I was riding on the bus. Bright day. I squint to lessen the light, shapes of buildings passing, some trees. I close my eyes and remember.
Days first light through the trees, the smell of wood, wet leaves. Autumn. Maryland breeze. Running. Curving with the road into the dark of a thicker grove of trees. Dawn at Fort Meade. In training. Running in formation.
We quicken the pace, our drill sergeant pushing us up the hill. It’s a mind game, the quickening. Can’t keep up, our bodies cry out. Some fall back. Pain in the legs, the feet, crawling up, working into my hips, slowing me down.
Sweat-soaked shirts. The cool of the air, wet and thick. Even breathing requires work. The pat-pat-pat of feet on pavement. Passing street lights, one, two, three. The morning brightens.
I’m back in Iraq. That’s it? I dream of training? That’s what I miss? Oh Lord, save me from myself! That is far too hooah for the common man.