"Mom....I'm leaving... wake up."
I kept my eyes closed... if I did, I could pretend I was still dreaming, and it was one of those stupid melatoinin dreams... where you get new phones and everything you've heard during the day seeps into your nocturnal fluttering flashes of colour and sound.
He lay down next to me....
"Mom, I've got to catch the train."
I started to cry, after I swore to him I wouldn't. He cuddled me close, the way I used to hold him.
"Mom, I'll see you in December, it's only six months... I swear, I'm coming back. I promise you."
He was sweaty from packing in a hot room with just a fan on him... I could hear his heart pounding. His big hands patted my back.
"Oh, Mom. I love you forever."
"You stay here, okay? Keep your eyes closed, and stay here."
I tried... at the last minute, the last nanosecond, I jumped up and came in the room as he had the door opened to go...
"If anything happens, I will be so far up George Bush's ass, when he brushes his teeth, he'll be combing my hair."
His laugh boomed out.
"Yeah, I know... that's why I know I'm coming back. I don't want you on every front page in the country."
I stood at the window and waited for the door buzzer.... I could hear him talking to someone, it was the super...
"Hey, man, you headed over?"
"Buddy, you be careful, you hear? Thanks for what you guys are doing."
"JARHEAD!!! I love you forever."
He turned around. "Like you for always"
We did the rest of it.
And he walked out the gate, strong... proud...
My countdown begins.