Drink after drink, song after song. I begin to drift away. I forget the present and drift into the past. I am in a world of plywood, not drywall. I am in a world of bullets, not butterflies. I am in a world of destruction, not peace.
Drink after drink, song after Song. I begin to drift away. I drift away into a world all but forgotten. I drift away like the veterans before me. I drift away into a place so few understand. I drift away into the music of our time, filled with the plight of the veteran. The “Hero of War,” the “Letters from Home,” the “When the World Stopped,” the “Hallelujah Veteran Version,” the united patriotism. Song after song, someone must have shared, drink after drink.
Like the generations of veterans before me, I love and despise something I can never re-live. I chase and run away from something in the past. I want that which I cannot have and yet, I do not want it I weep for something I hate and love. No matter how much I understand, it is still a mystery. The world looks upon war in nuanced black and white. They establish rules to be broken. They ask us to succeed at all costs and ostracize our reality.
As time passes the stories leak—the eyes of the inexperienced look with awe, amazement, and horror. The realities of war are expressed in the spoken words of the experienced. Drink after drink, the stories begin to leak. Drink after drink, and the world begins to understand. They begin to understand that which we hope they might never know.
Drink after drink, I remember the forgotten. I weep for what was lost. I weep for what I desire and despise. Drink after drink, I seek to suppress the anger the drink enhances. Maybe, drink after drink, I know what it brings. Drink after drink, I become immobilized as the past merges with the present. Drink after drink, I drift away into tomorrow.
Jake Smith is a law enforcement officer and former Army Ranger with four deployments to Afghanistan.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.