Friday, July 20, 2012

Logan Thibault popped out of Nicholas Sparks "The Lucky One" novel

On July 5th, when we got on the metro train to travel to Reagan National Airport, I met a U.S. Army Captain. This is the first time, for me to encounter any kind of military person. All I had was knowledge of a character in Nicholas Sparks "The Lucky One" novel and prior to that, I read a book "SEAL Team Six" by Howard E.Wasdin.

He kinda looks like Chris Martin with slightly few more pounds. I was so mesmerized by his mannerisms. He looked genuine, kind, honest, well-mannered, respectful and someone with high moral values. My daughter was carrying and waving the American Flag which she received from Uncle Sam on Washington DC Independence Day Parade. Definitely, I guess the flag might have made him to notice us.

Once we entered the train, we passed him and had a  discussion of who should sit in the two empty seats which were across each other. Me and my son sat as my daughter wanted to enjoy the train ride by standing. The Army Captain, my husband and my daughter were standing next to each other.While looking at the flag, he asked whether we were heading to Virginia for parade. My husband said, "No, we are on our way to Reagan National Airport". He asked my son, "Hey, where is your flag?" For that my husband replied by saying, how my daughter got the flag at the parade.

U.S. Army Captain's Personal Flag
For sometime, he looked like he was busy with his phone but suddenly, he bent down and removed a small flag from his shoulder bag and gave it to my son and said, "will you keep this safe with you? This flag has traveled to many places." We were like "wow!" The whole time, in between many times, he looked at me while conversing with others. I said, "Thank you for sharing." He said, "you're welcome!" While I was trying to ask, whether he is from Army, my husband asked whether he is from Navy. He proudly said, "U.S.Army".

I really felt good about meeting a military guy as only a week ago, I read Nicholas Sparks novel "The Lucky One" and was captured by the story (How he searches for his lucky charm, finds her and how in a decent, honest way captures her heart, not only with his charm but with built in good values, respect for others, trust, connecting easily with kids, creating bond, gentle way of speaking with a kid and understanding his emotions). I liked the novel's main character "Logan Thibault" Then my husband started conversing with him, asking him about whether he fought war from front line in Afghanistan? He said, "not from front line, but he was right in the middle of ......." Then my husband asked, "whether he need to get back". He said, "Not now, I am on a break."

Usually people ignore me or just converse with my husband
but the whole time, in between, he made sure to look at me, made me to get involved in the conversation. Even though he was on his phone, when my daughter said "Hey mommy, you should not complain about not traveling by cab as even by traveling on train, we can see outside world unlike New York Subways which basically run undergrounds", he smiled at her comment.  And then when I started recording on the camcorder and making kids to say "bye" to DC, I noticed him watching us. When the passenger who sat next to me got down, I sat across, next to my son. He changed his body position to be right opposite to me which reminded me, one of Fox's "New Girl" episode which emphasizes on when a guy is conversing with you and when his feet point towards you, it shows that he is totally into you.

He offered my daughter to sit in the open seat. My husband responded by saying, "Oh, she doesn't want to sit as it is very rare for us to experience - the whole process of traveling by metro." He asked us where are we heading while looking at me. The beauty about him was whenever he looked at me, it did not look cheap but more like respecting and acknowledging my existence. My husband said, "To Dallas". He said, "I'm from Austin and yes, of course, you don't find metros over there." Right when Reagan National Airport stop was about  to come, my husband asked for his email id by saying to him that my son will send a thank you note to you for sharing a flag. While my husband was taking note of his email id, I saw a kind of glowing smile on his face - like he was so astonished for someone to ask his contact information. He said. "Wish I could have given my card, but sorry, I don't have it right now with me." I literally saw happy look on his face in sharing his id.

Before getting down, everybody said "bye" to him. I said, "Best of luck".

When I was on the AA flight, on my way back to Dallas, I turned towards the window and cried nonstop....tears rolled from my cheeks as I couldn't stop thinking about how easily my husband was able to get contact information from the Captain but me even though I felt instinct sense-of-belonging, familiarity towards Steward, couldn't do a damn thing even though Steward suggested to come and talk to him in the galley. Sitting on the plane,  seeing the cabin, watching flight attendants, thinking about steward's face, the moments we had on Lufthansa flight, visualized walking him up and down the aisle and  thinking about this failed vacation trip - being outside of Dallas, in a famous place like NYC hasn't opened or given a chance to meet him one more time,  made me emotional and made me question myself of why I did not allow myself to have a casual talk. So many months of hope, waiting time, the regret of declining his call, different trials to get in touch with him, visions of him, the whole waiting time was overwhelming. I better read "The Power Of Now" again.

After few days, we asked our son to send an email to the Captain to thank him.


Hello Captain,

I hope you're doing great and enjoying your break from the service to the country. We met on the Metro train on July 5th. Thank you for sharing your flag with me. I'll keep it safe with me.

I have few questions for you. I hope you'll find time to answer them.

  • Why is the flag B/W? 
  • Why are the stars in the right side of the flag? But it looks right if you see the reflection of the flag in the mirror. 
  • When do you have to head back to Afghanistan?  
  • Mr. Obama is calling back the troops, so why do you have to go back?  
  • Will you ever become an ordinary civilian or always be in the service for the country? 

Thank you for keeping us safe.  It was wonderful to be in Washington DC on Independence day - surrounded by countless flags, cheering crowd, marching soldiers and the HEAT - an unique experience. Be safe!



 I waited for more than a week for his reply but when I did not get, I started doubting about my beliefs, my understanding of people who I come across. I really thought he was someone who can be trusted. Then I googled him to know more about him. I saw his name popping up in different sections of search but definitely related to military. And then I saw his marriage video on YouTube. He got married in his military uniform to a very famous dancer. He looked nervous, shy and in between jovial but seriously followed the rituals but she was totally loose, almost giggling for the whole time like a drunken person. I even came to know his and her age and in which city they live. He is younger to her by seven years. In one of the website, after three months of marriage in Aug/sept '11, she gave an interview declaring about her being single and talked about her past three year relationship with someone who couldn't deal with her business success, so this time she wanted someone special who can deal with her success with a right attitude. Who knows, maybe google led me to somebody else with the same name.  So not sure.

 I thought, it is better if I just don't care about the whole thing. In between, back of my mind, I thought to myself that I should not believe in what I see and not fall for people's extra special behavior.

Few seconds prior to seeing his email, I asked myself - how did I go wrong about him when he looked so genuine?

After reading his email, I felt so happy about myself - that I really have the ability to spot people with great character and thanked him by saying within myself - thank you, thank you, thank you for coming across, rising up exactly like the way I expected about him. He not only proved good about himself but my belief on trusting a few in the world, my belief on what I saw in Steward.... Don't know how Steward would have been with me, had he known my marital status...but I really want someone to be in my life who really like me, gives importance to me, who cares genuinely for me, regardless of my marital status or having kids or what ever.


[Insert my son's name],

 First, let me apologize for the delay in returning your email, I've been quite swamped this last week organizing a group of hurt Soldiers to meet up in [Insert his city]. That being said; Thank you for your email! It is good to hear from such a well spoken young man. Now, let me answer your questions.

The flag is black and white, which we call "subdued" because it blends in better with our camouflage. I love the red white and blue, but it does make it hard to sneak through the trees! It is also what we call an "IR" meaning it looks normal to you and me, but when you see it in night vision goggles, like you see in the movies, it glows bright white like a light. This is done by reflecting the infrared light, or IR light. This helps keep us safe when we are outside with other Soldiers, because the glowing flag means "don't shoot me, I'm a good guy!"

As to why the stars are on the right side of the flag, have you thought about which way the wind is blowing? We wear the flag on our right shoulder, so if you hold the flag on your right shoulder, the stars should be towards the front of you. If you can imagine a tiny flagpole on you arm, which way would the flag be if you were running? That is why the flag is like that, because the United States Army is always moving forward, into battle, so the flag streams out behind us.

As to me personally, I have completed my Afghanistan tour and will not be headed back for at least a year, but I will if I need to. Not everyone is cut out for the job we do, and I'm pretty good at it, so I will do whatever I can to keep as many people safe as possible.

And as to being an ordinary civilian, I am looking forward to the day, hopefully soon, when I can transition into a civilian job here at home and spend time with my wife, maybe even have some children of my own.

I am glad that you enjoyed your time at our nations capital, and I bet the parade was amazing. I enjoy going there, the monuments are humbling every time. I was even promoted to captain in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

I hope this email finds you and your family well, and if you have any more questions or are ever in the [Insert his city]  area, please feel free to email me again.



I was blown away with his response, with the way he apologized for not replying sooner, with the way he took time to answer every question, with the way he encouraged my son to ask questions if any in future.  I wanted to send email thanking him for being nice and wanted to tell him of how he reminds me of the novel character but then....I don't want to...I only want to speak with Steward. If anybody special, I want to have in my life, I want it to be Steward. Wish Steward still thinks about me. Wish Steward still thinks I'm special. Wish Steward still thinks the sense-of-belonging, the quick rapport, the familiarity- we felt for each other, cannot be felt with everybody or anybody but only with someone special, something rarely happens. Because that's how I felt. I saw so many guys in New York City and so many noticed me, but nothing comes closer to what I have experienced with Steward. He was special and he will remain special.

Meanwhile, thank you Captain!

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