By RAY QUIROGA
South Padre Parade
Like many people her age, Linda Marin is never far from her mobile phone. As the device’s batteries wane, there’s a slight sense of panic in her voice. “I need my phone,” she says as her eyes grow wide. Luckily, there was a charger for another phone in the car that was compatible to hers.
As her phone recharged, she breathed a sigh of relief, and just like that, she was back to her ol’ fun-loving self.
Don’t judge the value Linda places on her phone too harshly. For her, it’s one of the few ways, if not the only way she stays connected with a special person that she rarely sees, her fiancée who’s serving in the military.
On this particular day, she was expecting something from him, a call, a text, maybe even a post on her Facebook wall. Making her even more anxious was the fact that she was expecting big news, word of a possible visit.
“He won’t tell me. He said he wants to keep it a surprise,” she said with a heightened sense of excitement in her voice.
For all she knew, the next text or call could be from him telling her that he was in town. But that was not the case on this day or the following weeks. And unfortunately for Linda, when she finally got the call, it was to inform her that “leave” was not in his immediate future; in fact, he received orders for his next assignment.
For some, the Fourth of July offers an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made for this nation’s freedom. For others, it’s a day off from work, and a time to enjoy fireworks and a barbeque. And then there’s an important segment of the population that feels bittersweet on the Fourth of July. In back of their minds, concern for their loved ones serving in this nation’s military overshadows much of Independence Day’s more whimsical offerings.
For Linda, a young South Padre Island resident, those types of paradoxical emotions are commonplace for her. Engaged to a crew chief in the Navy, Joshua Shears, one moment she’s frustrated, and even angry at the military. But as quickly as those emotions arise, they fade as she realizes that those feelings are unreasonable.
Marin met her Navy man in high school. Their relationship began as a close friendship but soon, it was evident that they could not deny their feelings for each other. “He was nice to me,” Marin said about her future hubby. Raised in a traditional home, she added she was a bit surprised that her family accepted Joshua, adding that it was a testament to his personality and character.
But then there’s that uncertainty that acts as a dark shadow in the lives of military men and women and their loved ones. Linda, it seems, will continue to fight hard to remain positive and plan for her wedding, which they’ve tentatively scheduled within the next year. In the meantime, she’ll stay close to her phone, waiting for Joshua’s next message. “In the end, I know it will be fine. I know it will be all for the best,” she concluded.