By Phillip Cary
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I am what they call a lifer; I will probably be in the military my whole life. When your average troop says this, it means twenty-and-out or thirty-and-out, retire on the pension, maybe get another job, and have a pretty nice life—what with the benefits and all—but I will probably get killed, considering what I do, so I will really be in the army my whole life. I fell asleep and awoke at dawn like a good soldier. Then I took a lot longer than a ninety-second shower and helped myself to some of Gloria’s coffee and cereal.
They spoke little as the train rushed onward; she’d ask a question, he’d answer in his precise way and fall silent. He was nervous, she could tell, and no wonder, bringing a strange woman—a girl, really—with a pile of dubious cash into his father’s house. It was only later that she understood what a colossal act of kindness and generosity it was. He never touched her during the entire trip. He’d purchased Pakistani clothes for her in the bazaar in Karachi and showed her how to wear them, her first time in shalwar kameez, but she was used to costumes, to being someone she was not.
For God’s sake, I’m wounded! I’m your wounded son. ” This was disgraceful, I knew, pathetic, but it was one of my buttons. Unfortunately, my mother has guilt handles the size of a little girl’s earrings. She said, “Well, if you’ll recall, I did come to your side when you got back. ” Not true, although what she meant was that she was not up to much in the nurturing department. My father is the main nurturer in our family, and she knows it and it makes her feel bad. “I have to go,” my mother said.