+Wednesday, February 08, 2006+
This is getting arduous. I'm only partially successfully trying to maintain my patience through this last month, but good God, it's severe. I knew the end would be bad, but I don't think anything could've prepared me for this. The end of the deployment has become, for me, a mirage - every time we get closer to it, a reflection on the ground, a trick of the eyes, it disappears; it moves farther away. I'm beginning to doubt we'll ever reach the point where there will be just 4 weeks left, then 3, 2, 1...we seem to be stuck in limbo in week 5.

It's really difficult to concentrate on anything. I'm sure someone outside the "know" of my situation would think I was suffering from an acute case of ADD. That, or they might think I was on drugs. I can't sit still. I don't care about work or anything else for that matter. Me, the self-proclaimed perfectionist, who makes mistakes on only the rarest of occasions (and not without good excuse) have been finding errors in my work left and right lately with no explanation other than a prolonged visit to la-la land. I live my days from one phone call from Matt to the next (much like I did in the very beginning, but this time not just to hear his voice, but to have the relief of making plans for the next month, to be reminded that his homecoming isn't merely a far-fetched dream anymore).

The first group of guys in Matt's unit have been moved from their barracks into transient tents to wait for their flight out of there. Matt's group won't be far behind - at this point it sounds like it could be a week or two till he's leaving the country (but I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being 3 weeks). I don't even really know what to do with myself anymore because nothing makes time move as fast as I'd like it to - I want to wake up tomorrow and realize it was all just a dream, that Matt is laying next to me, and everything is in order. I want to think I'll rest easy once he's back on U.S. soil, but the truth of the matter is, I'll probably be all the more apprehensive knowing he's so close. It seems exorbitantly unfair that after 400 days we still have 35 (give or take) to go.

Ah, well, I suppose after 3 paragraphs of bitching, an uplifting story is called for, and this made me particularly giddy Monday morning. While it may not be the most gripping happenstance, it amuses me to find God's sense of humor in coincidences such as this one, and as odd as it may seem, happy accidents like this strengthen my belief that Matt is my soul mate - that one person really is made for another (the story didn't get much of a reaction from my test audience - the girlfriends I told it to - so don't be expected a story of a miracle or anything, but I firmly believe it's the little things in life that count).

When Matt first got into Afghanistan, I sent him a lot of mix CDs and if he requested a song that he didn't know the name of, I'd figure it out and burn it for him. I loved being able to find for him songs that he'd particularly liked, and I loved that he "tested" my ability to find them. I used to work at a radio station and considered myself the utmost expert on Name that Tune or Find that Song.

About a year ago (a little less - it was probably about last March), Matt asked me to find a "chariot song" for him. The only "chariot song" that came to mind was "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," but that was not the song he was thinking of - this one was new, rockish, and contained the word "chariot." I asked him to sing me a few lines, but he wouldn't (like any guy wants to break into song in the middle of an MWR phone room), so with nothing more than "a chariot song" as my description, I set out on finding it. Lyrics search engines and Napster returned me with nothing but "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," I'd never heard any song like it, and no matter what I tried, I continually came up empty handed. Finally I gave up, but Matt continued to ask for it - it became a regular thing for him to ask, "Chariot song?" especially when he was asking me to take care of things for him, and eventually morphed into somewhat of an inside joke. After continuous questioning of the "chariot song," I snapped and told him if he couldn't give me any more than "chariot song," I couldn't find it for him. I felt defeated that my talent for finding songs from little more than a few words in the lyrics had failed me. I told Matt that maybe he was imagining things, that maybe there was no such song.

Still, he continued to ask, "Chariot song?" whenever I talked to him - in fact, it's difficult for me to remember a phone conversation in which he didn't ask about the song. I think that's probably about the time it became a joke - when we both gave up on the possibility of finding the song (and I had secretly given up on the existence of such a song).

Monday morning when my alarm went off, I hit snooze. I was cuddled up with Ashes and not quite ready to begin my morning regime, not to mention recently I had started setting my alarm for 5:30 instead of 6:30 to give me more time to get ready - I'm still adjusting to waking up an hour earlier (I bet you can see where this story is going, huh?). When my snooze alarm went off, a song I had never heard before was playing, but the alarm had clicked on the moment the song went into chorus, and it took not even a milisecond for the importance of the song to register. Oh Chariot your golden waves are walking down upon this face... I grabbed up the notepad I keep next to my bed (to write down book requests for Matt when he calls at the wee hours of the morning with them) and started frantically jotting down the lyrics which would make it TONS easier to find the song. No sooner had the song ended than I had it downloaded on my computer (God bless technology).

I was so excited to tell Matt that I had found his song, I couldn't stop grinning all day, and when he called me early Tuesday morning, I told him the story and played the song for him. While I realize it's possible and likely that it's nothing more than just a coincidence, I can't help but think that somehow Fate had a hand in it. It seems too incidental that a song Matt has been bugging me about for 11 months, that I had never heard (or heard of) and could not find, that has become such a regular topic of our conversations that it had become an inside joke between us, just happened to be going into its chorus the moment my alarm went off - and so close to the end of the deployment, which I'm sure has some significance, but I can't quite put my finger on what it might be.

So maybe I've put way too much thought into this - maybe it is just a happy accident - but coincidence or fate, it's little things like this that amuse me and get me through the day. Oh chariot I'm singing out loud to guide me. Give me your strength.

wishing matt was here @ 11:03 AM+

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