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Title: A Story About Bliss  
By: April Coble  
Fort Bliss

It's amazing how I've spent less physical time with my current husband than I did with my first, but I feel a great deal more love for him than anyone I've ever known. There's some backstory to that. He was my sister's then boyfriend's best friend. He hung out around their place a lot, before he joined the Army for the second time. They were all close friends, and stayed in touch, no matter what their circumstances. I recall his first words to me, upon meeting me at my mother's home. "I have to pee. Where's the toilet?" Raised an Army brat, with the soul of a soldier, that one. On down the line, I remember the day the World Trade towers came down. I would imagine most Americans remember that. The range of emotion was maddening. My sister had it the worst. Her own husband (the aforementioned boyfriend), and my husband, who wasn't just yet, had both joined the military. One in the Army, the other in the Navy. She called me that day, as they were both in basic training, bawling her eyes out. "I'm going to lose both of my guys! I don't know what to do!" I told her something I had no idea came naturally to me. "You're not losing them yet. When you get moved to Waukegan, you'll see. You'll make friends, and you'll have someone to talk to." I had no idea how true that was. A few months later, I made changes in my own life, and moved in with my sister for a brief amount of time. During this time, I and her husband's best friend started talking a lot. We had a lot in common. More than movies or music, or our reading interests. We both also realized that just about everything we viewed, we saw it nearly the same way. That's a rare find. So, he comes up to the cold north after finishing his AIT, and we got married before a judge, preceding his move to his current station, Fort Bliss. Mind you, he had been told that he'd be going to Korea for a year. I can honestly say that this tiny military post has been a small blessing for us. Not long after our move to find a home here, I found out I was in the early stages of pregnancy. It's not exactly what we had planned on, but we'd work with it. As my due date drew nearer, we heard more and more about impending deployments to Iraq. That was one of the hardest things to face. Knowing he could be sent out any day, and knowing that the baby was due to arrive any day as well. I had a kind, understanding doctor. He cleared a labor induction, and the proud father got to spend the first month of his son's life still in the country. He was in Iraq during our first anniversary. Due to security, we didn't even get the chance to talk that day. For his entire deployment, I sat near the TV, listening to the news. It was the only way I could get a general idea of what was going on and where he could possibly be headed. Which is to say, I knew, but I didn't know. His return made us all excited, and it was back to military life as normal. He was on a month long training exercise for our second anniversary. I was more than understanding. I signed up for this as much as he did. He was less than thrilled. Then comes this year. The plan was to have them all out at Roving Sands and live fire exercises for a month. Yet another anniversary missed. Somehow, someone got wind of it, and there was an opportunity to let him come back home for part of the day. We were able to spend half an anniversary together. It made me happy, and he returned to work in an amazingly brighter state of mind. Three years of marriage, coming just after the Army. That's a tough job to take. Fortunately, there are a lot of tough men and women who not only take the role of military spouse, but they quietly hold it with pride, head held high, tears in their eyes. Life will never be perfect, but it's Bliss.

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