It’s weird to think I’ll no longer be a Kasper. All my life I’ve been identified by that name. Kasper the Ghost, it haunted my childhood. Gone will be the days I correct the spelling of both my first AND my last name. Errica with two R’s and Kasper, with a K. In one month I’ll be Mrs. Errica Lynn Springer.
I’ve seen my fiance a total of six days since we got engaged. Six beautiful days of being together celebrating our new commitment. You would think he just proposed to me last week. But no, he asked me to marry him the night of May 27, 2012. That was four months ago. I remember the night like it was yesterday. After a quick trip to the store we were caught in the craziest wind storm I’ve ever experienced in my twenty years of living in Minnesota. He shielded my face from the 100 MPH sand particles as we tried our best to walk to his truck without being blown away. After finally getting home safely we cuddled up in bed to watch a movie. We got in a conversation about babies right before he built up the courage to ask me, without a ring, to be his Wife. “Of course I’ll marry you!”
The next day he went to the store for me and to my surprise, came back with beautiful roses and my engagement ring.
Four days later he was gone. Back to his training station. That’s right, I’ll be married to the military.
Everyone is saying it’s too soon. You date someone in the service for a year, then come to me and tell me about waiting. I know what it means to wait. I’ve earned my waiting degree. Someone who hasn’t spent longer than a week apart from the one they’re with is not about to tell me I’m making a bad decision.
We got together before he joined. It started out as text dating, as my mother called it. We were in different states so we didn’t get to actually see each other the first month of our romance, aside from pictures and videos. We didn’t meet on the internet, we grew up in the same town, went to the same school, and hung out with the same people. But in high school we went separate ways. Him to a church school, me to a new public school, and eventually he moved out of state. Thank goodness for Facebook. He found me online, sent me a message, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. I’m using that term loosely.
We just clicked. We had our first official date on December 5th 2010, and he asked me to be his girl on January 29th 2011. He moved in with me after about two or three months of dating, and we were together for eight months before he left for boot camp. Our relationship wasn’t perfect. We fought. We still fight. What makes us inseparable is we know how to get past it. We drive each other crazy, but we want to be with each other even when we’re miserable. Trust me when I say this, we have what it takes.
The day he left was rough. I was in denial up until that moment he was about to walk out the door. I’d been so busy keeping him motivated and reassuring him that it would all be okay in the end, that I forgot to let myself be vulnerable. The knot in my throat could have stopped my breathing as I wiped away his tears and tried to say goodbye without breaking down. It was hard to let go. “I’ll see you in three months.”
At the time I couldn’t grasp that he was so worked up over leaving me. He has wanted to do this since before I was even in the picture. The Marine Corps was his dream. Even when he told me, “Just say the words and I’ll stay, you’re my dream now” I thought it was mostly nerves. I didn’t realize how important I really was to him. It wasn’t easy, but I refrained from crying. That is, until he walked out the door.
I stood there for a second, then fell to the ground. For the first time I let myself feel it.
For the next three months I would have absolutely no contact with the man I love, aside from old school letters. The worst part of it was he didn’t want to leave me. It was like a break up neither of us wanted. I wrote to him almost every single day. I kept my letters positive and encouraging. As much as I was hurting I couldn’t let him see that. He needed me to be strong for him, he had enough to worry about.
I’ll never forget the feeling, opening the mailbox and seeing that Marine Corps envelope. My heart skipped a beat every time I got a letter. The very first line I read after two weeks of no word from him, “I miss you very much. I hope you know that.” Exactly what I needed to hear to keep me going. I hugged the paper and kissed his signature.
Those nights away from him were lonely. The bed was cold. Most nights I couldn’t sleep. I dreamed of him. My dreams only went as far as us about to touch, or him about to say something. I would wake to the sound of his voice in my ear and the emptiness beside me.
I can do this, just three months.
One month down.
Only one more month!!!
Seeing him as a Marine for the first time was absolutely amazing. Hands down, best day of my life. His grip was tight, his shoulders strong. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t dreaming, that it was really him, and he was really mine!
It was weird to have him with me. I was expecting to meet a whole new person, but he was exactly the same. Just as silly, just as handsome. More sure of himself, and a lot more arrogant, but the same man I fell in love with.
Leave is nothing but a tease. He’s home, and right when you get used to having him next to you, he’s gone again. You always want just one more day, just a few more hours, just a few more minutes to say goodbye… you’re holding each other, wiping his tears and trying not to cry. As soon as you realize it’s time to let go, it’s time to walk away, the tears take on a life of their own.
Some days I absolutely hate the Marine Corps for repeatedly taking him from me. For making seeing each other near impossible. For feeling like I’m single, but living like I’m in an imaginary relationship with someone I used to know. I have it set in my head that after we’re married and I move in with him and we’re together again it’ll be all uphill from there…
In the back of my mind I know I’m dead wrong. I’m moving to a new state, halfway across the country, leaving my friends and family to a place where I know absolutely no one. He could deploy sooner than expected and I could be left to adjust to the new place all on my own. It’s scary.
But after living a year in the life he left behind, it’s damn well worth the risk.
I’ll Follow Him.