CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO
I became a smoker in someone’s eighteen-wheeler. There isn’t much else to do when you hitchhike. You might as well smoke. I was good at it until eight years later when I met Joe at a bar in Tokyo. A week after Joe, I quit smoking and started running. I ran outside. I ran on a treadmill. I ran to Britney Spears. I ran races. And I fell in love with that rascally Joe.
Then I left Japan for the first time. I left full. Spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, cloth napkins and checkered tablecloth kind of full. I had worked hard, thinned out, traveled and met my lump of sugar. I had done some growing in Tokyo.
For all that, Japan continues to tug politely at my heart strings. When we had the chance to come to Okinawa, I was giddy. There were rainbows and exclamation points everywhere. I wanted me some more Japan time. And, ta-da, here we are. I have loved it up and down.
Our time here is almost over and I’m ready for it be over. Except that I’m not ready for it to be over. Our orders have not materialized so the possibility of leaving at the end of April is dwindling. And while I want to go home and be home and share the boys, I don’t want to leave that soon. Or ever. I want both worlds at the same time is all. Not an option.
Instead, I imagine leaving could happen in two different ways.
Here’s the first plan.
I leave with the man-boys and the dog-boy at the end of April. Joe puts me on the plane before he deploys again. We will have packed out of our house. Joe will be in some bachelor quarters and who knows where our cars will be. Not sure if we have to get rid of those in order to get tickets. I take our housing allowance and find a place while staying with family.
The boys and I don’t have to deal with another deployment.
I have to travel alone.
I have to find a place and a car without Joe.
We’re asking a lot of our families.
Here’s the second plan.
I stay put and wait for Joe to come home by the beginning of July. We pack out together. We fly home together. We see family together. We look for a house together. We buy a car together.
We could do it all together.
We could stay in Okinawa a little longer.
The boys and I will have to go through another deployment.
The heat might make it impossible to take Maltsby with us so we’d have to pay someone to fly him home.
I’ll need to find a new school for Eli since his ends in two weeks.
I could miss my cousin’s wedding.
What would you do?
Talk to me like a toddler except maybe without the raised voice. I can take it.
For posterity’s sake we have left this universally euphoric, terrified, confused, “what am I doing?!” series on Okinawa Hai. However, we have closed comments for future readers. If there is relevant information for all readers to benefit from, we have taken elements from this series and created new posts, which we’ve linked to from the original text. Thank you for joining us on this ride.