Trifecta #100-Phantoms

I’m tired.

I tried. I really did. I would go to clubs and get in free with a “Thank you for your service” from a bouncer that has no idea what that service entails. A meaningless platitude spouted by the well-meaning when they have nothing else to say.

I’d go in and watch kids my age dance, scream, and drink in a desperate chase for the phantom of happiness. They settle for hedonism and one-night stands, hoping to fill that yawning maw of discontent with their lives.

I’ve known happiness. I’ve known contentment. Surrounded by friends that I knew, knew, would die for me and I for them.

I never got that chance. They did.

I see them everywhere. On the corner, I caught a glimpse of Reynolds, that big goofy hick from Alabama. He held up a picture of the daughter he never got to meet in person.

How messed up is it that I got to hold the one person in the world he would have done anything to hold?

At the grocery store, Torres, who scratched and clawed his way out of the despair of poverty and gang-life, stood at the end of the alcohol aisle. He held up a beer and toasted me; I swear I heard him call me “honky” in the that voice I heard him use when joking with his younger brother.

Jenkins comes to me in my dreams. Screw those people who say women don’t belong in combat. She pulled me out of that Hummer, face burned, but determined that one of us make it.

I still see the spray of blood as the bullets impact her.

Why did I live? I can’t find a reason.

God, why won’t you give me a reason? Please…give me a reason.

My arm below my elbow hurts all the time. The doctors say it’s all in my mind.

They’re right.

I’m so sorry, Mama. This isn’t your fault. I love you.

I’m just so tired.

Trifecta Challenge. ‘Nuff said.

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15 thoughts on “Trifecta #100-Phantoms

  1. Wow. The voice in this is so real, the hurt palpable. Thanks for linking up!

  2. Poor thing! To live one’s life like this; wishing, struggling and searching. I felt like I was searching his face as I read you, line after life.

  3. So sad. I love the reference to phantom limb pain without you spelling it out. (If I read that right?) Powerful piece. Great job!

  4. I love how you use his memories of his comrades to show us his pain. You left the ending a bit open, but I think we see what’s coming. Very poignant.

  5. So deep and intense. I loved the raw agony in your words. You are truly gifted.

  6. I like the way the phantom limb reflects all the others missing in his life. Nice touch.

  7. Haunting and deep!

  8. Wow, this was an incredibly emotional story. Great writing!

  9. My favourite part of this wonderfully humane piece is-“I’d go in and watch kids my age dance, scream, and drink in a desperate chase for the phantom of happiness. They settle for hedonism and one-night stands, hoping to fill that yawning maw of discontent with their lives.”How true is this-they do not know what they are missing-looking for happiness externally,not valuing what is priceless!The agony of not being able to fit in with the “mainstream”,wanting to be happy again but knowing that it was not going to must be awful-the raw emotions are so well expressed JM-amazing!

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