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Little Boy Gone

Check-in was “passenger only” so I couldn’t go in with Alex.  Instead, I watched through the glass for an agonizing forty-five minutes while he waded through a disorganized gaggle that passes for a line around here.  He has grown into a man, stronger than I am, and it is silly of me to fret about him.  Still, I see the little boy even as I look at the man.  I am profoundly sad to see him off.  Separation from family is easy to contemplate but harder to live.

I had a good time with him in Egypt and it is hard to go back to Iraq.  I traveled again through Kuwait.  Ali Al Salem is not a nice place.  The chow hall in not as good as Al Asad and tent living is intrinsically difficult.  This time was worse.  I got in late so they put me in a big barracks tent with bunk beds.  All the beds were full except one top bunk.  I took it.  It was drafty and uncomfortable.   I was worried that I would fall out, not that I usually fall out of bed, but it is like standing near a cliff w/o a guard rail.  You can walk close to the edge of sidewalk w/o a thought, but when there is a drop off, you just feel less secure.

From Kuwait, I flew on a C17.  It is a flying warehouse.  We were packed in like sardines, but the flight to Al Asad lasted only an hour.   I had my gear on my lap and pressed against the seat in front of me, so I could not take a deep breath, but as long as I did not try to move around, it wasn’t so bad.  I slept most of the way.   The funny thing was that when I got back to my can at Al Asad, it felt like home.  You can get used to anything.


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