I've made it.  What now?

I've made it. What now?

A by Dms

        It was hardest that first year. I had nightmares, like any vet I suppose, but they didn't all involve combat. In some, I'd wake up and fall out of bed, scrambling across the floor in search of my rifle. Other times I'd open my eyes and run to the basement to throw on my old uniform, then tear my house apart searching for kiwi to polish my boots. Of course, I'd realize pretty quickly that there was no surprise inspection, or any reason to pick up a rifle. You'd think that would be a relief, but at times, it would just wreck me.
        Starting college felt to me like abandoning my old life. I felt like a traitor. I imagined my old Army buddies going off and having more adventures, just like in the good old days, only now I wasn't there. Sometimes I wondered if they'd forget me, though in their letters they always mentioned how my name would find it's way into conversations. Then I'd imagine horrible things happening to them that I might have been able to prevent had I been there. That was the worst of it.

        I remember him calling me when he found out he was going to deploy. I told him how it was over there, and how it would be fine if he just kept his eyes peeled and his head down. I was wrong. He died over there in the dust and the heat. He died believing what I had told him. I guess luck has a big part to play in the sand box. I always knew I'd been lucky over there, but it never struck home quite so soundly until I heard about him. I cried for two hours that day. At home. In private. That was all the crying I could muster. After that, I couldn't shed another tear, even when I tried.

        Still we carry on, as they say. I had a pretty good relationship with a beautiful girl for about a month and a half I think. She was interesting, funny, affectionate, and when we were together I'd always get what I liked to call, happy bubbles. We'd laugh for hours about nothing, and talk for hours about everything. Still, there was always a space between us. I don't think she knew about it. I think at heart, everyone has that one unforgivable sin that they never want anyone to know about. Perhaps that was why I broke up with her. I didn't like that little bubble of dishonesty between us. Of course I compounded the lie by telling her it was something else. I said that I was too comfortable around her, and that it felt more like a friendship to me. I prayed that she wouldn't cry. She didn't, at least not in front of me.

        I've always had lofty ideals about romance. I can honestly say to this day I remain a virgin. At first, I guess it was a religious decision, though I consider myself far from pious. As I got older, I began to wonder about it. Girls started paying attention to me when I began lifting weights my first year in the Army. My face changed, my body changed, and my personality changed quite a bit. The only thing that remained constant was that wedge of insecurity that held the door open just a crack, allowing every opportunity to slip out and disappear.

        I suppose to a point, I distrust the fairer sex. I've been used romantically a few times. I never really thought about it when it happened. I just figured, "Oh well, if she doesn't want me, she doesn't want me. Carry on." Then after the third time I began to think, "Maybe I'm just a terrible person. Maybe they can sense my sins. Maybe I deserve this." The more I thought about it, the more apprehensive I became about sexual contact. I started picking it apart analytically. The exchanging of fluids. The germs. The filth. It made me queasy.

        Yet, even still I am attracted to women. I still long for companionship. Wide eyes, curvy lips, and delicate features still make me weak in the knees. I spent the night with a young black woman in Virginia, just before I moved back to Wisconsin. She was beautiful, strong, confident, and had a great sense of humor. She had suggested it because I'd been locked out of the barracks one night early and was preparing to sleep in my car. On the way to her place she confessed that she'd always had a crush on me. I told her that I'd always found her attractive as well. When we came into her neighborhood she laughed saying, "All these porch monkeys around here are always tryin to holla at me. Now they staring cause I'm bringing a white boy into my house."
        I slept that night on her couch, and the next morning before I left, she gave me her number, and told me she'd be doing business in Wisconsin from time to time. I'm ashamed that I lost that number. Not because I wanted to do anything crude with her. I just wanted to tell her that she was beautiful. I wanted her to know she was special, and that she deserved the best kind of man. An honest man who didn't have secrets.
        
        Young women still puzzle me. There are those that flirt, and those that stare and smile, and drop imperceptibly subtle hints of interest that could so easily be anything else. The friendly ones tend to be unavailable. The others, so unobtrusive that I'm often afraid I might offend them if I were to say anything. It's a game, I've been told. I guess I'm not much of a sportsman. So, for the time being, I keep out of romantic entanglements, and it's probably for the best.
        

        I'm in my third year now since leaving the Army. I still think about it. I still have the nightmares from time to time, though, after so many they seem more like ordinary dreams now. I've grown used to them, and a great many other things. I've grown used to being alone. At times, I've even enjoyed it. No children come to my door on Halloween. No neighbors sing carols at Christmas. The only phone calls that I get are in relation to bills, or messages from my parents and siblings. I have a few friends, but most are too far away to visit. And while I sit and stare at my walls I can think to myself, "Here it is. I've made it."
        

© 2009 Dms


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Featured Review

This is strong. From a purely literary standpoint, this is a very strong piece. Looking at it from any other standpoint, it still communicates a very strong and sobering feel.

Reading it feels like reading someones thoughts directly, like they were written down immediately. The first person and the rather jumpy paragraphs make it feel so much like real thought. This added to the eerily matter-of-fact presentation contribute an amazing amount to the meaning and strength of the piece. It's almost brutal in its honesty.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I agree, this is such a strong write, and SO very pleasing to read. I really liked it and am going to read more of you, and look for more of your writings, good job :)

Posted 15 Years Ago


I have nothing to do now but sit in wait to find out if this piece is continued. i'll check you're other stoires, but if it isnt, i strongly encourage you to continue it. This piece conveys a message that is somewhat clear yet vague at the same time. It speaks to me "This was created to say something. And it accomplished the task."

I like it and will continue to read your work.

Posted 15 Years Ago


I can not say I am a writer that has had a lot of work, but I am a book lover and i would read your writing anyday

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is strong. From a purely literary standpoint, this is a very strong piece. Looking at it from any other standpoint, it still communicates a very strong and sobering feel.

Reading it feels like reading someones thoughts directly, like they were written down immediately. The first person and the rather jumpy paragraphs make it feel so much like real thought. This added to the eerily matter-of-fact presentation contribute an amazing amount to the meaning and strength of the piece. It's almost brutal in its honesty.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Whoa. Holy whoa.

I've got nothing but respect and a lot to say, I'll send you a PM instead though. What I'll say here is that you should start blogging on wordpress or blogger. Soldier blogs are insanely popular especially in this political climate, with enough of a reader base you could sell ad space and pay your way through college (like us bloggers with nothing relevant to write about only aspire to do).

Thank you for sharing this.

Posted 15 Years Ago


Dave...is this your actual story thus far? It sounds a lot like your real life.

You gonna be busy after nine, dude?

I'm calling.

I cannot get over just how candid and brutally honest this entire thing comes off. You are FAR braver than I. I've tried to let my feelings be known to the reading world, but I'm just no there yet. I salute you, bro. By the way, I read the comments on the things you went over the other day. All valid points. tweaking the work right this moment.

I'm calling after nine, dude.

Hawksmoor...From The Bleed.

Posted 15 Years Ago



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Added on March 18, 2009

Author

Dms
Dms

Plain, WI



About
For those of you visiting me for the first time, my name is David Stienmetz. I'm 25 years old, and a six year Army veteran. Since getting out, I've started college, bought a house, had a bad.. more..

Writing
Wolf's Head Wolf's Head

A Story by Dms



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