Jonny Pena (JP): How did you feel when I volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan.
Anny Pena (AP): It was very upsetting, because I had a three year old, and a newborn. And part of me felt that you were pretty much walking out on our family.
JP: It was a hard decision to make. But, I couldn’t live with myself if I’d spent almost nine years in the Marines Corps and hadn’t done my job.
AP: As a Marine, I could relate to that. But, I used to have nightmares that someone would knock on the door … with a flag. And that’s all that I was gonna get back. Sometimes you would call me, and you’ll say, ’Oh, I’m not gonna be able to talk for a couple of days.’ And those couple of days were like the longest days of my life. The whole time it’s like you sleep with your phone. Just waiting for a text, or waiting for a call, just anything that lets me know, he’s still okay, he’s coming back. And then, when you came back, it was a huge relief. [laughs] But, it wasn’t the same as before. I remember thinking, my husband stayed in Afghanistan. He never came home.
JP: I remember being at the train station, and just, an uncontrollable sense of dread and sadness. And not being able to see any good. I couldn’t think about my kids. I couldn’t think of the fact that somewhere, someone was waiting for me. Somewhere someone loved me. I honestly just felt that life was meaningless. And when you come to that realization, you start looking for ways out of it. And dunno, like, I just saw that train come…and I felt my body … twitch towards it. And I think at that point, you know, I realized that I was lost and I didn’t know why. I wish I was that guy that I was before. Maybe you know if I had come back the same, things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did, between you and me.
AP: You know my love for you was always unconditional. Think that’s why I think that we’re able to…have the good relationship that we have. A lot of guys will get divorced, and they move away. You chose to get an apartment within walking distance from us so that you could be there as much as possible. You come twice during the week, have dinner, help with homework. You’re a good dad. Despite everything we went through, we still care about each other. Maybe not as a married couple, but…pretty close. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.