cleared away.
In July, something occurred that was long overdue. My husband was finally promoted to Sergeant. It was something I felt he deserved long ago. But then I am his wife and probably a bit biased. That day made me so proud. I was privileged to pin his new rank in to his uniform. There are some things one gets to experience by being a military spouse that others couldn’t imagine doing. To promote your own spouse. Wow! Everyone gathers around and while they stand at attention in a way of respect you get to be an integral part of such a proud moment in your spouse’s life. All I can say is it is amazing.
Needless to say, things were working out really well in Reno. But there was still a void within me, my craving for knowledge. I was given the opportunity to finish school. After a few weeks of thinking it over, my husband and I agreed I would go back to St. Louis and finish school where I started it. I know in my heart the only reason he agreed was because he knew I was going to go and he knew it was what I really wanted. And I am incredibly thankful for his understanding. I know I don’t tell or show him that enough. And I am even more grateful that I don’t have to because he already knows.
On with the story, July came to an end rather quickly, and August came rushing full speed at me. The anticipation of going back to school was weighing on me while my nerves were really stirring up. The thought of leaving at such an amazing time in our lives together was very difficult for me to partake in. But I also knew we have made it through so much together already and that we will make it through this. Then there was the thought of going back to school. I had been out of school for a couple years and was feeling very nervous about whether I could do it. Questions ran through my head as a nightly ritual, wondering if my brain was still capable of learning. And even then I was to be swimming again. I wondered how I would survive going back to swimming and school at the same time. I thought all this up so much that I almost backed out. My husband, I’m sure would have welcomed that thought in a heartbeat. But I didn’t back out.
August 20 was a day that approached at a very fast pace. My husband and I spent as much time together as we could. I think we even started to fight a little. I know now it was just nerves on both our parts. That’s what happens when we stress over something. We find ourselves using our loved ones as our way of letting it out. Before I knew it my husband was pulling my luggage from the back of the car and placing it on the sidewalk, trying not to show me how sad he really was. It is another thing I am grateful for. If he had shown me I might not have had the courage to step on the plane that day. We hugged and kissed for a moment. I don’t think he could take much more and shortly after making sure I was ok he took his leave. I stood in line to the car side luggage drop off and watched as my last sight of him disappeared.
“Ma’am. You’re ticket please. Ma’am?” With those words I wiped the tears that settled in the corners of my eyes away and handed the man my ticket. Once my baggage was checked I made my way in to the terminal, through the security check line, and sat down at the gate.
In the 45 minutes or so that I had to wait I experienced a transition within myself. Even though the moment before left me feeling incredibly sad, I started to feel excited. It had been way too long since I had last done something for myself. And here I was taking a huge leap into my future and my dreams. I couldn’t help but be excited.
Once on the plane, I took my seat next to the window and took in my final views of the place I knew I would come back to soon. As the plane took off I stared out the window trying to find the place I called home for the last few months and realized that as long as that is where my husband is then it will always be my home.