There comes a point in everyone’s life where you want more. More than just a nine to five job or a warm bed. You want to have a reason to come home, or better yet someone to come home to. After almost twenty years in the service, the time has come for me.
I’ve been in the military for so long I’ve forgotten what it’s like to do anything else, devoted my life to it. When I decided to join the Navy, I was running from a life of mediocrity. To become something more than some country farm boy with no future. I had a plan, keep my head down and retire after twenty years of serving my country - then I became a SEAL. Being a SEAL is more than I could have ever imagined. It has begun to encompass my entire world. My team, my new family. Their needs above my own, their desires above my own. If I can bring them all home at the end of a mission, I consider that a good day.
Now, it’s just me. After the close call Brass had a few months back, I can’t help but think of what I might be missing in my life. I haven’t been back home to Iowa in years, partly because my only reason to return - my baby sister. Emma is now shacked up with Jimmy, an ex-SEAL sniper and current bar owner. Logan has Katie and the twins, a family of his own. Charlie, well there really is no way to describe Avery, Amber, and Charlie’s relationship. Those three are an enigma, I have no idea how they haven’t all killed each other yet, but their love shows all over their faces.
As for me, with my team all paired off, it’s hard to know where I even fit any longer. Girlfriends are few and far between since I don’t have time for them. I can’t even remember the last time I got my dick wet, that should be saying something. It never occurred to me that I would want something more than being a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs.
I sit here on my couch staring at the million emails my sister has been sending me, bringing back an earlier conversation when I just returned from my last mission overseas…
“Uh, because it's the 21st century? No one hand writes letters anymore,” I snark, trying to hide my embarrassment.
“Really? Charlie and Logan got handwritten letters from home all the time,” Emma snaps back.
“Seriously? Logan and Charlie also have girls waiting for their dicks when they get home. What's the deal, it's a letter.”
“You’ve told me that you don’t usually have Internet access, so mail was the only communication in and out. Knowing that you’re going to come back from a mission to letters from home helps keep morale up.” She recite to me like a textbook. “If you’re that lonely, sign up for a pen pal before you leave next time. There are websites that will hook up deployed soldiers with lonely women stateside,” she fires back.
I thought she was screwing with me when she told me about it originally, but nope, there really are websites out there for service members to sign up for a pen pal to write them while they are out of the country. She has been so gracious as to send me those websites.
Multiple times a week.
For the last month.
My work and personal inboxes are so full of those damn websites.
Maybe Emma is onto something, just having someone to talk to would be nice. If I died on our next mission, only my family would miss me. The thought of someone, even if it’s not romantically, worrying about whether I come home or not is new for me. How can you lead men that you don’t have a connection to? I’ve never been married, I don’t have kids, I no longer have the same motivations.
As I crack open a beer, I let out a sigh. What could possibly happen? I don’t plan to meet the love of my life through these letters, that shit only happens in the movies. Just being able to hear my name called during mail call and knowing that someone is out there that cares is enough.
Having made my decision, I click on the first link that pops up from Emma and create an account. As I read through all the questions, I feel like I am answering a questionnaire for a dating website than just a pen pal.
Not that I know very much about dating websites, I’m gone too much, out of communication for weeks if not months at a time, most chicks just want a quick fuck and bounce. But maybe a pen pal will be more understanding of the way my life works.
I finally complete the questionnaire and hit send, releasing the breath I didn’t even know I was holding. I close my laptop and head to bed. Tossing my empty beer bottle into the can on the way, I can’t help but hope that someone chooses my name. That there is someone out there who will understand that this lonely sailor is in desperate need of a friend.