display | more...

It’s been almost eight years since a good kid came back from the war. A lot of shit has happened in between.

In the interim, he’s been engaged twice but never made his way down to the altar. He claims he doesn’t know the exact reason for these and other failed relationships. Somehow, things just seem to fall apart somewhere along the way. Oh well, maybe next time.

He says that although he wants to make a commitment, he just can’t seem to follow through on it.

He’s also had about six or seven jobs during that time, mostly working in kitchens and doing manual labor. None of them ever seem to stick. I guess the heat in the kitchen doesn’t compare to the heat of the desert when he was humping around a base plate as part of a mortar team stuck in God knows where.

He says that although he wants to make a commitment, he just can’t seem to follow through on it.

He tried to go back to school but that lasted only about one semester. I guess the quiet of the classroom doesn’t compare to the chaos of war when you’re calling in helicopter and air strikes and shit is blowing up all around you.

He says that although he wants to make a commitment, he just can’t seem to follow through on it.

Every few month’s he “reserves” a table for eight in our local watering hole even though they don’t take reservations. Only four of his fellow veterans show up. The other seats are reserved for those members of his unit who came home in body bags. The rest of us regulars let them have their space and the owner always picks up their tab. They’ve earned it.

We can’t help eavesdropping on their conversation though. Most of them tell the same story he tells about commitment and when they catch us listening in, they fall silent. We feel a sense of guilt and turn our eyes back to whatever was on the television set behind the bar. Their conversation resumes and we try and not make the same mistake twice.

Sometimes, when he comes in by himself and after he knocks back a few you can see that while he’s physically there his mind has drifted off to another place. None of us know what to say to shake him from his stupor and there’s an awkwardness that exists that never existed before he went off to war.

We feel ashamed since while our eyes can look away, his memories seemed destined to remain.

Note: The title and inspiration for this w/u comes in the form of a website called six word war in which returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq were asked to describe their experiences in exactly six words. Pretty moving stuff if you ask me.

The person I refer to as a good kid actually does exist and his picture in his Marine Corp Dress Blues holds a place of honor behind the bar.

The owner says that for as long as the place is around, it always will

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.