It's 4:30 in the morning and neither of us can sleep.

I opened the curtains to our massive window to check out the epic panoramic never ending city of lights and grandeur. There's definitely something about this place. Clean, urban, spread out, larger than life and wonderfully idiosyncratic. This is the home that I'll never belong to.

I've only thought about the other guys a little bit, and the guys we lost too. For the most part though, we're thoroughly distracted. It's almost like I was never TRULY in Iraq. Almost.

My friend agrees that the bidet is a little too much. He crawls back into bed, where he can't sleep either.

"Oh Jesus, we're gonna be sucking tomorrow," he moans. I'd heard from a friend earlier on that he could hardly ever sleep when he was on leave either. I don't mind. As long as I can function and enjoy myself. I don't want to miss anything.

We're phantoms here. No past, no background, just like I hoped. Almost. The girl who pointed out the tranny called me out on being military. So did an old man in the first bar. I guess there's no hiding it. All there's left to do is try to leave a good impression, I guess.

The realization that this is all temporary, it haunts me once in a while. I want to hold on to this as long as I can. We've got a clean slate, even if its a different color than everyone else's proverbial slate. We're finding something out, but we don't know what. This isn't just R&R from Iraq, its R&R from my entire life. Just picking up and leaving for somewhere where I don't know anyone, I've probably needed this for years.

Random thoughts occur to us while we lay in our beds in the dark.

"How bad do you think it will suck when we have to put our uniforms back on again for the first time?" he asks.

"Oh fuck dude...."

This has to last. I have to keep something from this with me, take something back, so to speak. I don't even want to think about going back to Iraq. Hell, I'd go job hunting tomorrow if I didn't think that Tokyo can't be this perfect forever.

Tokyo is like the girl that got away. Phenomenal but never meant to be yours.


  1. Red said...
    Man, my day STARTS at 4:30.

    Yes, you are going to be miserable later, but what the hell, it's fun now. No, you can't always hide it, even though you sometimes wish you could. It is temporary, but take each moment, and then it lasts as long as you want it to.

    Just so you know, I am living through you right now, and I am checking this at least twice every day.
    Anonymous said...
    Thank you for your sacrafice, your courage, your balls of steel. Thank you for being over there, doing what you do, loosing what you are, finding something deeper that you will carry with you forever.

    I'm a cancer survivor, lost both my breasts and my hair to chemo. I will never be the same. That was my war. Your war is much longer, much harder and sucks way worse. But as a woman with two children, I have to say thank you again.

    Enjoy your time being anonymous. Shed that skin for a few days and bask in the nothingness of another world where no one knows you. Get drunker than shit and even get laid if you can. Just do it. Live like you mean it.
    hooch said...
    So when is your bunk mate gonna give you an answer on that plane ticket?
    themorethingschange... said...
    "This has to last. I have to keep something from this with me, take something back..."

    I'm thinking what you'll take back is an entirely new sense of yourself...Ryan-Citizen-Of-The- World

    ...and the knowledge, the certain knowledge, that there's a WHOLE LOT of world out there that would be a ton of fun to explore and, oh hey, write about...

    so what if you can't sleep, you're making good use of your time and spoiling us rotten... :-))
    I feared we'd all have to suffer thru withdrawal till you got back...

    you da man!

    Anonymous said...
    wow, the tok

    totally awesome dude
    Jessie said...
    Sleep is for the weak. Just saying.

    Can't add anything deep. Head's still in the shallow end just now.
    Anonymous said...
    I can't help myself ~ I have to ask....

    You wouldn't happen to have a certain red tee-shirt with "Hieroglyphics" on it, would you? Wouldn't that be funny?!

    Have a great time; I'm happy for you.

    Love you
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    Anonymous said...
    Oh yea

    But he'd be like, 'Man, ah WANNA go, believe me, but ah cain't, ah got my job now, ah wish ah could though, MOTHERFUCKIN' BITCH...'"

    haha nice, although I don't sound quite like that except for the motherfuckin bitch part.

    And Yosemite Slim was fuckin hilarious. I didn't catch it the first time because I was feeling so guilty for not being able to come :(
    membrain said...
    "For the most part though, we're thoroughly distracted. It's almost like I was never TRULY in Iraq. Almost."

    I was hoping for that for you guys but didn't really think it could happen. But, wow, TOKYO!!! The way you write about it, it's as if we were there with you.

    We can actually tell where your head is at and it's sure not in a Iraq frame of mind.

    Seriously man thanks for taking us along for the ride. I hope the awesomeness is just beginning for you both.

    Like themorethingschange said there's a whole great big motherfucking world out there to explore and write about.

    With your wicked sense of humour you could make a living at it. Major hotel chains hire people like you to travel. I actually checked out The New Sanno Hotel on the web. It looks great.

    Enjoy every moment of your leave.

    Thanks again.

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