Who did that song from the 1980’s, Love Is a Battlefield? Something my ever cool sister would have been listening to I’m sure. Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Tori Amos maybe? The hook crossed my mind this morning as I waited in line to vote. All this time and effort I’ve put in trying to put the experiences and disappointment of war on paper in a way that makes sense and the most salient truth’s been all but completely avoided: That my period in the Army has utterly destroyed my desire to be loved. How can a man go on with life in any meaningful way without that most basic human desire?
If the war had somehow changed me into a sociopath, the question might be moot? But as much as I’d like to erase my desire, -I have tried to do as much- the fact is, life is vacant absent the wanting of a beautiful woman who could have anyone else. Maybe if I hadn’t known of such wanting, hadn’t tasted the fruit, I could continue peddling onward in ignorant bliss? That kind of passion is like a narcotic. Once you’re dependent on its product, the chase is compulsive and autonomic. Picture an oak leaf, brittle and superannuated, with nothing to lose.
If love is a battlefield, then war is a drug. Killing is ecstasy and true love a crime. There is only two things that matter in a world so filled with the stench and the aroma of dying and desire. That you kill the man who is plotting to kill you. And a lover that’s been desperately waiting with a singular passion for the warrior you are and the lover she desires. It’s a paradox, a lie that is also true. In order to kill another man in battle, the sane man must give up his humanity, and therefore, his passion and empathy are lost, ever fading from view.
All this may seem or sound more complicated than it really is? There is the spiritual, the ethereal nature of things and then there is the practical. How can you share life with another when the act of sleeping itself is fraught with danger? The terrifying dreams that play out in the dark, when I finally do step across into the darkness often grip so tightly that my physical self responds violently. More than once I’ve destroyed a clock, or a phone, whatever’s within reach. To wake-up with a severe pain in my knee from the thrashing that can occur while asleep is unpleasant sure, but how would that affect an innocent partner? The sudden burst of rage that rises up from the depths over a matter previously unnoticed, like someone too close in line, or the screeching of a chair moving over a tiled floor? I’ve avoided action till now, but will that last?
Most importantly, how could I ever love another if I only am able to hate myself? Still today I avoid and shut out those in my life who truly care for me without expectation or need of remittance. Where do you even begin in such a turbulent atmosphere?
Truth is, I miss you. I do. I say I’m trying, yet the truth is I don’t even know where to start? If I had it to do all over again would my destination find me any different? It’s in the code. I’m on my own. No use in wishing for an angel to fall and cast my soul back upon that previous shore. The die is cast. The future is already written and these words are part of the stone. No need to reminisce and dream of what could have been. If we were meant to be together, we would have been.