While he was gone, I spent a lot of time with a girl whose boyfriend was also away at Camp. Her boyfriend was actually one of Jon's good friends. We went out to dinner, shopped, and lamented about how much we missed our boyfriends. We would go to our appropriate apartments and go straight to the mail box to see if we got a letter that day. We had a little contest going on, seeing who got the most letters! I don't even remember who "won."
I was so excited when Jon got done. Only thing is, he didn't stay in Seattle during the summers. He still worked in the lab, but he stayed at home with his parents who lived about 45 miles away. Let me tell you, that's at least a two hour commute! I hated saying goodbye to him and he usually stayed late. Poor guy....he was so tired because of me! It didn't last too long, though, as school started out in September for him.
We just grew closer during the course of the school year. I practically lived at his place and he took me to see his parents pretty early in the school year. We spent so much time together I started to have little disputes with my friends. But whatever....isn't everyone like that with a new relationship? It didn't help that I was about the only one in a relationship. Jon and I endured, though, and in the end I didn't lose any friends over it. :)
As the school year drew to a close, I started to prepare myself for what was next. Jon was set to move God knows where in July and I felt that there was a possibility he would break up with me. If you knew him, he is such a manly-man and I really believed that he didn't want to be tied down as he started out on his career. So I was taking it one day at a time and enjoying everything I was sharing with him. I was in it for the long run, unsure about where he stood, but not wanting to crowd him too much. He surprised me, obviously, when we sat down to talk about it and he revealed to me that he wanted to stay together. He was surprised I was thinking the way I was. I was so relieved, even though I was prepared to say goodbye! Throw that tough skin out the window! He listed his preferred posts: 1) Hawaii, 2) Washington, 3) Arizona, etc. etc. We all know what he got....we're still here!
July came around real fast. I decided to make half the drive with him to Ft. Gordon where he was doing OBC. That put my stop at Phoenix where his aunt lived. I would take a flight back to Seattle from there and he would continue on to GA. We took the fastest way: down I-5 all the way down to LA. We did make a stop in Anaheim to go to Disney Land (I had never been!) Then it was on to I-10 over to Phoenix, 6 hours away. I cried a lot when I had to say goodbye to him. It was so hard, knowing I wouldn't see him for a while.
I saved all my vacation and money for flights to GA and then AZ. Every 3-day weekend I took an extra day off and jumped on a plane to Phoenix or Tucson. We had a commuting relationship for 2 years. That is, until he deployed in October 2006. He came up for a visit in August before he was set to leave. That wasn't enough for me! My friend and I went for a road trip in September to Avila Beach, CA to spend some time at a real beach. Spur of the moment, we decided to make the drive to Phoenix where Jon was visiting his aunt one last time before he deployed. It was a great couple of days we spent there....and it was really hard to say goodbye to him. I wanted so badly to be there when he left, but by that time I had used up all my vacation and I had a tyrant of a Russian PI who was very strict with work hours.
That first deployment I kept busy taking courses at the local community college. I had a whole year of prerequisite courses to take before I could even apply to nursing school. I joined a gym and worked off all the weight I had gained as a result of my boyfriend loving to go out to eat. I ran, did turbo kickboxing, yoga, latin dance, just so Jon could come home to a leaner and more confident girlfriend.
But as the deployment wore on my weariness grew. I didn't get to talk to Jon as frequently as I do now, and even back then my phone had the nasty habit of dropping calls like flies. The same problems existed back then, as they do now. Jon isn't very fun to talk to, bottom line! That goes especially when he's miserable and wanting to come home. Being that we weren't married at the time, a nasty thought worked its way into my mind: this is all too much for me--maybe I should break up with him. I had my own life in Seattle and made new friends that I spent a lot of time with. Whenever I was out with them and Jon would call and not say anything (much like he does now), I would get really annoyed. We had a lot of fights this way and the relationship was very strained. Worse yet, I felt that I didn't need him anymore, since I was perfectly happy with my friends in his absence. My life had not stopped just because he was gone.