I remember being 7 years old and sleepless. That's how far is goes back.
Back then, it was more normal. What kid can sleep for any length of time when they're all wired up about Christmas morning? However, it is not usually like that for me. It's usually a dark restlessness. An inner twitch that electro-shocks my brain into frenzied thought and laborious worry.
Since you've been gone it's really been more along the lines of a physical pain keeping me awake. My heart uprooting from its otherwise happy state and groaning as it rolls over in my chest- deflated by your absence. Of course my mind worries about you- we've all heard the civilian horror stories of Nick Berg and the like. We are very aware of the prevalent danger.
Aside from the obvious, I have felt the never ending concern that can only come from little or no contact with you. I've tried patterning my days to coincide with yours. I know if I can stay up past midnight, you'll be awake again to correspond "live". I know around 2 or 3pm you're getting ready to go to bed. Coming in from the bases you've been at all days, settling in, and checking the web one more time before bed.
When you send me the most touching, heartfelt emails, it was all I could do to stop myself from gushing back a response. Instead, I fire back a quick "I LOVE YOU!!" An effort made if only in the hope that across the ocean we would be connected for even a moment. A gesture made to let you know "I'm here, I'm up, and I'm thinking of you at this exact moment." The little black letters on my white screen the only voice I have to you in the night...
Tonight, I lie awake, it is again after 2am. Instead of the lonely sadness that washes over me as I stare at your empty side of the bed, I am anxious. In less than 12 hours I will be in your arms once more!
I am 7 again.
Tomorrow is Christmas morning, and what awaits me on the other side of this night is far better than a pair of roller skates or a shiny new bike.
It's you. My love. Coming home to me again.