If you've ever been to a mess dinner, you know this chair and table.
It sits, during the crowded time when everyone finds their place, during the toast to the fallen, and during the drunken times after dinner.
It sits. It just....is.
And when the dinner is over, it will be cleared off quietly and put away until next time. Even when the party carries on happily until the early morning, it has to be put away eventually.
But its presence is never forgotten.
And some nights, it's louder than others.
At the Regiment.
At the dinners.
In our homes on random nights.
That quiet reminder that not everyone is with us, even when we are all together, it some nights screams from its silent chair, unexpectedly, even when the table has been put away it still has a voice.
Learning to embrace those days and nights as a part of this life, that can take more than we knew we'd have to give.
But it is the cost of love, and of war, and it's unpredictable, and sometimes it's louder and sometimes filled with remembered laughter, and sometimes it is sad, and all the time it just.... Is.
Tomorrow we wake the same.
Grateful for the day that freedom gives us.
But the nights, sometimes they are for remembering.