You ever feel that desire that hunger to go back? I find it will creep around in my mind. Sometimes it goes dormant and I won’t think about it for a while. Sometimes its all I can think of. I miss the purpose, the drive, the fight, the adrenaline, most of all I think I miss the challenge. War was a proving ground for me. It taught me more about myself in a little more than 2 years than I had gained from my entire life. I learned I could be strong, I learned that breaking points were only imaginary barriers that we placed in our heads. I learned what pain and fear were and how little they matter. I learned friendship and brotherhood. I learned that adrenaline is the strongest drug on the planet, not to mention the endorphin rush you get after surviving an attack. I long for that palpable air of fear, sweat, anger, and danger. I once lived on the edge of dying on a daily if not hourly time frame. And now I sit on a couch or at this desk chair. It’s like going to solitary confinement for a crime I did not commit.
Oddly enough, I feel guilty for missing the combat zone. I feel guilty because my family and friends who weathered my 2 all expense paid trips to the middle east did their time. My longing to go back is something that they will never understand because in truth I don’t really understand it myself. The feeling of belonging and the responsibility that was laid on my shoulders while I was with a squad in the combat zone is something that I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to find again.
I even miss the rockets. That vibration you get in your chest when they thump into the ground, I can feel that fiery rush of adrenaline even now. Something about nearly dying everyday makes life so beautiful. With your mortality so vehemently shoved in your face you have no choice but to enjoy the little things, like strawberry ice cream after being on mission for a couple days and only eating MRE’s in 150 degree heat. Even experiences are enhanced. Think back to your time in the combat zone, how many times did you laugh until your sides hurt? How many times have you done that since? Was it that everyone was running around high on the fact they were still alive or so fried from the stress of combat that our emotions had gone hay-wire. It didn’t matter cause it was all funny. I suppose I am finding the little shiny things in a big pile of shit, but I guess I really liked those shiny things and I find myself missing them. I am curious to know if I am alone in this or if there are others like me that miss being out there, roughing, living in the shit, and making it out. It’s like a challenge placed before all Americans and I made it and I look around and see that I don’t belong here at the finish line but back somewhere in the middle of the race. Kind of like the rat that actually managed to live through the mouse trap and get the piece of cheese. Do you miss it? Did you learn how to get over the feeling? Am I just completely crazy?