Having H home was amazing! I could relax, I didn't have that constant worry and the constant longing for a telephone call. I didn't have to pray every time I drove home in fear that a uniformed figure may be lurking waiting to tell me the news.
I looked at him, at his skin, at his hair. He was real and he was sat right in front of me. I could have burst into tears just from the relief being lifted! But now it was time to tackle the next obstacle, getting used to him being at home, in this country.
This time around we didn't have a newborn to distract us from one another. From the lost lust that had been pushed to one side for 6 months. The thought of having someone in my bed every night was a distraction from sleep. My man, my soldier. I could touch him, he could touch me. Finally this wasn't a dream!
H seemed to come back a different man once again. He still wasn't the H I met before the first tour in 2009 but I knew he would never be that H again. The two and a half years in between H's deployments had gone by rather quickly looking back. A few memories I'd rather forget, but they made us stronger so I must be thankful for everything that has happened between us.
H and I sat down one evening, with a drink and had a lovely long chat. I think it was most needed to reconnect our brains to each others after being apart for way too long. He told me stories from the first tour and explained to me how different it was out there now. One story about him and his comrades being ambushed in this particular area during his first story was one he retold, he said he went back there. He couldn't believe that it was not now being run by the Taliban. I expected areas to haunt him, areas where he lost his good friends, but he said going back had made him realise something.
We had been up and down, and up and down a lot in between his tours. One minute we'd be happy, the other we would be gripping each other in rage. I'm not an innocent party to everything that went on, but H did say something to me that will never go away. He said that truthfully he had never really left Afghanistan after his first operational tour out there. The memories had stuck, the good and the bad. They would never have gone away anyway, but his memories were of fear and devastation. He said that having gone back there and revisiting areas that were not good last time had helped him "leave" the Afghanistan he previously knew behind.
In his words ... "In order to leave Afghanistan I had to go back to Afghanistan. My freshest memory now is a peaceful one"