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July 27, 2010
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<i>He crept away in the heart of the night,
Thinking it was the most painless farewell.
Little did he know,
My eyes were closed,
But I was not asleep.
I need my father.</i>

<b>My first assignment was here.
Driven by the ache to fight,
For my country.
My sole goal: my country.
Nothing else mattered.
My country needs me.</b>

<i>Leaves marked the time.
They grew small and weak.
They strengthened,
Fierce green against dark brown bark.
They changed colors,
Reflecting shades of the sunset.
Then they fell away.
He didn't return.
My longing for my father intensified.
I need my father.</i>

<b>My life consisted of orders,
Followed through without a second thought.
Blinded by the rush of patriotic adrenaline.
Bullets were shot,
Bullets were avoided,
Bullets were felt.
My country needs me.</b>

<i>Was my father alive still?
He never contacted us.
Was his heart still beating?
Did he forget about me?
Does he remember his daughter?
Where is he?
I need my father.</i>

<b>Time passed in a blur.
Measured not by days,
By missions.
I lived only for the next mission,
For the orders given to me.
My country needs me.</b>

<i>I need you, Dad.
Good grades,
Polite behavior,
Athletic excellence.
I fight every day to keep it up.
The perfect daughter facade.
Maybe now you'll come back to me?
Maybe now you'll love me?
Will you come back and stay?
I need my father.</i>

<b>The order rings through my ears,
"We are done here."
Suddenly, it all rushes back to me.
Home, I am going home.
I do not understand why.
My country is still in need.
My country needs me.<b>

<i>He walks through the door,
My first instinct is to throw myself at him.
Breathe in the scent of my father.
Remember the comfort of his arms.
Another instinct is the anger,
Burning hot within me.
But this man isn't my father.
He is but a stranger before me.
His eyes are dead.
He barely seems to recognize us.
I need my father.</i>

<b>I see these familiar faces.
Recognition is beyond me.
My natural instinct is hostile,
I haven't seen a friendly face in months.
Eleven months.
I try to act like I am okay.
But the man they knew isn't here.
I am now a soldier,
Hardened by the time spent abroad.
My life consists of missions.
Nothing more.
My country needs me.</b>

<i>I try so hard not to let him know,
How much pain he has caused me.
Christmas is in the air,
Only 10 days to go.
Dad has been home four days now.
He seems to have somewhat melted.
Then again,
So have I.
I wonder if he is staying this time.
I need my father.</i>

<b>The shrill sound rings through the air,
I lift the phone to my ear.
"We have another mission for you."
Three days.
I will be back where I belong.
My country needs me.</b>

<i>My world seems to shatter around me.
My father is leaving.
Before Christmas.
He does not want us: he doesn't care.
Rage boils within me.
If he doesn't care, neither will I.
This man is not my father.
He is less than a stranger to me.
He is nobody.
I do not need my father.</i>

<b>In my uniform again.
Gun in hand,
Orders swirling through my mind.
Back where I am meant to be.
I return to fighting,
Day after day,
Month after month,
Year after year.
This time, there's no break.
This is the preferred method.
My country needs me.</b>

<i>I no longer think of my father.
The years pass by,
I consider him dead.
He is dead to me.
My life is great,
I have a bright future.
I do not need my father.</i>

<b>Years pass by.
A large ceremony.
I am now a retired soldier.
Fifteen years of my life,
Spent fighting for my country.
I beam with pride,
Though I am dying inside.
What will I do without my missions to guide me?
An idle mind is the death of any man.
My country does not need me.</b>

<i>I hear of my father's retirement.
No emotion sparks within.
That door is closed.
I do not need my father.</i>

<b>I am haunted.
Without my missions, my orders,
My life has no more purpose.
Gruesome memories,
Wounds I caused,
Lives I've stolen.
I close my eyes and see it all.
I open my eyes and see it all.
It never leaves,
It never ends.
I am tortured by my past.
My country does not need me.</b>

<i>My children are beautiful.
They play with their father every day.
Tears fill my eyes at the scene,
Yet my heart is made of ice.
I do not need my father.</i>

<b>This torment eats away at me.
My soul is tarnished,
By the lives I have taken,
By the horrors I have seen,
By the emptiness I feel.
I long for my family,
For some source of comfort.
But the time has long gone.
They no longer answer my calls,
They do not need me.
My country does not need me.
Nobody needs me.</b>

<i>My father calls,
Time and time again.
I do not pick up,
He lost his chance,
Fifteen years ago.
I do not need my father.</i>

<b>Walking through the park one day,
I spot my daughter,
She's so beautiful.
She sees me.
Anger fills her eyes,
Melts away just as fast.
I run to her and embrace her.
She wraps her arms around me,
Sobbing against my shoulder.
"I missed you, Dad."
"I need you, Dad."
Hope sparks within me.
My daughter needs me.</b>

<i>All the walls I built,
Come crashing down.
My father here in the flesh.
It's unbearable,
Dormant for so many years,
My longing for him comes back,
In the form of pure need.
He is in my life again.
He promises to never leave me again.
Years of anger dissolve away.
I need my father.</i>

<b>How stupid I was,
Keeping her away,
All these years.
My daughter needs me.</b>

<i>How stupid I was,
Keeping him away,
All these years.
I need my father.</i>

<b>We walk to her home together.
Drinking in each other’s presence.
Realization hits me.
My daughter needs me,
But I, too, need my daughter.</b>

<i>His eyes scream an untold tale.
My father is suffering,
And I become his rock.
He cries,
And I do too.
All the unshed tears from years past,
Flooding out.
I need my father,
My father needs me, too.</i>

<b>I am no longer grieving.
My past no longer haunts me.
I begin to smile,
The first smiles in years.
A new life begins.
A happier life.
My daughter needs me.
I need my daughter.</b>

<i>I once again have a father.
I repent those cruel words,
Uttered years ago,
Within my mind.
But those are history,
As is everything else.
I have a father again,
We are beginning a life again.
I need my father.
My father needs me.</i>

<b>I need her.</b>
<i>I need him.</i>
<b>She needs me.</b>
<i>He needs me.</i>
<i><b>We need each other</i></b>

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