A very dear friend went back to Afghanistan this week. It hurts.

I miss Afghanistan, some times. Not the part where I’m away from my friends and family and home, but the mountains and the mornings and the smell of the place, and this friend, who was there with me.

It feels as though the universe is trying to kill all the people I love, but really, it is just the way I arranged my life, being in a place and career where I would learn to care for people who do the same damned fool dangerous things I did.

I miss you, Billy. Be careful.

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  One thought on “ache

  1. November 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve never been to Afghanistan but I know many people that ended up here in Kinshasa after a spell there. It’s tempting to envision myself there, sometimes. I think it will be even more tempting after I leave this life and go back to NC.

    What did you do when you were there?

    This life is not as dramatic as the one I imagine you had, but I know I’ll miss the uncertainty when I move on.

    • November 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      I was a civilian translator there- I worked primarily in the detainment facilities (non- interrogation work), facilitating detainee releases, as well as some on- the- fly translation at the gates. It was great work, but really draining, too.

      I miss it, and I don’t. It’s odd.

  2. November 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I hope your friend stays safe.

    The only time I’ve been in that part of the world was for Desert Storm, in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. I was with 1st AD so basically we were on our own, tent city sort of thing for the bulk of it. Flat desert.

    I’ve no desire to ever go back, based on my experiences. But to be fair, we had no interaction with the civilian population.

    • November 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

      I didn’t realize you were ex- military!

      I can’t say that I want to go back now, exactly. People that I love are there, and I worry; not that I could save them by being there, but at least, then, I’d know how my brother and my friends are, and I keep feeling as though there would be comfort there. It is illogical, but how I feel.

      A war zone is still stressful, frightening, and amazing, no matter what you’re doing: you learn a lot about yourself in that sort of situation. Dealing with the people on a daily basis makes huge difference; we had relationships, and we could speak to the people around us. I was in charge of a team that was working with Afghans, trying to do good things, and I think it was probably a much more positive experience than most people have in Afghanistan.

      I would love to return to Afghanistan, later, when this is over, if it ever is. It is a beautiful place.

      • November 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

        I think what you did would be much more rewarding, personally.

        For me, it was months of boredom punctuated by 4 days of — I don’t want to say ‘excitement’, actually — and it wasn’t fear — more relief that the waiting was over? then more months of boredom.

        But though I resigned my commission before I even started vet school (around 1994? 1995? I was no longer on active duty, was doing my pre-vet stuff at UT Austin, HATED the Reserves) I’ll admit after 9/11 I felt both guilt and relief that I wasn’t serving, if that makes sense.

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