Are You Really Here?

Pinch me, I must be dreaming. And if I’m dreaming, I don’t want to wake up.

I spent four glorious days with Sean on base. It was wonderful! We watched movies, shopped at the local Wal-mart and PX. Slept late. Did nothing but hang out.

Sean had a nice room on base, not big, but decent. There was a town on each side of the base about a 10 minute drive to go and do a little shopping or get a meal.

Sean had lost about 45 pounds. His face was hollowed out, as was his stomach. He was walking skin and bones. He moved slowly. Most of the time he slept. I watched him sleep. I checked to make sure he had a pulse and was breathing. He seemed to have pain no matter what time of day it was. It was hard to see him in that shape. I could put my arms around his waist and touch my hands to my elbows on the opposite sides.

As happy as I was to be with him, I also knew it would be over too soon. I was due back at work on Monday. On Sunday I called my principal and told him that I just could not leave. He arranged for a sub again on Monday so that I could stay one more night.

When it was time to leave on Monday, we were both very somber. I dropped him off in the hospital parking lot and tried to put on a brave face. He did the same. Of all the times we had said goodbye, this was the worst. The absolute most horrible of goodbyes. Sean was tired, sick, and depressed and I let him out of the van and I DROVE AWAY.

I drove away and left him behind. Somewhere that he did not want to be. A place that was not treating him well. I cried most of the way home.

I still cannot find the words to describe the ache in my chest that I was leaving him behind. It was one thing to put him on a plane, or see him drive away. But this time, I left him there. What an awful, lonely day that was for us.


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