The Sergeant first went to Iraq in September 2005. The night before he left we sat on the couch in our living room, just being together, and he had a Pepsi. When he finished he did the thing that always irritates me: he put his can on the coffee table instead of in the recycling.
The next day, several hours after he left, I saw the can sitting on the coffee table (not even on a coaster!). He always leaves things for me to clean up after him, I thought. I smiled a tear-filled smile and left the can on the table.
I did the same thing every day for over a month.
If you take care of it, a tiny voice whispered in my mind, he won't be here anymore.
I had a couple friends over to pass out candy on Halloween, and when I was cleaning up the house I finally took care of the Pepsi can.
One stupid little action nearly broke my heart. I cried for about an hour.
The Sergeant left twelve days ago. I have done the laundry, cleaned off the desk, washed the dishes. I cleaned out the car. I hung his jacket back on the coat rack.
But there is one article of clothing on the bedroom floor. I step over it every day, several times a day. I can't bear to pick it up. I can't admit he's gone.
Yes, I hail from Denial Land. I'm just not ready to face that collapse. Not yet.
The good news? Even when I decide to leave Egypt, I'll still have this to hold on to: