Monday, September 21, 2009


I heard a song yesterday that took me back to that all too familiar stare. I heard the first few notes, I closed my eyes and there I was...I was driving that Humvee down MSR (main supply route) Bronze heading outside the wire in Al Qaim, Iraq. I was proud of my ingenious setup. I rigged my Ipod and some external computer speakers there in the Humvee so that I could hear a refrain replay in my head other than, "Please don't blow up...please don't blow up" as I drove passed IED craters in the road. The song that I heard yesterday was one of my favorites at the time; Bad Company. And as is so often the case, I began to think about one small, minute (read small) memory of that place and I was fixated for an hour.

In that hour, I found understanding. I found release. I found peace. I found peace because I accepted that it will never go away. It gets easier as time and age replaces my memories, but it will never completely go away. A song, a smell, a sight, a sound and I will be right back there. I will return to the war-induced numbness that I had over there-for the rest of my life-at the simple hearing of a song. And it was and is just that...a numbness; an apathetic acceptance of my mortality. It was a coping mechanism. I thought I was over it. Yesterday, a song showed me otherwise.

I am not unique. I am not special. I am not alone. The very few Vets that I have spoken to, simply smile as I tell them of my condition. It is in that smile that I know I am perfectly normal and I am not alone. Their smiles say, "Welcome to our world. Your story sounds like life to us." I lost a part of my life over there, and a song showed me yesterday that I will never, ever get it back.