I’ve walked by manholes in New York City streets and smelled the sludge river I walked along in north Baghdad in 2008. I’ve stopped dead in my tracks to watch a street hawker in Midtown, a large black man with a rolling laugh and a British accent, who looked just like my old scout platoon’s interpreter. And I’ve had every single slamming dumpster lid — every single damn one — rip off my fatalistic cloak and reveal me to be, still, a panicked young man desperate not to die because of an unseen I.E.D.
Despite these metaphysical dalliances with time travel the names on my black bracelet are, in fact, stuck in time. Or, more accurately, stuck in memory, where they’ll fade out and disappear like distant stars before becoming shadows of the men we served with and knew.
So it goes.
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