July 14, 2009

The Shape of Things to Come

"Our thoughts are clay, they are moulded with the changes of the days;--when we are resting they are good; under fire, they are dead. Fields of craters within and without."

- Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet On The Western Front

He had told me a week or two ago that he only wanted to come home for two reasons: Eileen and beer.

There I was, watching a movie. It was All Quiet on the Western Front, a 1930s classic I stumbled upon in the library last week. Although I was really liking it-despite the over-acting, it had some cool cinematography and meaningful scenes-I watched it how I've watched most movies the last few months; volume slightly down, and shrunken a bit from full screen. Like a lot of things in my life, I've adapted this to fit my new life- determined not to miss Sky if he pops up on the screen.

The movie was about halfway through-I had just finished a montage of boots being passed from soldier to soldier, as one would die and someone new would inherit them-when I saw my screen flicker. I hit pause, and saw it was Orsay. He had typed two words: finally home.

Cue the tears.

He told me that it was his girlfriend's birthday tomorrow. He was home just in time. He's home earlier than the rest of his group, after having sat in Washington DC with injuries. We'd talked a few days before, and he was listing all the benefits- he wouldn't have to carry his bags home, he had people cooking for him, etc. I laughed and was glad that, even under those circumstances, one of the guys I knew had made it back to the states. But when I saw that he was home, back in Illinois tonight, all I could think was how his girlfriend Eileen felt, his family felt-how he felt. It brought up a million questions that I danced around asking. All I felt like saying was, "Congratulations" over and over and over again.

So the kid that swam with Andy and I last summer and did amazing Napoleon Dynamite imitations is home. And he'll ignore the bandages the second his girlfriend picks him up for a day together. I'm happy for him, but happy for her as well, even though we've never met. I envy her relief.

Things here are changing. My dad will talk about waiting to do something until Andy is back. Things are starting to be planned around him. People talk to me daily about Sky coming home. I look at the calendar and realize it's only a few weeks away. Not months away-weeks. The days are starting to form, turning from vague ideas to upcoming hopes. I think only about seeing my brother and giving him a hug. And I daydream about finding Sky- to kiss him like he's never been kissed before.


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