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.
I’m so sorry, Mama. This isn’t your fault. I love you.
I’m just so tired.
Trifecta Challenge. ‘Nuff said.