The rain was falling half-heartedly that day. I was nineteen years old, and over 1500 miles away from home. My new husband had been at his first command for about three months, and he was preparing for his first patrol on a US submarine.
I sat next to him in the car. He drove onto base, and continued on past the guards on lower base. He parked in view of the buildings that lined the dock. The Navy is protective of these particular subs, and even from this secure location they keep them hidden from view. I knew that behind that tan building sat his boat - the one that was going to take him out to sea, to not even he knew where.
Had I thought of everything? I sent along cards and letters for him to open along the way - there would be no mail, and never any calls. I sent a few little gifts to entertain him and lift his spirits, for I knew that as lonely as I was going to be, he would be lonelier. I was only losing him - he was losing everything.
He was wearing his dungarees - a "working" uniform they wear on the boat. Blue shirt, denim pants, black boots. His hat emblazoned with the name of the sub. He got out and slung his green sea bag over his shoulder.
I, of course, was crying. I dabbed my tears away with a handkerchief. He held me, and kissed me. He doesn't like long goodbyes, and so before I knew it, he was walking away from me. I sat in the driver's seat to stay out of the rain, and I watched him go through the gates, and disappear behind the building.
That was it. Now I was alone. Nineteen years old and over 1500 miles away from home. I knew that it would be somewhere between 70 and 90 days before I'd see him again, but I couldn't think about that now.
To be continued