I am the story teller left with a great responsibility. Left with heart jerking stories to tell.
When I came home from overseas, I didn't expect to be treated as I was. Friends acted like I was a ticking time bomb, and constantly watched what they said, but didn't care to cover up that they were making the effort. My family treated me as if I was a stranger who just walked in. My wife divorced me because not all scars are "sexy". I didn't want to be treated like a hero, like I have said before... But I wasn't a criminal though for the longest time I thought I was.
I became quiet around everyone, or just disappeared, never to look some of my friends and family in the eyes again. Eye contact was something I never did any longer and when I went out I was alone. I no longer knew the world I once thought I had. It hurt to see teens bash the troops I had fought along side with. But I never said a single word. To hear people talk about how soldiers deserve to die because what they are fighting for killed me. Some of my buddies died in vain if those people believed that--I was made in to a monster if they believed that--and I couldn't explain a single thing to them.
The music I once loved became my worst enemy and the words I found so meaningful in the books I read by other soldiers only seemed like memory's shadow disguised as ink on a flimsy page. Pages that could be ripped, burned, or become frail with age. The pages that told the story of so many soldiers like myself. They sit there on shelves in stores, libaries, and homes, and still people believe these hateful things about us. We are still heartless monsters that kill endlessly because we love to do it. We are still mindless zombies that come back from war, too fucked up to care about the people around us... But we're heartless killers.
This pain that is shared between fellow troops of every U.S branch is something we live with. It's something we have lived with since that first bullet entered the body of our enemy and the smell of blood and gun powder invaded our noses. Since the first day there was so much blood on you, you didn't know if it was yours, your buddy's, or the enemy's. You felt it on the day you dodged a thousand rounds coming from unseen places, feeling the air from the bullet wizzing past you and when you open your eyes the nextday it's simply by luck.
No, we soldiers aren't heartless killers. We aren't heroes. We will never be the same because we went to war thinking we were fighting for you. Thinking it was worth losing our younger brothers, families, and friends. But it wasn't and we don't have a reason to not regret it, because of what we see, hear, and what we're told when we come home to the sheep that we protected from the wolves.