A story of a soldier's journey through war.
|It was grey, cloudy. It wasn’t raining; a mist filling the air, cleansing my face. There was a light fog, and the sky couldn’t decide if it was cold or humid. I chuckle at the thought of a sky. The sky was a memory now. I haven’t seen the sky in weeks.
Sitting in the Hummvee, I was calm. This was something a person gets used to after a while. I had to force myself to notice the gunfire in the distance. Sometimes I had to force myself to remember I was in a war. My buddies were right. War wasn’t what I thought it would be. It’s not what anyone thinks. I have a lot of time to think. Too much time. But no one’s complaining.
My thoughts drift to someone. I live, I die for her. A vicious, endless cycle. Nothing would exist without it. I long to be with her. I fight harder because of it. I cry harder. But it makes our time all the sweeter when together. Enough about love, back to the sweet life.
I had to remember I was in a war. It was getting more difficult everyday. But I was so calm, I felt like someone else. “This is depressing,” I hear myself say to Danes. “I need something to do.” His face agreed, but his mouth said, “How ‘bout you fill my canteen?” I sighed as I got up. “Alright. I need water anyways.” He threw both of them at me. “I should have been expecting that,” I said unconvincingly. “Forgotten where we are already? Christ, Macaroni, glad you’re not out there right now,” Danes said as I walked away. That was his nickname for me. That was everyone’s nickname for me, but he came up with it. I thank him graciously for it every now and then. “Let’s see how he feels after I do the favor of getting his water,” I think to myself.
I was the platoon’s water boy. I didn’t mind, especially on days such as this. It got me up and moving around. On days like these, the platoon liked to do one of two things: either talk or sleep. Today, we were trying to sleep, but it wasn’t working too well. I didn’t think Danes was able to sleep. “Macaroni, are you sure you didn’t do anything to this water?” he asked without opening his eyes. “It’s Army water!” was my response.
I joined the crowd, trying to sleep. I didn’t mind just shutting my eyes. Again, my thoughts began to drift to someone. I pictured her in my mind. I miss you. These days passed so slowly. I soon found myself between sleep and reality.
I was back home. Looking outside, the children play in the street. The smell of chicken rolls in from the grill sitting in the backyard. The passing roar of boats and the sounds of swimmers on the lake, the occasional bark of our dog. The breeze tickles the back of my neck, making me shiver. “So what’s the first thing you want to do when you get back?” my mother asks of me. I don’t know. “Anything and everything,” I say. Deep down, I know things are going to be different. I know I won’t take the same pleasure in the things I do before I leave. I feel it.
My dreams take me back to her. My heart fills with warmth as she lays her head on my shoulder, and I wrap her in my arms. The emotions draw me in, making me never want to let go, this is how I want to spend my eternity. A future that hasn’t happened makes me cry. I know in my heart that change was certain. But I don’t want her to know, to get scared. Maybe I am scared, that she won’t like the person I’ll become. What if she leaves me because of it? So I hug her now like I never have before. A thought crosses my mind. Stop thinking you’ll change! Fight it! Fight it, for her more than anyone! She’s worth the fight. She’s worth everything.
Worth me fighting the hard fight to get back from Hell. But what if my best isn’t good enough? You’ll die knowing you did happen to give your all. You’ll die knowing that you had a home, knowing someone had your heart. But do I have hers? It doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy simply knowing I have her in my life, and I want nothing more than for her to be happy. If I am unable to give her that, than I want her to be with the one who is able. Then, and only then, will I find any happiness in my death. And what happens if I don’t die over there? There’s only one way to find out.
I awoke finding tears on my face. We all have our own reasons for joining, for being here, I guess. I chuckle. When I get back. That thought began to infect my mind early in the war. It made me become lonely very quickly. “Well, whadya know? Y’all are sleepin’! Hurry up, we’ve got a platoon formation!” We were too lazy. “What, ya think I’m kidding? Maybe a few laps around the site will wake ya’ up!”