They speak of coming back from the war, but the war comes back, too, and will follow all the days of your life. Walking down the street, a sudden movement. You crouch, you sweat, you shake. You reach for the rifle you don’t have with you. At night, you’re back in battle, sand in your eyes, sun beating down, praying you don’t hit an IED.
When will it end? Some days, you think soon. Other days, you think never. Your wife tiptoes in the kitchen, not wanting to disturb you. Your children run outside, stay out all day, don’t know when you’ll erupt, yell at nothing. At night, you wake screaming and the children cry in their beds. Your wife strokes your head with a cool cloth, but it can’t reach inside and cool the heat of battle.
You don’t know how to fight this battle. They didn’t train you for this. They trained you for the battle you brought home, but not the one you found when you got here.