Green Patch

Within a day of breaking my hand, I was hitching a ride with PSD to FOB Wright. Far enough that we rarely go, the sides of the valley should fall away as the river flows, but down there it cuts deeper and the tall cliffs drop straight into it from the road. Riding with the Battalion Commander meant a long stop at the Asadabad Afghan Police headquarters for whatever official business he conducts there, so I had some time to roam around. I left my kit-my helmet and body armor-  in the back of the truck. My hand was splinted and taped, and looked sloppy. I found a little snack room with a fridge and grabbed a non-alcoholic Beck’s. I needed a beer so damn bad, though. When I walked out the back door, I was shocked.

It was a garden, a huge garden, there were tall trees and a pavilion, and trellises and arches for ivy to climb. And there were towers tiled in a pale blue, and stone benches. Sure, maybe it wouldn’t have passed for much in the States, but it was the most vivid thing I’d seen for five months.

It made me realize how bad it is where I was, where I am now. Sparse and dreary, poor and battered, cruel, awful, stupid and dead. The worst place on earth. I never saw that before, because when I had her to talk to, everything seemed so unbearably beautiful. I was seeing it through the eyes of love.

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