As we sat in the car waiting on the friend we talked about the weekend, about things I needed to bring up to base with me next weekend, and then the conversation turned to deployment.
This time though we cover the "what if's" that we needed to talk about but words that would be easier left unsaid. He talked about if something were to happen. He tells me that me and his mom are the only ones who know the code to his gun safe and that his will and all is inside.
I don't really want to talk about it. I want to change the subject. But he won't let me.
He tells me that I will be taken care of and that I have to go back to school and get my masters.
"You'll be back before you know it," I tell him.
He smiles, "Yeah I know it."
We both try to stay positive and these few minutes are the only negative words we have ever spoken out loud.
His buddy pulls up and I get out of the 4Runner and help Marine move his bags. We hug, exchange I love you's and goodbyes.
Then I get back in the 4Runner and start on my long drive home. As I pull out of the parking lot the first tear slides down my cheek.
Each time it gets harder to say goodbye.