3.17.2008

Rear View Mirror

That horrible fucking day had to come, and it came way too fast for our liking. I found myself grudgingly checking out of the hotel. I made sure to say goodbye to my friend that works in my favorite lounge, and the next thing I know, I'm watching the city melt away through the window of a moving car.

I never understood anyone ever really being bummed about leaving any place, to me it was always like a kid going nuts when it was time to leave the playplace at McDonald's, but this was different. All those amazing signs, bustling crowds, incredible architecture, everything I'd come to love, the clean streets, the most incredible city I'd ever seen, it was all sliding past me.

At the airport, I hesitated. Getting on that plane was the hardest thing I'd ever done. Part of me knew that there was a small chance I could just say screw it, turn around and walk out. Find a job. Perfect the language. Plant my roots here and live it up. Why not? Everything about the city felt so right.

Back in the worst country on Earth, the rest of my friends are sucking it up, and it's my duty to do the same, but I'll be damned if I didn't have the most bitter taste in my mouth about it.

Waiting in the airport in Korea, the reality only intensified, leaving a massive lump in my throat. I could turn around and buy a ticket back. And I never miss places for some reason.





Maybe some other time. The Purgatorium is only one border away now. I have to finish this, but right now, I'm promising myself, I WILL visit Tokyo again.

27 Comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    I know it took a lot of strength to take that first step back, although I know with your sense of duty, there really was no other decision. You'll take it with you. Your experiences become a part of you and shape who you are. I admire your stength and sense of who you are.

    You still crack me up, though. You're twisted alright...

    Mom
    themorethingschange... said...
    I'd been thinking about the moment you had to get back on that plane....

    the memory of the moment my husband turned to me at the airport in Honolulu and said "I don't want to go back" will be with me forever...

    I'd heard so many terrible things that first night about his experiences as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam...

    so I held my breath -- my mind racing ahead to where we'd go, what we'd do, could we do it fast enough, Canada or Mexico...

    My father a 30 yr Air Force man who'd just returned, my brother a CO...we'd totally rip the tear my brother had started in my parents hearts....

    Tom did "the right thing" and I had no doubt you would too. Not because this war rates more loyalty than Vietnam did but because you are the man you are.

    I'm proud of you man!

    ~P~
    theotherStrykermother said...
    I am sure the friends you serve with know how hard it was on you to come back. Ultimately I am sure you all go back for one another more than anything. It sure isn't because you love where you are (who in the world could?!) The brotherhood that my son has formed with some of those he serves with, has been a powerful and irreplaceable bond. It keeps him focused when he needs to be, and it brought him back after leave too.

    I am praying for both of you... for safety and for the remainder of the time to go as quickly as possible.
    Anonymous said...
    Not going back could have developed into a severe case of rectal discomfort ...Going back is an unknown...Some day, some how, you will be out of there!!! You're a strong enough person so that when you do make it out, you'll know what to do with it.
    David M said...
    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 03/17/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.
    Anonymous said...
    i admire your strength and want you to come home
    here's a hug from stateside
    Anonymous said...
    Dude,

    First, i praise you for what you are doing. My fiance's husband was just sent back to the sandbox. It was hard seeing him leave when it seems like he had just gotten back. I really enjoy reading your blog so make sure that you come back so we can get a continuance of what you have started. I am also sending my friends the link for the page so they to can view and pass to their friends. Come home safe brother.
    Anonymous said...
    I just read some of your blog after reading a news article that mentioned it. I think I'm gonna get hooked on it, it's so amazing the way you write and describe everything, I felt like I'm there with you. You sound like such a kewl person. I wish you didn't have to go back to the sandbox. I will be there with you in my mind as I read your posts. Be safe, Hugs...

    Jen (former SSGT/USAF)
    Office Lady said...
    "but right now, I'm promising myself, I WILL visit Tokyo again....every time you close your eyes.

    They can't take that away from you.
    Anonymous said...
    There are so many really cool places out there. I'm sure you'll discover them too. I'm not sure which is more amazing: that you are discovering so much about life at a young age, or the fact that you're willing to share it. Still the coolest kid on the block...


    by the way, are you getting tired of people gushing on you? Or do you delete the posts where people say you suck??? Just wondering. If it were me, I'd delete the "you suck" ones so everybody would think I was a Greek god. but that's just me...

    Aunt Sandy
    Anonymous said...
    right on.
    :o)
    i enjoy reading your entries, keep writing.
    kick rocks and drop deuces.

    amfl
    Anonymous said...
    Hmm, did Aunt Sandy run out of her meds????
    Anonymous said...
    Hey anonymous, I'm WAY more concerned about the dude whose "fiance's husband was just sent back to the sandbox."
    themorethingschange... said...
    JEN:

    I think all Suspect's readers will agree -- begin at the beginning, back before Iraq...and pay attention to the music he chooses.
    He's one interesting cat.

    And he owes us PICTURES!!!!

    ~P~
    Anonymous said...
    We're all really proud of you, ya know. Wish I had the gift of speech the way you do.

    And yes, Aunt Sandy's off her meds. :P

    Lynda

    P.S. Someone said they're going to put your name in for "The Bachelor" reality show cuz you're just so STUDLY! :P
    GI Kate said...
    just wanted to say hello!
    Erin said...
    So, um, i was out celebrating St Paddy's Day not knowing that this was your day to head back in. So here's a Guinness to you, pal.

    It takes great inner strength to do what you have to do regardless of how you feel about it. And especially when you really don't want to. Knowing what you have to do, doing what you have to, AND living with it is something many people are never able to do. They make excuses and cry about it until they manage to weasel their way out of it. So, even though what you have to do right now sucks big time, following through is something to be proud of.

    You do what you gotta. We will be right here behind you.........waiting on those PICTURES! ;)

    And "The Bachelor". Could you imagine? Hehe. Cracks me up just thinking about it.
    Anonymous said...
    I admire the fact that you chose to continue, and follow your duty.

    As for Tokyo, I left Tokyo on the 10th, and pretty much felt the same as you did. Had my flight not been direct back to Seattle, I would have bought that return ticket in a second. The awe-inspiring, blinding advertisements, horrific crowds, fantastic service and the rest of it doesn't get tiring even after a year of living there.

    Stay safe.
    themorethingschange... said...
    Google Alert - Unlikely+Soldier
    Inbox

    Google Alerts to me
    show details 7:32 PM (14 hours ago) Reply


    Google Blogs Alert for: Unlikely+Soldier
    Blogging During War
    By Patrick Evans(Patrick Evans)
    BAGHDAD: The black-shrouded Web site opens with a soldier's silhouette and the pounding rhythm of Nine Inch Nails: "Into the fire you can send us," the words go. "From the fire we return." This is the Unlikely Soldier's blog, ...
    52 Sundays - http://talktopatrick.blogspot.com/

    This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.
    themorethingschange... said...
    TO AUNT SANDY:

    You're absolutely right about us gushing, but how can we not!

    I bet I'm not the only one here who sees him as son, brother, cousin, nephew We feel we know him because we've followed his life since he first posted.

    I hope his natural family sees us as a virtual family, or perhaps a fan base for his first book, and not a bunch of butinskies...

    We love the guy too. We watched, as you did, the growth of the boy to the man. And we're darned proud of him!

    Ok. End of gush!

    ~P~
    Alex said...
    It was the hardest thing in the world to get on that plane bound for all-too familar terrain. I wanted to go to Japan as well but didn't have a passport. I settled on Europe. My ride back was extra special: I found out ten minutes before boarding that all tours in Iraq were extended to fifteen months. Your unit was already set to share the wealth with my unit (3rd Stryker Brigade).

    You're getting close dude. Stay sharp and make sure your family has beer waiting at the Sheridan Gym (or wherever they're having the formation). Take it easy.
    Anonymous said...
    Brother,
    I was there, I know how you are feeling. I remember having to say goodbye to my wife & get on a plane. I was there at the start(2003) & I remember sitting in the airport listening to the news & everyone was so exicted because the iraqes were getting cell phone service back & that was like our biggest fear (for obvious reasons) & thinking this is crazy. I could totally just leave & live out my life & never look back. But I got on that plane & I did my time & now I look back ( I'm, out now) & most days it seems like so long ago. My point is, stay low, do what you have to do & get home. But when you get home.... Live like you told yourself you would, when you make it back. Don't forget how sweet life can be & don't get bitter. I'm proud of you man !
    Jean said...
    There was an article about you and your blog in our local Florida paper this weekend.
    Think you might get back in time to run for president?

    You have a helluva lotta people rooting for you.
    Anonymous said...
    Be safe.
    greenscar said...
    Ryan, thank you so much for starting this blog. I've just spent over an hour reading old posts (and neglecting my homework, i might add). It takes a lot of bravery to continue through this and i admire you for it.
    May Gd be with you. <3
    OLED said...
    Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the OLED, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://oled-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug.
    Anonymous said...
    I just discovered the website who reviews about
    many
    home based business

    If you want to know more here it is
    home business reviews
    www.home-businessreviews.com

Post a Comment