Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On Being Discharged

While my father has spent about half his life in the armed forces, I have spent my entire life identifying myself, quite proudly, as an Air Force brat.  On those grounds, I contend that Dad's upcoming retirement is much more difficult for me than it is for him.  He sent me this e-mail in the wee hours:

Yawning, more than ready to go to bed, and the clock reminds me that, as of this moment, you are no longer my dependent.

 I loved having you as such for almost 23 years.

 I love you!

And then there were three…


Which is, aside from genuinely sweet, deeply depressing, for it reminds me -- as if I needed the reminder -- that my last dependent military I.D. expired yesterday, thus severing me from an entire sphere of the world that has heretofor been my home.  No longer can I freely move between military and civilian life, nor shall I ever again inhale the sweetness of a base exchange, except as a guest on someone else's I.D., or casually lay eyes upon a tarmac of gray-bellied beasts on my way home.

A moment of silence for my way of life, please.

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