Somewhere in a forgotten war, over a decade ago, he died. His eight-day struggle ended. Somewhere, in this window of time, my brain takes hold. I can recite their every date. Yet I can never remember that fateful date.
I can never remember the day it started, only the day it ended. Yet, my body seems to know. This window, the window between my first firefight and first loss. It seems to be a subconscious window. Somehow I always forget and seemingly remember.
Today, it all ended. Somewhere, at the beginning of this date, I need to feel nothing and everything. I numbed my body and soul, only to seek pain. Strike after strike. I found myself punching the metal safe, knowing my human flesh could do no damage against its metal exterior.
I punched and I punched, almost without thought. Strike after strike. I felt nothing. My knuckles were purple and bruised. I felt only the dullest pain. If not for the brain, I would have continued. I would have continued until my fingers were left stiffened and aching. I would have struck and struck until the blood ran red. I would have never stopped.
What is the pain of the living compared to the sacrifice of the dead?
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.