Thursday, January 11

My Soldier

My soldier’s name is Eddie. I’ve known him for years, since he was a cadet at the Citadel Military College in Charleston. Eddie is one of the best people I know. He is kind and honest and would go to hell and back for a friend. I’ve been keeping up with him through emails and voicemails. The time difference between Iraq and the east coast makes it a little tricky to actually get to talk to each other on the phone, but we managed that a couple of times. He never talks to me about what’s going on there. The only ideas I get of what he must be going through I get from the media because he is adept at not answering questions and I have learned not to ask any more. He’s been gone since April and around Thanksgiving the phone calls stopped. The emails stopped. At first I thought he was moving to another base, and then I thought that I must have done something to piss him off –I thought of anything to avoid having to think of him hurt or killed. I avoided phone calls from mutual friends because I didn’t want to hear about it—I didn’t want to know.
I got an email from Eddie yesterday. I never stopped writing to him and I finally got an answer! He had been transferred and his voicemail wasn’t working- email was tricky. He had left messages on my cell that I never got. It was a comedy of errors that was not at all amusing. What matters the most is that we haven’t lost each other- and for that we are both grateful.
I couldn’t watch the President’s address last night. I just couldn’t do it. It’s not that I personally loathe the man (although I do), and it’s not that I was too distracted thinking about Eddie (although I was). I was just tired. I couldn’t think about 20,000 more groups of friends and families panicking because of a lost email. I couldn’t think of them praying each night that the phone doesn’t ring. I’m tired.
I don’t believe that we ever should have gone to Iraq. I don’t know how we can leave now with the country in shambles. Most of my life I have been a political addict. I read all of the newspapers and I have opinions on every issue. I think people who don’t vote should be kicked out of the country. I have never understood how you could just not care. I am starting to understand. At some point it is too much; too many lies and too many dead and the road ahead is just too hard. There is no trust and too much doubt. I never thought that I could turn away from a problem this complex and politically charged and be this selfish but I just want my soldier home.