Two weeks ago, William Grimes called his wife, Erin. He was in Birmingham, Alabama with their two young children. Erin had moved to D.C., lured by the prospect of steady work in door-to-door magazine sales that would provide a decent hourly wage, free hotel and travel. “I was calling her and she was saying that she loved me, that she missed me,” Grimes,27, recalls. She promised that he could get a job with the same company.

At 11 a.m., Grimes arrived in the District via a 16-hour Greyhound bus ride. He sat on his luggage—-a small carry-on and a camo-patterned backpack—-outside the 1st Street NE station. His new sales boss would be picking him up in an hour and a half. Grimes says his wife doesn’t know he’s here. This morning, he sent a dozen roses to her hotel room anonymously. 


“I’m going to wrap my arms around her and give her a big kiss,” Grimes says of his imminent reunion.  

Grimes and his 21-year-old wife have been married for seven and a half years. “She’s been my heart all my life,” he says. But for much of their marriage, they had to get used to living far apart. Grimes did a more than five year stint in the National Guard and the Army as a weapons specialist. He did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. For this job, he had to leave their two kids with his parents. “I know that sounds kind of bad,” he says. “But money goes everywhere. I had to go with the money. My dad understood.”

In three weeks, the sales company will send them to San Francisco. He’s already more than satisfied with his first minutes in D.C. even if those minutes were spent outside the Greyhound. He declares that D.C. is “sexy.” Tonight, he hopes to take his wife out for a few beers, maybe a meal. And then who knows. He lists the prospects for sex as “very good. Very, very good.”

*Text by Jason Cherkis