Living in Time –Brian Anthony

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sean Stevenson takes a knee while on a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011. Stevenson is a corpsman with Combined Anti-Armor Team 2, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 8. The U.S. Marines conduct frequent patrols through the area to show a presence and interact with the community to find ways to help the populace. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nathan McCord/Released)

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sean Stevenson takes a knee while on a security patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nathan McCord/Released)

Living with my nightmare. Life goes on. The trees continue to grow. People move on, but I’m stuck in a nightmare of my own making. Life as I know it continues, but my mind stays trapped. Everyday a challenge to explain my fears. To hold back my fears. Thoughts triggered by smell and crowds. No one cares; no one understands. The smell of the waiting room fills the air as you wait in a crowded room. The walls get smaller; the voices get louder. A woman greats you. You put on a warming face, hiding all the fear. You know she would not understand the crowd and the noises are putting you into a desert of uncertainty. A desert of fear — a world of the past. As you walk into the crowd, the walls disappear, and the sand hits your face.

The sound of the crowd triggers an explosion all too familiar. The pressure of the impact hits your face, and the shrapnel passes you by. You raise your weapon and fire in the direction of the impact. A soldier stands in front of you. It’s too late; the walls continue to close in. The soldier’s head drips of blood and gasps for air as his eyes roll back. You grab the radio, but it’s all too late.

The walls have closed in, and the sales woman is looking at you. All you can do is get out of the crowded room. You insult the lady to give you a reason to leave. A reason to escape the pain. A reason to explain what just happened. You exit the room, and life comes back. The fresh air helps you realize it was just a dream, just a moment in the past. Life comes back, and you have to explain what happened. Excuses seem to be your best friend. Too proud to tell the truth, too proud to open up.

After all, it was just a dream.

Or was it?

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