Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Home Alone

You know, in all our briefs were told to be careful about fitting back into society too fast. I never saw the worst of war, so I wasn't particularly concerned about all that. I do notice that I do not like large crowds. I don't know why that is. I don't think everyone wants to kill me or anything, I just noticed I feel uncomfortable.

They briefed us many times on not hitting our wives or our children, neither of which I have living with me, so again I was not particularly concerned about that either. I think it goes beyond that and includes dealing with people in general. I think I have less patience and feel more aggressive than I should at times but I can't rationally justify why I feel this way.

I visited with family and friends all day and it was great. It still has not sunk in that I am home for good yet. I was so eager to go home and sleep in my own bed. My house is empty except for my bed and some clothes as everything is still in storage, but it is my bed and it felt great to snuggle up between the pillows and drift off to sleep, even by myself.

Around 4 am I woke up to the sound of a gun shot. I wasn't sweaty and breathing hard or anything. I didn't jump up screaming. I didn't think Hadji had followed me home. I just woke up when I heard someone shooting. I live in the country so it is not unusual to hear gun shots. Ususally they are mine.

I laid there a few minutes and listened for more. I went and turned the heater down a bit and heading back to bed in the darkness I saw a man with a flashlight walk past my bedroom window. I paused for a moment and watched as he started shining his light in my other window. Then my heart was beating out of my chest and I ran through many scenerios in my head.

I was unarmed that time and mentally scanned my surroundings for options. I had a flashlight a few feet away on the nightstand and a clothes hanger rod in the closet to my right. Being unarmed, suprise would be my best defense. He was close, peering through the window. If I ran fast, I could jump through the window and tackle him. All of these things ran through my head in the couple seconds it took him to pass from one side of the window to the other.

I decided to go for my flashlight; I could blind him, then hit him with it. I held my flashlight tight and cautiously pulled my blinds apart to get a good look. Across the field, I saw a car pulling out from my neighbors house. The headlights played tricks through the trees and I watched it start to pull away.

Here's the thing though, even after I knew it was a car and not some guy outside my window, I still walked from room to room and watched the car until it got to the paved road and drove away. I went back to bed and tried to sleep, but every noise alerted me. I was never attacked (except by rockets). I can't explain why I am so jumpy.

I feel so stupid when I think about it. I actually thought about jumping through my bedroom window to tackle someone! I couldn't sleep for a while after that. I had to turn on my MP3 player and put my headphones on to drown out all the things that go bump in the night. I wasn't afraid, that is not it. I think I can only decribe it as startled; repeatedly, involuntarily startled and I hate it.