So…I’ve written here and there about my lifelong friend and very first boyfriend: The “Jar-head”; the first non-fatherly or brotherly love of my existence; a true soldier, three times deployed; a big-boy sniper wound survivor; Career Tank-Gunner; completely fucking incorrigible; the veteran Marine. He’s been around lately because I offer some kind of familiar notion, no matter how vague and distant, to his strangely foreign-esque state of mind; he’s been home for a little over a year now (by “home”, I mean that he is back living where we grew up together in the valley, I mean that he is not at war in the desert somewhere in constant danger of being killed), and has just started to come out of his apartment without a medical reason within the past month or so. It was obvious to me right away that he is permanently changed in very deeply painful ways for him; knowing him for so many years and sharing “special” things with like the awkward virginity thing and all that just doesn’t feel real because he is so different than the “him” that I grew up with now, and rightfully. I tried getting him to open up and talk about shit, whatever it is, and he tried; but it seems he is too freshly traumatized to even form the event/s into any kind of translatable concept through words or even emotions at this point. I don’t push him, I know better than that.
I told him,
“That’s okay dude, you can come hang out and roll joints with me if you feel bad and need to be around someone or whatever…”
He commenced to spending strings of afternoons in eerie silence across the room with his back semi-turned to me and the TV off, which was kinda when I the empath awoke and I began to feel really awful for him. He’s not the emotional kinda guy by nature, shit, he grew up to be a Marine, that says it all. I always feel safe and always have in his presence, he has that way about him. He is very logical, practical, and decisive; he is tough and stuffs his emotions, that’s his way; he somehow survived a sniper round to the neck; he is imposing in size and has a sharp streak of machismo in his blood (again he’s a Marine, so there it is)…so, when he broke down a few days ago and cried like he had just run over his own puppy, it was profound and heart-wrenching. I was totally overcome by his sadness and loss and grief; it was one of the very few times I couldn’t keep myself from crying for someone else’ sake, in spite of my best efforts. It’s so fucked up that they don’t make some kind of counseling or support system available for these guys when they come home, damn them to Hell.