The Sand's Clutches

October 20, 2010
Dear Diary,
The sand is flying everywhere, whipping through my hair as I run, getting in my eyes with each blink. The yells of random people telling me where to be, all blending together to somehow form a logical sentence. Sometimes people go crazy out here…I can see it happening to any on e of us. We’re fighting for our country, refusing to lose, never giving up. We don’t know what people say about us back home…frankly we don’t care; we just focus on the task at hand. Protection of our country. We each have a different reason for doing what we do, whether it’s the knowledge that someone has to do it, or family tradition…everyone has a reason for risking their lives in these terrible conditions. Everyone has a reason for getting sand in their eyes.

There’s no life in this dreadful place, no life except for us…and the people we’re protecting our country against. Life is so unpredictable here…one moment there will be peace, and I think that things may actually turn out okay, but the next there’s yelling, screaming, gunfire, bombs exploding in nearby places, and that feeling of peace is immediately washed clean from my system. If anyone is going to survive here, they need a feeling of security, whether it’s their family, their friends…heck, it could be their dog, people just need that feeling of security…that satisfaction to know that they’re risking their life for someone, not just for the heck of it. Without that feeling, anybody would surely lose their mind here. Just the sand is enough to make one want to kill themselves.

Some people find solace in keeping count of the days that we’re stuck in this dreadful place, in these dreadful conditions. I find it pointless, we’re stuck here until we leave, I just fight through the days, and when the day comes that my Staff Sergeant will tell me to hop on that plane and fly home, I’ll leave. I won’t admit this to anyone, but I can’t wait for that day, I hope for that day to come soon. I just want my stay in this awful place to end…I don’t want the last thing I see to be sand.

Until next time,
Corporal Annie Jackson

Two days later the plane to take soldiers home floated overhead as I stared at it longingly. I wish it was my turn to return to my homeland. Every night I lie in my cot and pray for God to take mercy on me and get me out of this sandy place. They said it was only supposed to be nine months…it’s felt like eighteen years.

“Corporal Jackson!” my Staff Sergeant screamed, breaking me out of my dream-like trance. “It’s your turn to board that plane!” I let a smile break out over my face as he shouted this at me. I was finally leaving, I would finally see something other than sand…for the first time in nine months. I gathered the green cargo bag that held my clothes, and every book and every letter that my family and friends had ever sent me.

As I walked passed my Staff Sergeant he grabbed my arm, lugging me backwards a little bit.

“Say hi to your little girl for me, okay?” he asked with a small smile on his face.

“Yes sir, thank you.” I said to him, heartfelt meaning lacing my tone.

“Why are you thanking me, Corporal?”

“Because you helped keep me sane, even in my most insane of moments.” I left him there and half limped to the cargo jet due to my heavy bag.

About seven hours into the sixteen hour flight, I pulled out my journal that had been sent to me by my husband.

Dear Diary,
I can actually see flowing water. We’re over the Pacific Ocean… I think I actually forgot that an ocean is blue. I may have to take my family to the beach when I get back to DC. Although the sand might scar me, I think I’ve seen enough of it for a lifetime. My family doesn’t know I’m coming home yet, I haven’t had the chance to write them, so I guess I’ll just keep it a surprise. We have about nine more hours in this flight…I just want it to end. I want to get home and see my husband, and my daughter.
I can’t wait to see what I’ve missed over in America…just nine more hours. I think that I may go to sleep, for it’s been so long since I’ve had a peaceful sleep…without fear of never waking up.
I’m finally free of that place…the sand has finally let me out of its clutches.

Corporal Annie Jackson

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