amy, my partner, flew to maine last week. she got back on tuesday evening. while waiting for her beautiful smiling face to swim into sight, the secret pain of war was all around me. i was eagerly waiting for my partner to come home from a 5 day trip (which i did not handle the separation well, at all) but families were being torn apart before my eyes. mommies and daddies going off to war. war for something unknown, secret, nonsensical. mommies and daddies leaving their babies and partners and parents and life behind to force “democracy” down the throats of our collective enemies. most of them will come home, but none of them will ever be the same.
when we first walked in i noticed a black couple hugging each other. the man was in his bdu’s-the camo uniform-the woman was in jeans and a tshirt. her fists were clenched, her head buried in his chest. he had his jaw locked, arms around her, eyes looking off into the distance. i don’t know them. but i have seen this for years. i have seen that look in the man’s eyes before.
my youngest son was with me waiting for amy. he was very excited to see amy, too. they are close. we are looking toward the area where passengers are beginning to stagger out.
then a woman with a tiny baby in her arms walks past us, toward the exit. she has a little boy by the hand. the boy is screaming, tears running down his red little cheeks, beads of sweat on his forehead, curls of black hair bobbing with every step, every step away from his father.
“NO!!! BUT DADDY!!! GO GET DADDY!!! MOMMY!!! PLEASE STOP!!! We Are leaving da….” his voice trailed away as his mother ushered him out the door. her face was set, eyes red. she looked tired. she looked resigned, but set to deal with this.
my son looked at me, his eyes shifting toward where the child was, silently questioning what was happening.
“his dad is going to war, sam.”
more than likely the boy’s father will come back. more than likely he will have seen and done things in the name of his country that are unspeakable. he will not speak them. maybe he will not have nightmares. maybe when the little boy sees his daddy again his daddy will be the same man he pictured in his head while walking through the door to the parking lot. maybe his parents will survive the separation. maybe daddy will get some help for dealing with the loss of humanity he must suffer to do his job. maybe when he comes home he won’t be violent. more than likely that is not going to happen. a part of him will always be at war. a part of him will always think of the faces of strangers he has seen dead or bleeding or torn apart physically by him or his comrades. ppl that he doesn’t know. other kids mommies and daddies.