I had a dream that the war lasted so long that they started letting wives go to Iraq to visit with their husbands in a secure compound of shared homes. It turned out that when I got there, I realized my husband had been working 18 hour days since he got there. I didn't get to see him very much, but the four hours of sleeping next to him was worth it.
When I realized he would be coming home, I blocked out the sounds of mortars exploding in the distance and went in the kitchen to see what I cook him for dinner. Food was scant, all I could scrounge up was a peice of fronzen chicken breast, half a red pepper, half a green pepper, and an onion. When I tried to cut the green pepper, I saw that it was rotten and I was so disappointed that I couldn't cook him a favorite dish with Indian spices. Instead would have to make him a basic stir fry out of chicken and onion (I later thought this meal symbolized something else about deployment - you do the best we can under the circumstances, but it's never really what you want to do.
Suddenly, it was night time and he still wasn't back from "work". I was in the living room listening to a television reporter interviewing other wives about what it was like to be sitting there waiting in the living room while at the same time knowing your husband was in danger. Some of the women wept as they told their stories, others nodded their heads in understanding.
When it was my turn to be on camera, I told her I wanted privacy and didn't want to talk about this in front of everyone. The reporter seemed excited, as if she knew she was going to get a heartwrenching soundbite for the evening news. She said "I'm going to need more cameras in here!" and went with me into our dimly lit bedroom. She asked me, "So what is the hardest part was about your husband being gone so long?" I looked around at the empty windowless room and said "Shhhhh. Listen. This is what it feels like." At first, she was puzzled by the silence, but then she looked around the bare bedroom walls and felt starkly alone.
The dream ended the moment I sensed she felt my loneliness as her own and somehow heard the sound of the mortars I hear in my head at night sometimes. She got really quiet, looked around at the bare bedroom walls and signed off, "This is Christiane Amanpour. Live...from Baghdad."