*Retold with permission
I’ve spent nearly a year compiling a list of things I’m going to do when I get back. It’s a strange combination of things, but everything has a purpose. Most of them are simple, too, but you don’t realize how much you miss those things until they’re gone. Out here, they are. I have a lot of catching up to do.
The first order of business is to take my daughter to Chuckie Cheezes, hand her $20.00 in quarters and tell her to just have fun. I’ve missed her. I’ve missed watching her play.
I’m going to cook my own breakfast next, at whatever hour of the day I feel like eating it. I intend to eat a real omelet with real eggs, bacon, biscuits, and probably a hardboiled egg, too. I’ll eat it slowly. Then I’ll drink a beer. Why? Because I can.
I’m going to enjoy using a real porcelain toilet for the first time in forever, and not having to wear socks and shoes while I’m in there. When I’m done, I’m going to take a shower – without shower shoes. After I’m finished, I’ll just sit down in the tub. You can’t do that here. You’ll catch something. Or perhaps many somethings.
When I’ve determined that I’ve lounged in the bathtub for long enough, I’m going to get out, throw on a towel and air dry. Then I’ll sit on the porch in my towel and smoke a Marlboro Red. Maybe I’ll have a beer then, too.
When I get back to Hawaii, I’m going to “the spot” along the beach. My spot, actually. On the coastline, there’s a small hill of sand, maybe three feet tall. Then there’s a ledge, and a steep drop of more sand right into the surf. I’m going to sit up there for a time, alone, drop my shoes, and tumble all the way into the surf.
When I’ve knocked off all the sand, I’m climbing back to the top of the hill again and riding down on my boogie board. When I reach the breakers, I’ll do a couple barrel rolls and hit the water. This time, I’m staying in. I’m not setting a schedule.
When I get back to my home in the states, I’m going to take the Harley out and ride it to the lake. Not many people know about it, but there’s a trail that runs along the shore. Some distance down, there’s a short break in the bushes on the bank where you get a full view of the water. I’m going to sit there for a long while and not talk to anybody. I’ll have brought a fishing pole and a can of worms, so I’ll do some fishing, too.
You can’t walk anywhere on this base without running into somebody you know. They’re nice people, but I need my quiet time. You never get that out here, or the nice porcelain toilets. When I’m done sitting and fishing in peace, I’ll get back on the bike and ride until I don’t feel like riding anymore. It doesn’t matter how long or short that is; it’s my decision to make, not somebody else’s.
Aside from these few things, I don’t have many plans. I’ll see my family at some point, and a few friends, but more than anything I’ll spend my time alone or with my daughter. She’s the only important one. Every day that I go into work is for her. The rest of my life is devoted to raising her. Out here, that’s mostly been on hold.
Copyright © 2009, Ben Shaw, All Rights Reserved