No Secrets Here – Part 6

I’m optimistic I can have Monica up to speed by the time the summer help arrives and then we will finally be staffed enough to navigate another busy summer.  I am also excited to be plenty busy for the two weeks that Daniel is gone.

“See, that’s the other thing.  You really only have about a week to get her trained.”

A week?

“A week?”  Whoops, I accidentally let my surprise escape.  “What happens after a week?”

Given the short time from when he hired her to when she starts, I wonder if she has a previously scheduled vacation planned.

“Next Monday I need you shadowing Archie.  He announced his retirement, so I am promoting you to Forestry Technician.”

Holy crap!  I’m getting promoted!

“Well, I shouldn’t say promoted.  That’s not the right word.  You’ll still only be a G-6, so it’s actually just a lateral transfer, but of course in the Forest Service…”

I cut him off.  “No, it’s a growth opportunity!  There’s more opportunity for promotion in this job classification.  And I’ll be out in the forest!”

I can feel an uptick in my heart’s pace, thumping with excitement.  This is the kind of work I know I am going to love, and basically the same position for which I applied last year.

“I know you’re excited, and I’m glad you are, but I need for Monica to be fully trained and you to be out on the forest within two weeks.  That’s when Archie leaves.”

The knowledge I am going to have to absorb and unload in the next two weeks is massive.  I wish I could pick up the phone and call Daniel to tell him.  I know he’ll be excited for me.

“Of course that’s assuming you still want the position.  I know it’s been months since we told you everything was on hold, so I don’t want to assume you still want it…”

“Oh, no, no, no.  I definitely want it.  I absolutely want it!”  I admit, I sound practically desperate.

“Thank goodness, because at this point, we are pretty desperate.”  The irony makes me laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“Just really excited to get started.”

“Well, that’s good because I think I just saw Monica pull into the lot.  You are going to have your work cut out for you.”

He polishes off the last of the coffee he was downing during our conversation and starts to head back to his own office.

“Also, since you are going to be spending a bulk of your week training Monica, and we want you to be free to get started with Archie next week, the Ranger has authorized you to pick up overtime this week to make sure everything gets done.  That might extend to next week depending on how things go with Monica.  I hate for you to be toggling between this job and the new one, but it might be necessary.”

Thinking about the entirety of the transitions, I cannot imagine I will have time to miss Daniel at all – a blessing from a curse, I suppose.

The cow bell clangs as Monica enters her first day on the job and I take about three seconds to remember my first week here on the Bighorn National Forest.  And that’s all the more time the moment affords.


Three days into training Monica and I sleep like the dead.  Exhausted from the fifteen-hour days, I am rushing through Daniel’s absence, pounding forward until his return.  Time passes more quickly than I expect, but mostly because this week is nothing like I anticipated when I kissed him at the airport.

I’m almost grateful now that we did not get the dog Daniel and I discussed adopting prior to his departure.  He thought having a guard pup in the house would make both of us feel more assured about my being alone, but we agreed that it would require weeks of daily attention to housebreak it effectively.  There would not be enough time before he left, and I would not be able to continue the routine once he departed, so we put the idea aside.  I cannot imagine trying to walk a dog each morning this week, in the dark.  And I would hate to see what the house looks like after a puppy is left alone for more than twelve hours unattended.  I am relieved not to have that added responsibility.

I am also deeply disappointed that I’ve only received one message from Daniel since his departure.  Granted, the first thirty-six hours were probably spent in transit.  I am completely capable of managing the concept of the four time zones across my own country, whether adding two or subtracting one, but figuring out what time it is in southwest Asia – or is it closer to central Asia – leaves me mathematically impaired.

It may not be a matter of mathematics even, if I grasp how many hours away he really is.  All I know is he is too far away to talk during normal daylight hours, if I even have time enough in the day for a conversation with him.  I am not certain when it is tomorrow there and today here.  Even if I knew, I doubt I could be awake outside of the schedule my job transition is requiring.

An email, however, arrives during the night on Monday, or maybe early Tuesday, at some time when it was early morning where he is.


 I’ve arrived safely.  Nothing terribly exciting to report, other than flight delays are not exclusive to our corner of the world.  It doesn’t help that I’m unaccustomed to these commercial flights.  I found myself actually missing direct military transports if you can believe it.

I’d like to say that it helps having a co-worker along for the journey, but I almost wish I was traveling alone.  Or at least with you instead, although I doubt this kind of hot spot is really the kind of romantic getaway you might like.

We spent yesterday reviewing which areas we could travel, and which ones we should avoid, how we should navigate the region safely, and what cultural mistakes we needed to know to not make.  Anyway, a lot of it came back just being in country, but I doubt my counterpart was paying as much attention as he ought.

Speaking of romantic getaways, I miss you.  Any chance you can take off some time when I return?

I would have tried calling since the time difference is almost twelve hours, but by the time I got back to the hotel at 8:00 last night, you’re probably already at the office.  I’m sure it’s the usual dull Monday there.

I love you, Nat.  So far, no pie here.


NEXT: No Secrets Here – Part 7


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