What have we done?

I think it was five beers in total. Not much when I was in college, perhaps, but I'm older now and out of practice.

We talked about the Army, and Afghanistan, and the people we brought over, brought back, and left behind. We ate some excellent steaks. We heard the stories again, and we told the stories again, and we didn't interrupt when we heard one we'd heard before, because we know that the secret is in the telling, not the hearing. We asked the questions that shouldn't be asked, and we left unvoiced the questions that others ask, because they've been asked and answered before--water under the bridge.

I saw the valleys and the mountains, and I smelled the gun smoke and I heard the zipzipzip of incoming rounds and I felt the Humvee rock on its springs as the F-18s released their concussive payloads, and I saw again the local nationals who have bet it all on our notoriously fickle public policies, and I felt the SAW hammer at my hands, the ratatatatatatatatataPING as the casings ricocheted off the roof of the truck and then off the front glacis plate. I felt the frustration of 11 time zones of separation from my beloved. I heard the haunted tones from comrades who were seeing their own visions from OEF VII.

And I wondered whether we are draining painful blisters when we reminisce about the defining moments in our lives, or whether we are merely picking half-healed scabs...

Sig