Today is November 12, 2010. For those of you just going through a normal day, November 12th happens to be mine and hubby's anniversary. From here on out, hubby shall be forevermore known as Gorgeous. Hot Stuff is already taken. So today is mine and Gorgeous's anniversary. Yay! Five years ago we did something a lot of people didn't think we were going to make it to, and many others tried actively to stop from happening.
Our story is rife with a lot more drama than any relationship should be, and today you guys are going to get a taste of it.
Six years ago, in early July, I hauled my skinny little butt to Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin (along with a dozen or so fellow soldiers from my unit). We were all attached to a Civil Affairs unit from Syracuse, NY that was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in late August/early September. Ft. McCoy was the place for all of us to meet up and train together before going to Ft. Bragg and eventually Kuwait.
In addition to training was mandatory fun. Anyone in the military should know how common this is. The higher ups like the soldiers to bond as much as possible (it makes sense), so they insist we all go out together for barbecues, whatever. Well, our first mandatory fun night was at the only bar on Ft. McCoy called...can you guess? McCoy's! I had made some friends from the new unit (403d) and was hanging out with one in particular that night. After trying to teach me (and failing) how to throw darts, we tried out bowling, and then settled down at a table with his friends.
I must admit I was a tad uncomfortable at the table. I was a SPC and everyone else besides my friend was SGT and above. Being fresh out of AIT (advanced individual training), which is essentially the same as basic training only more advanced, I was a little nervous of NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers). A SSG, who happened to be a very nice, outgoing guy, probably noticed I was a little uncomfortable so he introduced himself and asked me what my name was. We were in civilian clothes, so instead of giving him my last name, I told him my first. I tell you all this because if I had said my last name like he was expecting, the conversation likely would have ended there.
So when I answered him with "Emily" instead of "Dickinson," he kind of reared back in shock and laughed. It was then he decided to tease me and ask me if I wanted children. I told him I needed to be married first, to which he answered, "Who are you going to marry?" I said I hadn't met anyone yet. His answer: "How about SGT White?" And he pointed to the guy sitting next to him. This was pretty much the first time I noticed SGT White. Yeah, I'd seen him around and even talked to him once, but when this SSG humiliated me by saying that right in front of him (getting his attention, by the way), I noticed just how attractive he was (which made the humiliation worse).
The next day, I decided to woo him. No, not because I had plans to marry him, but because he was VERY attractive. I didn't really think we had a chance at a relationship because he was a SGT and I was a SPC, but I was at a point in my life where I liked it when men were attracted to me.* My initial steps worked for the most part, but he was--out of everyone--the busiest guy there, having to drive the Officers around, so he was a little naive of anything else going on around him. So one day, I let it slip to one of my female friends that I had a crush on him, knowing she'd let it slip to him.
After a few days of trying to get to know each other, we started dating. And then the poopy hit the fan because at the NEXT mandatory fun day, we hung out exclusively. Everyone knew then that we were together. 98% of the NCOs and 100% of the Officers were against this. We were told our time together outside of training would be restricted (and even during training they made sure we weren't anywhere near each other). If we ate meals together, we were to sit with at least one other person. If we went to the supply building to watch a movie at the end of the day, someone else HAD to go with us. It wasn't that bad. Someone was always willing to tag along. However, it started to get annoying because 1. no one else had these restrictions. NCOs and Enlisted were hanging out with each other all the time without anyone getting into trouble...except us. And 2. when they realized these restrictions didn't break us apart, they got more forceful. Sadly, what they failed to realize was that we were full force into a very serious relationship. Three weeks after we started dating, we were engaged.
But still, they tried to break us up. When we eventually got to Kuwait in preparation to go into Iraq, we were told that we would no longer be in the same company and therefore, not in the same Camp. I was shipped off to Camp Victory in the makeshift company composing of people the BN just wanted to get rid of.
The only time we could see each other was when I was lucky enough to go on a convoy to the International Zone the same time SGT White went to the International Zone. It happened about three times over nine months. The first was during a memorial for a fallen soldier from our BN--obviously not a happy reason to be seeing each other.
This is us in the International Zone (also known as Green Zone to civilians--trust me, it's not Green. Green means safe. There are sections of the International Zone where you don't walk because they haven't been cleared yet)
The other times we saw each other it was because we were sneaky. Camp Victory is attached to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport), and one must go through BIAP when one goes on leave. :D I might have commandeered a HMMWV (and yes, that's the proper spelling. Not Humvee) to pick him up so we could hang out before someone from his company came to get him. By commandeered, I mean I talked my roommate into letting me use her team's vehicle. I didn't actually steal anything.
When we returned to the U.S., everyone was shocked we were still together. Deployments had destroyed longer relationships in the past. But we were serious about each other, and when they saw this, they left us alone. Of course, the deployment was over and I don't think they cared anymore.
We returned to our homes (mine in WNY, his in CNY) in July and married each other that November. Since then, we've had two kids and five wonderful years together. I love Gorgeous more than I could ever express. God blessed me more than I will ever deserve when He put us together.
I just like this one. :P
Thanks for letting me share our story with you! Have a great weekend, everyone!
*I feel like I need to defend myself here. I'd gone through a pretty rough childhood in school. I'm not going to go into it too much, but let's just say out of all my characters, I empathize with Lilly from MORCAH the most. In college (and $6,000 of orthodontal work later), I was treated differently from ever before. I was still kind of living on that high when I was deployed and liked being able to attract men.