is in her mid fifties. I see her when walk out to the shitters. Every move weighs heavy with significance. Her arms are crossed over her ACU patterned IBA, her eyes glazed over. No one walks very quickly. Her male counterpart speaks with a couple of NCOs. Their voices hushed as if the subject of their conversation might hear them. He won’t. The civilian’s tear stained eyes stare into nothingness. I wonder if she watched them put him in a body bag or when the pieces of him were place in a hazardous waste bag.
I take an autopilot piss and think about my life. I think about his life. I don’t know much about him. I think I heard something about a new wife. I don’t want to fucking think about this. I breeze back inside, fly down. Civilian makes eye contact. She’s the right age to have a son as young as he was. She’s the right age to have a son as young as I am. Where did she go when she heard the explosion? Did the gunshots scare her? Does she know her way around a weapon? She’s probably prior service. Does she know the cycle operation for my semiautomatic, magazine fed, recoil-operation, double-action weapon? Did she ever go to a promotion board? She turns her head and I feel her watching me until I turn an out of sight corner. I have an overwhelming urge to hug her.
But I don’t, obviously. Instead I lay on my bed, sweaty clothes cold against my skin. I listen to the Fugees trying hard not to think about her. I try hard not to think about him, not yet, at least. Not for a while.
I don’t write about it for a while. I do write about it, though. It really does help. When I finish I don’t push publish. Instead I queue it until such a time when I won’t have internet anyway. This is all so weird.
So this is war.