Today, I went to Carmel Coffee House, this coffee shop reminds of Italy a lot; the cozy outdoor seating area, the hanging flowers, and the small narrow bath that leads to the courtyard.
I ordered my soy latte and sat down near the jasmine tree. The fragrance of jasmine flowers made me think of Bill, although I think about him all the time.
|Carmel Coffee House and Its Jasmine Tree|
We met when I was translating for the U.S army in Iraq. I was a linguist and Bill was a Sargent with the Marines.
He used to show up, out of nowhere, each time I need help. My printer cartage was running low; he would come and make it work. He was the only one who could start my little green Jeep. It took him less than two weeks to tell me how he felt about me. It was during a Happy Hour, I passed by him as I was going to the ladies room; Bill stood in my way and hugged me in front of everyone. When he finally let go, he said “Don’t be late now,” I assured him, “No. I won’t.”
Bill respected me right from the beginning. I was not just some pretty face to him. I was his other half.
Bill believed in the mission, so did I. Somehow democracy, human rights, and the rule of law meant something to us. We both put our lives on the line promoting these values. So, when he was redeployed to Afghanistan, I supported him and stood by his side. We talked every day, sometimes twice a day or even more. I was working on getting transferred to Afghanistan to be with him, and I finally got the approval.
The date was set and I was ready to go. I wasn’t sure who was happier, Bill or me. During my last night in Baghdad, I didn’t sleep one bit, I kept thinking about Bill the entire night. It was only one month, but it felt like ages.
When the plane finally landed, I couldn’t wait to exit from it. I even bumped into someone. My heart was beating faster than even; it felt like I barely existed, but where was Bill, I couldn’t see him. Instead, I saw Stanly, his buddy.
“Hi, Stanly, where is Bill?” I asked. When I saw the look on Stanly's face, I felt fear was creeping on to me. Stanly was twitching with pain.
“Where is he, Stanly? Answer me,” I demanded nervously.
“He…..” Stanly was looking down.
“Where is he? Damn it, Stanley, where is he?” I was shaking Stanley as I was crying for an answer.
“His convoy was hit, and he didn’t make it,” Stanly said.
“No. No! No!” I was crying hysterically.
I can’t remember what happened after. All I could recall was me lying on some bed in a hospital with an I.V. attached to me.
Without him, it feels like I am a silly character in a dull black and white movie. Somehow when Bill was around, the sky looked bluer, the sun shined all the time, the moon was always full. Bill took all the colors with him.