He's tall with a shaved head, with a leanness that could make one describe him as "rangy". There is a laid back demeanor about him that betrays his Southern roots, a calmness that disappears as soon as he downs a couple beers. He's been one of my closest friends for at least five years, and he's one of those people that no matter where the Army sends him, he'll always be in contact with me, and it's always like no time has passed.
Leaning against my refrigerator with a Miller in hand, he talks to my father about all kinds of things while his fiance, who is sincerely one of the nicest girls I've ever met, bullshits with my mother about... well, whatever women talk about. Probably candles or cooking or something.
"I'm out in February. I go to Fort (whatever) on January 2, and then they deploy me."
They are sending him to Afghanistan, for our other bullshit war with another third world country that will never amount to anything except death. People talk about putting a human face on the war... but it is all too close for me.
I understand why he's in the Army. His father was in the 82nd Airborne, his grandfather was one of the Rangers who climbed the cliffs in the Normandy Invasion. It's in his blood. He votes Republican, goes to the Army-Navy game every year, and thoroughly enjoys America. He tells his girlfriend that he wants enough kids to start a baseball team (including a bullpen).
"Wow Court, looks like you're going to be pregnant for about... three decades. Enjoy your time now," I tell her.
Now every time I see it in the papers, "Soldier from New Jersey killed", my heart will race again and I will hope that it ain't him. His girl is too good, his father too cool, for anything bad to happen to him.
Pray for him. When I pray, God turns a deaf ear.... but maybe if some of you do, he'll be out of Afghanistan in twelve months, and he'll have kids and do all the normal things that every man should get a chance to do.