The conversation was brought up about coming home. To me, the lead up and the day of is always the crappiest and most depressing day of my life. This is where you say "why, you just got back from ____(fill in wherever I went this time)" and this is where the story takes place.
I was married for one return, but it was the ending of that marriage, so it may not count. There is by my count three types of returns that Marines have. One, you are in a pine box. Depressing as that may be, that Marine will now be guarding the street of Heaven. Two, you are married or have a significant other and is greeted with cheers, hugs, kisses. All things are forgiven for that day for that couple and everyone is "happy." Three, the single man or very soon to be single man(insert the female nouns/pronouns where applicable) comes home to virtually nothing. No hugs, kisses. There might a hug or kiss from a by-stander but it temporary. Once that Marine finally grounds his gear in where ever he may stay(live) then what. The what is the happening. I have found over the years it is best to find a bar and have a few drinks. Usually only a few is good enough and a cab will be the next thing you see. The worst thing, in my opinion, is to stay in the barracks that day or the next few days, because that is where depression will really kick in. It is best to find someone to be with for at least the next 3 or 4 days. Even if you hate that person it is better than being alone.
So in short, the actual day of return just fucking sucks. All I ever wanted to do is get away of the merry wishers and married people because it all seemed so fake. Great, someone is happy I am "home" but are you going to hold me like lovers do when I drift off to sleep? No, you are not. You don't even know my first name. You may smile and you may hug me when I step off from that plane, helicopter, or bus but you will not be with me for that tender loving care that I really need six hours after.
You are reading this and thinking one of two things. First one, you are thinking,"that is too fucking bad, oh well." Second, is "I am going to do something about it. " The truth is you can't do anything. The truth is you can't give what is needed or wanted. The truth is even after this deployment or the next there will be thousands of men and women that you can't do anything for. And that is where one of the sacrifices that we volunteers of the armed forces have agreed upon. To me, that is okay, I have hardened my life and built that wall around me so my emotions are not a factor. Don't give me that fake smile and tell me you are glad to see me, instead wrap you arm around me and let's sit down and have a beer. We can talk about the good times and the good times to come.