War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

after the tour - desert diver (3)

3 months after the tour you txt.
meet me for a beer. 4. the pub near work. want to see u.

but I can’t that week. then you can’t the next. then I can’t the one after that. and I almost give up.

another Friday, another txt
well…

you txt back big party. 5. come down. meet the guys

where? I txt back, think to myself, what’ll I wear to meet a bunch of gucci navy divers. the ne plus ultra of the waterworld.

meanwhile outside, a good friend, Cpl. D, infantryman, chops and chops. splits wood for my woodstove. for another cold winter. I don’t know how to split wood. and I’m too damned tired to learn right now. he wants to help me through this tough go. (make me a list, he says, and I will). he’s teaching me to golf too. we’re making it through. we’re making it through.

no txt back for hours. over coffee I ask D, is it a man thing or an army/navy thing this radio silence? D just shrugs and laughs, says, don’t ask me. I’m the worst for getting in touch.

finally after I’ve made other plans you txt directions. I race to get dressed. because I want to see you so bad.

down a long road into the woods. past a guard shack. I’m going to see P, he invited me I tell the guard. go on ahead. there’s a big party. have fun. the guard points left.

I drive past the helicopter pad. towards the ocean. park behind the mess. I can hear you laugh and laugh. I walk in. and there you are. all muscles and tattoos and smiles.

just like last time when I saw you deep outside the wire in A’stan. down in that place I can’t say its name. little village. white schoolhouse. Russian. mortared roof. where we hugged and hugged when we saw each other. then another day down there, you held me tight, let me cry and cry my broken heart until your t-shirt was soaked.

last time I saw you over there, you were all dressed up. helmet. flack. ballistics. getting ready to go. the first big op. I waved goodbye. watched all of you leave the compound in a cloud of dust. head into the unknown. I knew that if you came home alive you’d be a different man.

I stayed close to you last night in the mess. not out of shyness. but near you to make sure you’re alive. and because near you I feel safe. safer than I have in months and months. just as I felt safe in that other place bizarrely, considering there were RPG launchers, you-name-it, aimed at us. I stayed close to you because somehow you make what I’ve been through, what I’ve seen, real.

and I’m glad desert diver. so glad. you’ve come home through it. home to your beautiful wife. your beautiful child. I’m so glad to know you.


About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled after the tour - desert diver (3). It was posted here on October 16, 2010.

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