I am shocked at how such intense things fade over time. While you are knee deep in it, there is nothing else you can think of. You can’t see beyond the end of the day or even into the next minute, intensely in the now. Even the years following things are fresh, like it just happened yesterday.
Fading memories and a few trinkets are now all that is left. Sometimes they flash hot like the sun after a summer movie. Some days it is like something just out of grasp like that word you search for but never find. Memories are tricky.
For some reason we were put in the same four man room but it was just the two of us. That was exceptionally rare, two boots in their own room.
I think in the first weekend I heard more country music in those hours than I had in the previous eighteen years. It drove me nuts. Chasing neon rainbows to friends in low places. It wasn’t until Japan that I would yell across the barracks with requests. Mostly Cowboy Bill, we would sing from our bunks. I would trade anything for one more verse.
I also never knew anyone who chewed. There were no less than two one liter bottles of capped spit within your reach at all times. Your lip was always puffed out.
You had this love Andrew Dice Clay. I think he must have told me he would call me in an hour back, get it? Over and over. I didn’t get it. I kinda still don’t but you cracked yourself up.
Then there were a number of concussions with Cpt. French was attempting to teach us boxing and martial arts. That only turned into barracks fights between us. I’m pretty sure you are the reason I wear glasses today, you nearly tore my eyes out every chance you got. I also learned it only takes 7 or 8 pounds of pressure to remove a human ear.
I remember you bitching about 1st Sgt Hill, you and some others had to drag old squad tent to the top and back down again. This hill was about half a mile away and steep. It was so steep you had to crawl up on all fours, so steep you feared going down. Everyone was supposed to crest the hill and descend as fast as possible. Once everyone completed the task leave would begin. Crow and I were somewhere else when it started but your rat bastard ass dimed us out. Little did you know we never really climbed it, we just ran a bit and jumped into the brush. Nothing better than skating.
I remember how you would describe home, I always thought Mason was the center of everything. I know it was the center of everything you were.
It is funny how close you become to someone so quickly and how quickly that changes once you leave. The memories fade a bit like an old picture. You can still make it out but you need to concentrate as the years slip by.
These are some memories that have suddenly been reduced to half, the other half is gone. My half is slowly fading.
Mic I have regrets. I should have traveled to see you after your first stroke. And your second. I should have sat with you during dialysis. I can’t forgive myself for not doing it.
Until we meet on the other side.
2 thoughts on “Now only half.”
Oh my, this is touching and heartbreaking and funny. Thank you so much for trusting this to our community.
I feel privileged to be let in to memories. I can’t help but glean through your writing, that the time spent with one another was sacred in its intensity and fragility. Maybe it was better that you continued to remember each other only from those days, when you were prime. Sometimes a later experience can mar the holiness of that time and space like no other. Like they say – you can never go back.
Thank you for your service, and thank you for sharing this part of you with us.