Love and the B-2 Stealth Bomber
B-2 STEALTH BOMBER
The truth was soon clear, we were in love. At twenty-five, she lived only blocks from work in the Latin neighborhood of Pico Rivera, California—just east of East L.A. Commuting an hour or more each way from the Inland Empire, I had just started working at this job a few months earlier. Four years out of college in Kentucky, and two years into an aerospace career in California, I was twenty-six—with my roots in a rural rust belt county of southern Ohio. Without delay, we separated from abusive spouses. The enigmatic city girl—who had lived on her own in New York City for two years as a teen—and the country boy from Appalachia, we saw each other, scars and all. In every intimate moment we planned to spend our lives together; even our children found joy in our emerging family. Despite our precarious lives, we had secured good jobs: as she rose from being a lead clerk to a systems analyst position, I was quickly climbing the ranks in engineering. It was 1987, the height of the Reagan Era, and we were working together on the initial production of the most advanced military aircraft in history.
Some experiences reveal truths that must be told.
We can lock ourselves into prisons of silence and shame,
or, if we dare,
We can honor our convictions...and be free.
Running down the middle of my chest is a footlong scar . . . a memento of mine. It is the record, left in my skin, of open-heart surgery when I was eighteen to correct the congenital hole inside my heart. Over the following eight-plus years after my surgery my scar felt like a sign of deficiency for me, until I was informed otherwise, by someone with her own scars. Though scarred, I was a bold young man when I fell deeply in love with a beautiful young woman. In keeping with a pledge, herein is my chronicle, my testimony, a narrative tapestry of memories, insights and feelings about my life and the love affair that indelibly altered me. This, too, is a memento, even a scar of sorts given the deep self-examination and suffering that went into its creation. Now I relish scars. They tell their own stories. The oft lingering pain can either harden you into detachment, or, instead, lead you to surrender . . .
and open your heart to love. And love . . .
can make you fly.