It was a dark-humid night. The stars were brighter than ever and the
sky finally black. I walked out of my office and stared at the sky.
Watching the world and thinking about how I used to do the same thing
in California and Oklahoma.
The moment was quickly ruined by a loud slam of trailer trucks
loading. Busy Iranian men working in the warm night. I walked down to
the smoking area. I then pulled out a Cohiba and sat down, lit the
tiny cigar and took a hit, staring into the sky. I was lost. In my own
world. Just thinking and trying to recover from a long day. Motivating
myself by saying, "one more year," over and over in my head.
About five minutes passed and then a soldier walked right passed me.
Tears falling from his face, spilling his heart on the warm sand. I
just watched. I could feel his pain. But all I could do was feel sorry
for him. In his left hand was a small t-shirt. In his right, a picture
of his son.
"Brand new baby boy." He looked down sniffing, holding back tears. I
put my pathetic reasons to stay sane out in the sand and threw it
away, while the smoke continued to drift into the air.
"I'm sorry to hear that man," I said. "I don't know what to say."
He looked up. "We really don't serve much of a purpose here brotha
man, I'm surprised your ass hasn't gone crazy yet."
I stood there with my hands on my hip, spitting, trying to get the
horrible taste of cigar out of my mouth. "I have. I went crazy the
moment I stepped foot on that bus." I teared up. "I went crazy the
moment I realized I have family in Oklahoma and California. I went
crazy the moment I looked at my friends, trying to hold back tears as
I walked into this life."
He wiped his eyes looked down and his voice cracked. "My god I miss my
family. This will be my third deployment. I haven't even been around
for my son's birthdays...but that wouldn't matter much to you."
I sat next to him and we both just stared into the sky while
conversing. "I understand how you feel," I said. "Well not 100
percent all the way. But missing everyone! Oh yeah." He laughed,
"You're alright, Olivas. I'm sorry I was so hard on you back at
Ft.Sill. I figured you just one of those stuck up Cali boys who
noticed the mistake he has made." I giggled with the shrug of my
shoulders, responding. "There's more of them? I had no idea."
The conversation ended there. He continued to tear up every five
minutes or so. Sad to say, I know his little boy. So happy and
oblivious to everything that goes on. Very tough, could take a scrape
on the knee with a bite of the lip and walk away from it. And he loves
his father so so much. Came to work with him every other day back at
Ft. Sill. and he smiled the whole time. And laughed when it was
I guess I'm not the only guy suffering out here. I'm sure every I.E.D
that blows up around these soldiers, the first thing that comes to
mind - after the initial feeling of shock - is a very big urge to go
home and just hold someone. I'm fortunate enough that my back has
finally given up on me. Now I can no longer go on the convoys into
Iraq from Kuwait. But that just makes me feel like a waste of soldier
out here. I see all the Navy guys, the Marines and Air Force sharing
moments with the Army. Hand shakes and smiles. How do they do it? How
do they go through all this pain and separation, but continue to
smile. I struggle just to stay mentally happy for more than half of
Those are the real soldiers. The ones who know every thing will be
o.k. And every thing will be the same when they get home. For me,
every thing is changing. Though I do know everything will be o.k. I
still envy everyone at home. And I wish for a moment my brain would
stop working at 1,000 thoughts a second.
Hard to say what I'm going to do when I get home, or where I will be.
But I'm not thinking too hard about my future. I'm just trying to keep
the motivation to have a future.
I love you all and miss you very very much.
-Marc Olivas, Soldier currently deployed in Kuwait