In April 1987, Mitch and I were married, but living apart since New Year’s thanks to the United States Marine Corps. I thought that was bad enough, but then Mitch got even worse orders – he was going to be on TDY in Okinawa for six months. That pretty much ended our marriage, although it would take a few more years and a baby for me to realize it.
But at the time I was devastated. A couple days before he was going to head out, my parents and I drove to North Carolina to spend some time with him before he left.
We had fun; went out to dinner, shopping at the mall, the movies. It was all bittersweet, though, knowing he’d be gone in a few days. While my parents went to see Blind Date with Bruce Willis, Mitch and I saw Mannequin. I was a fan of Andrew McCarthy from his “Brat Pack” days, so it was fun to see him in a comedy role for a change, rather than his usual angsty role.
At the time, Mannequin was a pretty funny movie. Maybe it was because I needed cheering up, but I laughed a lot the entire time. The gay character, Hollywood, was a riot; he stole every scene he was in. I enjoyed the montage of Jonathan and Emmy dancing and trying on clothes in the empty mall. Of course, the ending was expected; I knew they wouldn’t allow Emmy to go through the wood chipper. I would’ve liked the movie a lot better if she had, but I’m a little twisted that way.
The moment I had dreaded the entire trip finally arrived. My parents and I drove Mitch back to base where I had to say good-bye with all the other military wives in the platoon. Since I lived in Maryland, there were no jobs for me in North Carolina, and I didn’t know the other military wives– I had nobody who understood what I was going through. I cried for a good hour on the way home, sitting in the backseat with my mom while she held me.
Mannequin hasn’t held up well; I tried to watch it a couple years ago, and it was just awful. I did watch Blind Date, the movie my parents went to that weekend, and it was a lot funnier, and still pretty amusing today.
After a few weeks, I adjusted to Mitch being in Okinawa. It wasn’t that different from him being in North Carolina; I just didn’t see him every weekend anymore. And I actually got to visit him in Okinawa for a week thanks to my grandmother, but that’s a story for another time.
Long-distance relationships rarely work, especially for a young couple just starting out, and Mitch and I were no exception. It would be a few years before we ended it for good, though. I can’t stand the movie anymore, but I did like the theme song “Nothing’s Going to Stop Us Now” by Starship. I can still feel the sadness and loneliness I felt back when Mitch was leaving when I hear that song now, so I don’t listen to it very often.
I know this seems to be a downer post this week, but it really isn’t. Mitch and I get along fine now; it’s been about twenty-one years since we split up. Our daughter is sort of following in his footsteps; she joined the Navy recently. She is something we will always share. We’re both happily married to other people and have good lives.
Mannequin might kind of suck now, but it got me through a pretty rough time, so it’ll always have a soft spot in my heart.