I was thinking about separation, and carrying, sustaining love.
Chelsea’s new flame Caitlyn was an engineer and an Army reservist, and as they fell in love they gave little thought to that fact until the unthinkable happened: Caitlyn got the call to deploy and would ship out to Kuwait in a few months. They had only just found each other, were swept up in new-bloom love, and now faced a year apart. They married quickly and enjoyed a month as spouses, and then it was time for Caitlyn to leave. Over the next year the two nurtured their relationship through texts, calls and letters, each harboring secret fears of losing the other to distance, or danger. Chelsea dove into her new venture supporting women’s rights in the developing world, and Caitlyn managed huge engineering projects in the Middle East, both hard-working and focused, both wanting and waiting. They tried to enjoy the small domestic pleasures of early marriage, settling for online couch shopping rather than strolling through stores hand in hand; video calls introduced Caitlyn to Huxley the grouchy tabby, their new fur baby. And Caitlyn wrote post cards from Kuwait filled with sweet expressions of love for her beautiful wife, fanning the flame of their long-distance romance. Though they longed to be together and begin building the trust and faith that are nurtured living side by side, they also knew that having to open their hearts to each other across this enforced divide offered a rare opportunity for growth. When Caitlyn finally returned home the next summer, never again to leave, they got down to the business of beginning their new life, turning their energies from saving the world to holding and healing each other.