Official government travel meant Tim could take a taxi, limo, or whatever else to the airport on the government’s dime but, of course, Maria wanted to drive him.

“Just drop me off here,” Tim said.

“No. I want to park and go in with you,” Maria argued.

“It’s useless. You can’t get passed security anyway. Besides, we might as well get it over with.”

“Okay,” she responded with tears in her eyes.

“No lloras, mi amor.” Tim’s Spanish was limited to very few words, but they were effective ones.

“Be safe, Timothy.”

“I will,” he assured her with an eye roll.

“I’m serious. God damn it!”

“Babe, I’m not a soldier. I’m a heating and air guy. I’ll never leave the wire.”

“Still,” she said. “You better be safe.”

“I will, Babe. I promise.” He gave her a kiss and then kissed her belly. He then opened the door, grabbed his pack, and left. Maria was two months pregnant.


They found out she was pregnant just a month before she was due to separate from the Air Force. This was a problem. The uneasiness of not having a job with full benefits weighed heavily on the expectant mother. That and the fact that Tim had recently found out that it was his turn to deploy.

“What am I going to do, Timothy?”

Tim, without hesitation, responded, “We’ll go to Reno!”

They didn’t tell anyone. They went up to Reno on a Saturday as Tim and Maria and came back on Sunday as Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. On Monday, they let the Air Force know, changing their statuses to “married” and naming each other as their spouse. A necessary step to ensure Maria would have medical coverage when she got out in a couple of weeks.

Of course, the families were disappointed when they were notified via speaker phone that Sunday on the drive back from Reno. They made the newlyweds promise a ceremony and party when Tim got back. It never happened.


I am still publishing “chapters” that I wrote months ago. I thought I was writing a short story then, so I left out a lot of details. I went back and added some to this excerpt right before I hit publish. Longer chapters with more details are coming soon. ~Dave