The first memory is of friends showing me a series of pictures of the old gang from when I was out of state. One new face in the group, so naturally graceful that she and she alone looked like she was posed in each of the pictures, looked as if the sunlight treated her a little better than everyone else.
First meeting, left alone, cooking... discussing the probable nutritional value of the fat fly circling the chili.
Ice on Dixie Mountain. The jeep spun around and for a few seconds I thought I could regain control and then we were off the road, the jeep on it's side, my elbow slammed through the side window and she was hanging above me in her seat belt and shoulder harness. The first words out of her mouth were "Are you okay?"
Walking into the gym to check on my old judo team and looking down, thinking "Who is the new blonde? She's gorgeous!" And she turned around... I hadn't realized how quickly her hair bleached in the sun.
Another mistaken identity, seeing a beautiful woman on a bike smoothly and slowly coast on the other side of a parked car. When she got past the card I noticed two things: 1) that it was her and 2) that she was on foot, but moving with such grace that I had mistaken it for coasting on a bicycle.
Sparring with staffs, balanced on railroad tracks. Three times in a row she knocked me off.
Sitting in the corner at a party in Cape Cod, watching as people slowly gathered around her, just basking in her presence.
In a cave, watching her climb and coaching her on hand and footholds beyond her tiny circle of light and suddenly realizing that every single member of the caving party had his head lamp focused directly on her ass.
It took over twenty hours of hard labor to produce our son. When it was over, I fell into an exhausted sleep, even though she was the one who did all the work. I was awakened by a soft rattling as she got herself up to stumble to the bathroom. "What are you doing?" I said. "You looked so tired I didn't want to wake you," she answered.
Coming home from a National guard weekend, bringing a friend for dinner- she met me at the door and hip threw me onto the floor. I counter threw, dragging her down and kissing her. Robert stood at the door, "You two had better never break up. She's gonna kill the next guy she goes out with."
Coming home from Hostage Negotiator training and she meets me at the airport with a dozen roses. Never saw that coming.
Arriving at Rileah for NBC training: "Are you SPC Miller? We have a message for you. You're wife is hemorrhaging and has been taken to the hospital. You're relieved. We'll reschedule." The longest most terrifying drive of my life imagining a world without her.
The first time we were separated for a weekend we spent the next four days in bed, leaving only to shower and order pizza.
Testing a new electrical system at the jail, unsure whether doors would open or close, whether nothing would happen or six hundred inmates would have free access, I called her and asked her to bring my tactical bag. She dropped it off at the door, said "Call me when it's over," and left. No questions, no worries, no cries for attention- perfect trust and faith. The perfect SWAT wife.
So many memories.
So this is for you, K- to the one who has heard all the stories, funny and sad both. Who has held me when I only wanted to sit in the darkness and rock. Loved me when I was dripping with blood and also when the pepperspray wasn't quite washed off. Who keeps me in the world of humans, and tells me when I'm wrong.
"Four minutes? Piece of cake."
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