There were moments this summer, when I never wanted the season to end. I was struck by the recollection of that feeling tonight, as I talked to Samantha on the phone. "Things are winding down here. I don't know...after all this time thinking about getting back to San Diego, I guess I'm looking forward to leaving." As I said this, I was standing on the lush, green rugby field next to our house, which also lies adjacent to the Newport Harbor. My eyes rested on the horde of gorgeous yachts and sailboats that fill the glassy waters of the harbor, and I smiled to myself into the phone, thinking about how I take for granted and don't take for granted, the scenery to which a Naval spouse is privy, even if the part of the price is being alone without being single, for certain periods of time. Deployments lasted six to seven months when I moved out to California to be with MB. Now nine months is the norm. Even when we lived in San Diego, and he wasn't deployed, he still had to be underway overnight. The longest underway period last for three weeks. But I do get to live by the ocean. Whichever ocean.
So I said "I look forward to leaving," and I looked out over the water and thought about how much I've loved being in Newport. How beautiful it is here. It's lovely, really. Samantha said, when I told her how nice it will be to live in the same city as Rebecca again, "It must be hard to not have close friends nearby [in Newport]," and she was right and wrong. Newport is where friends from before became even better friends. And now they are people I actually like and care about, as opposed to "people with whom I get along with well enough to spend up my time." And now we will be parting. The other day I talked with Heather about how literally all of the people I became close to in the Navy - people I spent time with this summer - are moving to different parts of the country. San Diego is a large port. How is it that none of my people will be moving to San Diego? And yet, I get Rebecca back. I get San Diego back. I loved it here, but I'll be happy to leave. I'm not happy to leave friends. I'm not happy for friends to leave me. I loved being here, but I'm happy to go anyway. I will miss these friends. Being happy to leave and always missing people just the same. That is Navy life, I think.
Maybe it's too soon to talk now about how things are winding down. After all, our time here will be six months total, and to date, we've only reached three and a half. But the second half of May felt like an entire month. And the month of June felt more like two. August was gone in a breath. But our time in Virginia seems like it ended a year ago. I'm taking a trip soon, which will shorten my time in Newport by a week. Then my mother and two to three aunts will visit for the first 11 days of October. On the 12th of October, I have another half marathon to run. ...And after that, only a little more than a month until we leave for San Diego. Time will go by fast. I want it to. That is, I want it to, until I think about how we will leave Liz, Francois and Lk without knowing when we'll see them again. But I learned four years ago that unless you are satisfied with spending your whole life within the same 100 square miles - as I am not - you have to learn how to leave people. And how to accept the idea of spending a lot of money on plane tickets. True fact: despite how much doing so elongates the amount of time we must spend paying off debt, I haven't regretted one plane ticket I bought that enabled me to spend time with friends/family. Not one ticket, not by even a little.
Samantha and I hadn't had a long conversation, not by phone or email or Skype, since I'd moved to Newport and she had her twin babies. Since May. Me, because I had an emotionally topsy turvy summer and I didn't know how to talk about it with my old friends, and her because she had newborn twin babies. As time went by, I felt more and more guilty about our lack of communication. And when we finally talked this evening, I reacted like a little kid who doesn't cry after falling until they see their parent come into view. After the "how are yous," I said "I can't believe we haven't talked for so long," my voice choking with tears. It was a relief to hear her say she's been too busy to feel neglected. It is a relief to have old friends who are your old friends no matter what. No matter the time or distance. It makes the ephemera of Naval life bearable.
Already a group of people will be leaving in less than two weeks. Back in June, when I thought about the third week of September, I would feel sick and sad. But that was before the weather changed. Certainly when you're laying on a towel in the sand under the sun and it's 80 degrees outside and there's nothing in the world to make you feel anything but peaceful and euphoric, thinking of change is dreadful. Onward to the middle of September, and we haven't turned on our air conditioner in days. I'm cold when I wake up in the morning. And I probably spent more time in the sun this summer than was good for me. Even though I meticulously applied sunscreen. It's just strange how much I wanted the seasons to change last year, when we arrived in Virginia, and it had been so hot for so many months. I embraced Autumn. This year, I dreaded Autumn. I wanted the heat and sunshine to last forever. But I doubt the weather breached 70 degrees F all day today, and I kept glancing outside at the cloudy sky and feeling somber. Yes, I do want these remaining days to move by swiftly. If it's going to be cold here, I mean.