Thomas Fletcher (fletch31526) wrote,
Thomas Fletcher

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WNL-XXXV: The Prologue

I had been waiting somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 hours after completing the captain's test to know whether I made the promotional list or not. I reference the wait in hours only because it isn't enough to say we waited six days. It is important to know that it felt like we were waiting for every individual hour to pass in those six days. The wait could not and did not end until I heard the word "congratulations" come from my chief's mouth.

The good news was delivered late in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 19 and the next few hours were spent calling or texting those who would appreciate my achievement and join me in basking in its glow just a bit. My mom. My wife. My old man. My close friends. As the night wore on, I worked my way through my phone book, making sure to catch anyone I'd missed. This was my day and I wanted as many people to know as possible. I wanted to proclaim the news from the mountain top.

The one number I scrolled past without dialing, of course, belonged to Alex. It's been nearly three years since I've heard her voice. I know that a smart man wouldn't think about her as often as I do nor would he still have her number in his book... But I do and I do and on that night where I was sharing this important news with my friends, I couldn't help but ponder her absence from those calls.

As I was driving home the next morning, my mind was full of all sorts of thoughts. I'm not sure that it had completely sunk in that this goal that I had wanted to achive for so long had been reached. I needed to pinch myself to make sure I believed what had happened. And somewhere, inbetween the thoughts of how life might change with me as captain, I thought back to those phone calls... and to Alex.

No more than a few moments after my thoughts shifted to this new subject, I pulled up behind a car at a red light. Looking down, I noticed the car had personalized tags... ALW03 -- Alex's initials.

It wasn't her, of course, as she lives three hours away and in a different state. But the sighting reinforced the idea that even as our lives move in completely different directions and become increasingly void of influence from each other, a piece of our time together remains here with me.

The practical side of me says that she doesn't speak of me or think of me or wonder what I'm doing... But somewhere inside of who I am hopes that she does all of those things. I wish that not for reasons of vanity, but in the hope that the time we spent together -- despite how it ended -- meant to her at least a fraction of what it meant to me.

Considering the tumultuousness that I now find myself in, I know how unhealthy this post must sound -- almost as unhealthy as it felt to write. When you have things you must address in the present, looking back is rarely a good thing. But, somehow, there are certain things I can't ever seem to leave in the past... no matter how many times I try to walk away from them.
Tags: alex, captain, fire, public, wnl

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