The IED that caused that crater would have taken out my side of the truck and me along with it. But strangely, I had no real reaction to that consideration; no fear, no shock, no feeling of fortune. Nothing except the idea that it signified something.
It only took me a few more moments to realize what that was. As we were snaking our way through the tight, bush-lined corridor toward the Tigris bridge, I came to understand that the IED blast was a specific, destructive event that had left lasting effects.
The metaphor began.
We continued for a few more kilometers through the threatening corridor, not able to see around bend nor any potential threat that may lie thinly veiled behind some foliage. That IED blast happened while I was not around, outside of my control, but yet disrupting my path, changing my life. That represented what had been done to my children and me during my deployment. The winding, blind corridor with vague unseen threats in all directions signified the time of feeling lost, violated, attacked after the news had been given us during R&R. I was blind to my future; what step was next, but forced to continue moving forward.
Then came the bridge.
Recently, I have been pulling out of the pervasive funk I had been trapped in since my return to Iraq. The other side of the bridge is clear and open, the road wide and visible. Traveling on from there, I saw the bigger metaphor; Iraq has been my marital life. Iraq started out beautiful and progressive, the cradle of civilization, a wonderous place to be. Then shortly after its shining rise, it stagnated; lost its way, became barren and unforgiving. For centuries, leaders and empires tried to raise Iraq to its preious stature, to make it a viable nation once again. But all failed. As my marital life suffered its destructive blows, so did Iraq suffer the toppling of itself as a nation at the hands of an outside uninvited force. Many said Iraq would be better off after the corruption had been exposed and removed, but now the nation lays in anarchic waste.
Mile after mile of flat, tan, barren land lay between me and home.
Iraq, and my life, awaits a time that actual healing and rebuilding of its own, by its own, can begin. The occupying armies, the facts and memories in my newly forced history, perpetuate the chaos and represent the first major step to overcome in regaining sovereign control over the nation, my life. Maybe we, as the occupying force, at the very least steel the resolve of the indiginous, making them stronger in the spite of our efforts and not in their subjugation. The painful details of the events that occurred to my children, myself, and my marriage have the power to build my resolve for a better future, in lieu of being destroyed by the shame thrust upon us.