One Hot Missouri Morning

I mashed my lit cigarette into the ashtray beside my recliner. I hadn’t even taken my boots off from work. I just sat there staring at re-runs from The Office, the tv on mute. The phone rang.

“Hey, man. What’re you doing tonight?” the voice asked.

“Nothing.”

“It’s Friday, bro. Let’s hit the bars.”

“I don’t feel like it.” I said.

“Are you still in your uniform? Dude, it’s like 8 o’clock. Let’s go somewhere.” the voice insisted.

“I’m not feelin’ it tonight.” I replied.,

“Man, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

“Women. Guilt from combat. You know, shit. Life sucks.” I said as I lit another cigarette.

I hung the phone up and stared down into my lap as ash from my cigarette dropped off onto the arm of the recliner. I dozed off multiple times while sitting half-reclined. I could have easily set my entire apartment up in flames with one lit cigarette. I didn’t care. Half of me wanted that to happen.

The next morning I woke up with a kink in my neck, one boot on and my Army top half way buttoned up. I gathered my pathetic self out of my recliner and stumbled to the bathroom. I showered. I let the warm water smack me in the face like life had been doing to me for months. It felt nice, though. Like I snapped back into reality.

The Missouri sun had finally broke through the clouds and I shifted my San Diego Padres baseball cap so the bill faced the rear. I climbed onto my motorcycle and fired her up. She sounded good. It felt good to be on the saddle of that thing. I kicked up the kickstand, shifted into first and ripped out of the driveway and down the road. The wind felt nice on my face, the fresh air-filled my lungs and I felt like I could breathe again. The sun hit my back as I tore down the road doing about 80 mph. I wanted to go faster. I wanted a semi-truck to come out of nowhere and leave no time to react. I pulled down on the throttle topping out at 92 mph.

I pulled into the Cracker Barrel, which I might add, always has the best eggs. I was aloof, though. I didn’t make eye contact with the server even though I just experienced probably the best ride on my motorcycle in my life.

“What’s wrong, hun? You want some coffee or something?” She asked.

“Yeah, that’d be great. I’m going to go smoke real quick. I’ll be back.” I told her.

She always served me in the mornings. She was like my best friend away from all my other friends. She understood me, for some weird reason.

When I came back, a hot cup of coffee was waiting for me and soon after, my breakfast showed up. Scrambled eggs and cheese, two pieces of toast, sourdough, and a glass of water. I could smell the tar and nicotine on my fingers as I raised the fork to my mouth. That’s how much I smoked. It was disgusting but at the same time, I loved it. My wallet sure didn’t, though. But it was my release. Some people drink themselves to death. I was smoking myself to death.

I shoved a few bucks onto the table top for a tip and caught up with my server halfway towards the door.

“Leaving already, darlin’?” Her accent was think. Probably raised somewhere in Texas or even farther east.

“Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” It wasn’t a promised I’d really keep, but it was something I said to make her smile. If anything, I wanted other people to smile.

I fired up my bike and hit the road again. I had no real destination. I just wanted to ride.

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All or Nothin’

 

Finding love is a tough game to play. I’m sure anyone that’s my age can relate to some of the problems I’ve had when dealing with relationships. This blog entry isn’t exactly relevant to anything except maybe what’s sort of going on in my life (and I probably won’t get too detail-ish with it on here) right now. I’ve been listening to a lot of new music and I recently started listening to Theory of a Deadman because they write songs that really correspond directly in line with my love life. I especially grew fond of this song because I can relate, like I said, to the point behind it all. These are the lyrics:

 

 

When I first saw you standing there
You know it was a little hard not to stare
So nervous when I drove you home
I know being apart is a little hard to bare.

Send some flowers to your work in hopes
That I’d have you in my arms again
We kissed that night before I left
Still now that’s something
I could never forget

You’ve got all that I need
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
With you I know that
I am good for something
So lets go give it a try
We got our backs against the ocean
It’s just us against the world
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I

Lets take a chance go far away today
And never look back again
Since I said I loved you in Las Vegas
It’s never been the same since then

You’ve got all that I need
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I

With you I know
I am good for something
So lets go give it a try
We got our backs against the ocean
It’s just us against the world
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I

This is it nothing to hide
One more kiss never say goodbye
This is it babe your all mine
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
I know that I am good for something
So lets go give it a try
We got our backs against the ocean
It’s just us against the world
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
With you I know that
I am good for something
So lets go give it a try

We got our backs against the ocean
It’s just us against the world
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
Looking at all or nothing
Babe it’s you and I
Babe it’s you and I

And this is the music video:

 

My problem when it comes to relationships is I get easily attached. I really put my heart out on the line because I trust too easily and I also ignore red flags that I should be paying more attention to early on. But its human nature to want to be with someone. I think at this point in my life, I’m going to forget about the search for love. After my ex-fiance left me, I was single for two solid years. Now I’m in a conflicting…something…I’m not even sure what to call it. And I’ll just leave it at that.

I can still recall my very first girlfriend and the good times we had. The way she made me smile and laugh. She was pretty and nice. I always think about what would’ve came about if I hadn’t of joined the Army. Would I be married to her today? These are just some of the things I think about from time to time.

Anyway. People tell me that everyone has someone out there for them. With 3 trillion people on this planet, I’m sure there is some truth to that.

 

It’s a long and lonely road…when you know you’ll walk alone

 

Two days ago I was so distraught and upset I did the only thing a son would do in a situation like that; I sought out my Mother. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a momma’s boy but I certainly do hold a special place for her in my heart. Regardless if we get along or not…I still love my Mother unconditionally.

I fought and argued with my Mom about as much as any other kid. But whenever I needed her support, she seemed to always lend an ear even if she wanted to or not. When my ex-fiance left me two years ago with a mound of fucking debt, I called my mother. It felt more like I was interrupting her more than anything with my problems though. I didn’t feel that connection as I once did when I was younger. It felt like she was just brushing off the problem with words she thought I wanted to hear.

I called my mom a lot when I was in basic training. Mostly tearful conversations of me missing her and wanting to come home. And she’d always tell me to pull myself up by my boot straps and get my ass back into the game. Tough love, I suppose. I could feel the love through the phone. She genuinely cared about me and was worried about my making it through basic training in one piece. What mother wouldn’t worry..? It’s basic fucking training. A bunch of kids running around with guns.

One fateful evening while I was stationed in Germany in 2001, I called home and my mom kind of gave me attitude over something stupid. Like, she didn’t have time for her son. I called a lot, as I recall, from Germany to home always asking for shit. And I think one day she just got tired of her son asking for shit. She hung up on me and when I called back I gave her an earful. No mother wants to hear her only son call her a bad mother.

Since then our mother/son relationship has suffered. I got out of the service for a brief eight months in 2003 and I struggled with bills the entire time. I was always asking my parents for money and then when the war kicked off in the Middle East, I think I was the first single male in line at the Everett recruiting station. I can’t remember if my mom cried that time or not.

Now…I’m sort of in the same boat. Except I’m not struggling with bills. Or asking anyone for money. This time I’m asking for emotional support. Really, from anyone that wants to take that task on. I’m lonely, depressed, unsure of my future and most of all, alone. I really don’t have my own place I can call home except my little P.O box at the post office and my storage shed down town where I keep my motorcycle:

I suppose holding down two jobs kind of gives me something to do and a little cash to throw around…but it’s not the end all to my problems. I’d still be this miserable even if I had $80K a year. Well, maybe a little less miserable but you get my point.

Two days ago when I called my mother (I called twice) and even though she didn’t answer, she never called back. I suppose I wouldn’t call me back either because roughly 8 months ago her and I had another falling out sort of like the one back in 2001. It was brutal. Lots of cuss words, insults…you know. And when I think back on all of that, I never apologized for either yelling match. Neither did she, but that’s not the point. There’s no real closure for either of us on either issue and some of that is probably still causing a lot of the tension, anger, and hatred today. I don’t hate my mother by any means…but I can sense the lack of love.

When I arrived at my mother’s house I was in tears and I just wanted a hug from her. I needed that mother/son bond. I needed that physical touch to make me feel like I mattered in life and when she wasn’t at home, I was lost. If she had have been home I may have been able to go to work and function like a normal human being. And if she had have been home I was ready to ante up an apology and put to rest some of this tension between us:

Mom, I love you, first and foremost, and I know I haven’t been the best son or even come close to how I should have turned out. I don’t blame you for my short comings and I certainly don’t harbor any ill-feelings to you or Dad for how my life is shaping out. You and Dad created your own and have done a good job. I’m not hateful for what you worked your ass off for.

I just wanted to come over here and see your face one last time…and hug you. I wanted to apologize for my horrible words to you in 2001. It eats at me every day, maybe not as much as it eats at you, but it still does. And as far as I’m concerned, I was in the wrong eight months ago when we had that falling out too. I was upset over the email you sent me, I didn’t give you a fair shot at explaining yourself and over the years I’ve never given you a fair shot at explaining anything. You deserve better than that. Mom, I love you, always. Don’t forget that.

And then I’d have been on my way.

Two days ago, I wanted to die. But I’m still here on planet Earth and that says a lot about who’s in my life, and who’s here for me. I’ve become sort of a hermit in my days, aloof from society and detached from the real world and friends. I keep to myself more so now than I ever have. And I think that sort of brings out the worst in my depression. I’m a people person by nature. I love being in the social atmosphere and chumming around…but at the same time…I hate it.

You gotta have friends in this life to make it.

You gotta have people you can count on to survive.

And you gotta make sure those people who are supporting you know that you give a shit about them.

I love you.

 

The Battle Within

 

When Kessinger was killed it was sort of unexpected. I mean, we were a few short weeks from leaving that shit hole so I was thinking that missions wouldn’t be so balls to the walls. Rumor had it that those guys in that truck were up on a berm that they probably shouldn’t have been up on because the whole area was black. But we had some Colonel that was looking for his full bird promotion so he wanted to see if he could get a few more bad guys prior to us leaving Iraq. Well, when you go looking for trouble, trouble usually finds you first.

After five months of pulling countless shifts at the TAC, staring at some piece of shit radio, shootin’ the shit with the Battle Captains and sleeping on cots and eating Calzones, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pissing in a piss tube, my soldier and I finally got a call we were always hoping for. To recover a fucking vehicle in the combat zone. Expect, we were going out to recover the vehicle Kessinger was in. And when we got there, only the chassis was left. Apparently they had rolled over a pressure mine with about four 155mm rounds underneath. Kessinger’s body was thrown from the vehicle and from what other soldiers told me…one of the doors landed on his upper torso. And for that moment, he was still alive when they found him.

Leadership has a tough job. When shit happens like this, they have to be able to keep their men under control. Everyone has to keep their shit together. But it’s hard on everyone. I wasn’t there to actually see Kessinger (we arrived moments later) but all those images still haunt the fuck out of me to this day. It’s like not being there was worse than actually being there. And like I’ve said many times before in previous blog entries. Sitting in that goddamn radio room was a huge waste of time for me and my troops. I got to the point where I didn’t even fucking care what came over the net anymore.

I hold a lot of guilt for Kessinger’s death. Maybe not as much as the next guy, but it’s still there. My role in Iraq was so minuscule and minute that I wish I could go back and be apart of something bigger. I wish I was given the opportunity to do more. It’s like I can’t let go of that combat tour.

I wonder how long I’ll feel like this.

I wonder how long.

 

Patriot Guard Riders Club

 

 

Even though I haven’t officially been on any missions with the Patriot Guard Riders, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been accepted into the group. Here’s the PGR mission statement if you are unfamiliar with what they’re all about:

Mission Statement: The Patriot Guard Riders of Washington State are proud to be part of the National Patriot Guard Riders. This web site reflects the local Washington State efforts of the larger national organization for our heroes and their families.

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

 

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family.

Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives:

  • Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
  • Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you.  We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.

The Washington State Patriot Guard Riders will participate in activities, which honor and show respect for all military members and families of the military members, past and present. This may include financial assistance, for charitable reasons, which these military and veteran military families may need. In addition, organizations, which assist these military and veteran military families, may be included as long as they are 501/c qualifying organizations.

I encourage all military veterans to join their local PGR chapter in their area. It’s a great way to meet other military members and connect with the community. Hopefully I’ll be able to take part in some missions before the riding season comes to an end and I’ll make sure to blog about my experience with them. Stay tuned for more blog entries concerning my adventures with the Patriot Guard Riders.