Who am I? A Walk in Darkness…

“Who am I?”

Under a cloudless sky, the blazing, bright orange sun burns me through my clothes. My gaze is cast out upon the sea of endless sand, my thoughts questioning my very existence. Yellow sand swirls around me, stirred by the furious whipping of the rotors of gunships hovering overhead. “You know who you are, you’re Freeman.  You’re here to make a difference, to avenge those lost on 9/11. Own the darkness, embrace the hate, let it fuel your righteous rage!” This doesn’t sound like me at all.

“Who am I?”

“I don’t know” is the only answer I can give myself. Somewhere between the training in preparation for war and the life I left behind, I have lost the most important part of my humanity. The sun continues to torch my flesh, and I wonder if I will ever recover from this loss. “How important is it to know who you are, really? You now have an opportunity to redefine who you are!” Yellow sand beats against my dark shades and my Kevlar covered hands pull the brown gatorneck over my mouth.  I wipe the sweat from the top of my head, put on my helmet and trudge to my vehicle.

“Who am I?”

I climb into the driver’s seat and start my vehicle. The roar of the diesel engine breaks my thoughts and for a moment, I have a sense of peace. It doesn’t last. Yellow sand hits the ballistic windshield and I am thankful to be out of the sandstorm. “I don’t want to redefine who I am! I liked who I was, there was nothing wrong with the nice guy from Mississippi!” In a moment of clarity, the truth sinks in. The “nice guy” from Mississippi was killed during basic training. All the training to be a warrior decimated the remains of my past. All that remains is the angry man who is fueled by vengeance. “Give in to the hate, embrace the darkness.”

“Who am I?”

I don’t know, but I don’t like this.

21 September 2019

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