Thursday, March 15, 2007


Pain is waking up on the morning you leave, with your wife's back against your chest and the smell of her shampoo on your skin. It's feeling her press back again you as she sleeps, and suddenly feeling you've wasted every other similar moment the both of you have shared. It's the hot swell of tears, and the hitch of breath.

Pain is the last breakfast; it's the feverish desire to linger over the coffee, not bolt the croissant. It's the fervent wish to share fond memories; to watch through the windows of the cafe and comment over the thousands of ordinary Germans you see going about their lives. Pain is wishing desperately that you were among them. Pain is Time gnawing away at the back of your mind; minute by minute, second by second. It's the Agony of holding on to the moment. It's the Oskar Schindler moment in your relationship: Could I have done more?

Pain is the hurried packing; the rush to gather gear and slip out the door. It's seeing Alliecat laying out on the couch, sunbathing, and smelling the incense your wife always burns. It's seeing how the morning sun catches in her auburn hair; reflects liquid-smooth across dusky green eyes. I've wasted every life's moment not spent looking at those eyes. Pain lies buried in the hollow thud of the door in your empty stairwell. It pulses, pings in every step towards the car.

Pain is the glint of morning sunlight off the wings of incoming planes; pain is the itinerary of every business traveler, tourist, and couple of the verge of reunion. Pain crackles like electrical current jabbed into a deep gash, arcing hot with every ordinary life whose hum and drum you'd sell your soul to mimic. Pain is the loss of Peace, or at least of Peace's illusion.

Pain is the downturned lip, the sorrowed aversion to your gaze as you stand for the last time outside the gate. It turns your chest to lead as she mumbles apologies, sniffles and buries her face against your neck. It's her warmth and love that turns to daggers at the touch, and the endless wave of self-recriminations at bringing her into this way of life.

--"Tell me not to, and I won't."

Pain is the final embrace; the kisses goodbye. I'm so sick of goodbyes. Pain beyond pain, torture lies in breaking her gaze to walk away. Hatred. I hate myself for this; for anything that comes between me and my duty to her. Is there a name for the sin I've committed? Can it be tattooed, Kafkaesque, into my skin until the needle scrapes bone and flays the flesh of me? Would any such pain be worse?

Pain is the roar of the plane's engines; the rumble and stir that pushes you forward, drives you to stare out the window despite your fear of heights. Pain is saying goodbye to the Rheinland morning; is wanting to tell yourself what you know your wife would say--you're just doing what's best for us--and knowing that for once you're both wrong. Pain is hearing her sobs all the way as she drives back home.

Pain is the hitch of breath; the swell of hot tears. Pain is the bonding of her skin to yours, and the worldrendering rip as that swaddling cloth is torn away. Pain is the inability to stop yourself from crying as the plane shudders skyward; while at the same time being powerless to do anything but lift your head and blink back the wetness in your eyes.

I hate myself.


Anonymous ripley said...

Keep your head down and come home in one piece, brother.

Positive vibes to all of you and your families.

1:19 PM  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

Ditto Ripley, and remember - Slow, Deep Breaths.

2:34 PM  
Blogger iamcoyote said...

I remember those goodbyes, Milo; the agony of separation, the fear that you'll never be together again, the physical pain of yet another bleak morning without your love.

Don't hate yourself for loving, don't hate yourself for being unable to tamp down the tears that make you a real human - honest about the pain. Of all the things you've had to do in the military, leaving Anne will always be the hardest, the most soul-bending. But you will be able to get thru this, because there will be another hello in the future even though it seems so far away as to be non-existant.

Hang on, Milo, and embrace the pain, because without it, you wouldn't have love.

4:09 PM  
Blogger toadman said...

This is the most powerful pain imaginable. Come home again soon.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Blue Wren said...

This isn't pain, Milo. This is love. Treasure every second and come home to your Anne safe to share it with her again.

8:11 PM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 03/15/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Pixie said...

I'm so sorry Milo. Get home safely... and soon.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Alice said...

Milo...I can ONLY image what you must feel. This brings tears to my eyes! You MUST be strong and return home to your wife. And when that time comes...i can only imagine how BEAUTIFUL that feeling will be!!

11:48 PM  
Anonymous soul pumpkin said...

Milo...i don't believe for a moment that you hate are a kind, poetic soul placed in an untenable situation not of your choosing and therein lies the hate...
...i try very hard not to 'hate' anything...
...but i truly hate war...any war...anywhere...anytime...
...war is the ultimate failure of the human spirit to maintain contact with the Godhead...
...apologies for the rant...i just wish for all my young brothers and sisters to come home safe...and soon...

7:11 AM  
Anonymous delia443 said...

Unfortunately, I was waiting for this post. I'm sorry, I wish I could bring each and every one of you home again. Rest assured, I'll know every form-letter Senators Levin and Stabenow have ever sent out before this is done, and I'm pretty sure the Whitehouse staff is sick of my emails.

I'm pretty sure I'm on those "suspected" lists the government keeps too.

I got that instant message you sent me, but I didn't have full internet, just cell phone internet--expensive.

We love you and miss you and want you to come back and make beautiful babies with Anne!!!!


2:07 PM  
Anonymous Carla said...

Love to you and Anne.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pain now is part of the love then, like a barbed wire heart. Can't have one without the other, and THAT is the excruciating miracle of it.


7:16 PM  
Anonymous pfc averagejoe said...

Thank you for your sacrifice. Some of us really appreciate what you do, no matter how small a role you may think you play at any time, your efforts in concert with the many help others come home just that much earlier.

Again. Thank you for your sacrifice.

12:12 AM  

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