The cold winter air nipped at my neck, as the icy breeze blew through the pines. It didn’t help the concrete bench didn’t absorb heat. A small smile crept across my face.
“Mom was right, every day is not a bad day.”
I bounced between one horror and the next between 2013-2015. To combat my increasing weight, I joined a gym. It did little to alleviate the darkness in my mind. It was a distraction-nothing more.
Progress slowly came with the maximum effort I gave. My educational goals were losing their luster, I was going through the motions of having a life. In the loss of my house, funny isn’t it how a house is not a home without love in it, I moved into a one-bedroom apartment. It was in the ghetto of Colorado Springs.
It didn’t take long for me to become discontented with the gym. Sure, I made progress, but it didn’t bring me peace. Of all the things I longed for, I wanted to be at peace.
“I’ve fought for over a decade, I’m done fighting. I just want to be a man of peace.”
And still, I struggled. I met many nice people during my studies, but few stuck around. Three people stuck it out with me. Today, I can say they are my friends, but only because they stuck by me when I was at my worst.
My disillusionment with life grated on my nerves. This non-caring, go through the motions husk was not who I am. I’d never been so low. At the end of 2015, I came home to find a notice on my door.
In light of the recent repairs and upgrades to the apartments there will be an increase in rent. Your payment, beginning 01 January 2016, will increase to 700 dollars a month. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.”
Questions were not in short supply. I had plenty of questions. “I can’t afford to live in this dump now, how will I make it come January?” There was only one option on the table, one lifeline left to me. I picked up my phone and called home.
“Hello,” my mother said on the other end of the line.
“Hey, mom. I’ve got a small problem.”
“My rent’s gone up again. There’s no way for me to stay here, can I move home?”
“You’ll have to ask your dad, hold on.”
Of course, my father told me to come home. In 2016, on a cold day in January, I moved home to Mississippi. Physically, I was home. Mentally though, I’d never left the blood-soaked sands of Iraq.
My mind was still a battlefield. Still, I was home.
Pawpaw always told me that things must get worse before they can get better. Things had gotten worse; would it ever get better?
Yeah, it would. Eventually. Every journey of recovery begins with a single step. Then another.