When you walk into the padre’s office, you don’t close the door; otherwise, people know you’re there on Serious Business. You lean casually, just inside the doorway, and speak French to him in a building of Anglophones.
A boy, soon to be a man, sees a way out of a life he no longer wants and a chance to make some good in the world by joining the military. He gets his degree. He gets his commission. He starts bucking for a tour.
Things go as planned, until he meets a woman who can read his mind and knows what he means with his bullshit lines. They date. She proposes. He goes away on work-up training. He accepts. He decides they need to make it legal before he goes. They don’t really know each other but figure they’ll have time for that over the next 15 or 20 years.
Six weeks into his tour, he’s seen things he’d only read about. He is finally on his tour, making his mark. That’s when the suicidal ideation comes back. He is lucky enough to have a cell phone and good calling plan and can call home a couple of times a week. They don’t keep much from each other so she tells him right away. It’s not twelve hours after the second phone call, and he’s ready to do what it takes to make it right at home. Even if it means losing the tour he’s fought so hard to be on.
—Photo The U.S. Army/Flickr