Never Left

Discussion
Dec 22, 2015

The leaves had died and the snow had started to fall. Snow gathered on the side of my window sill, the only connection to the outside that I had in this prison cell. But this prison cell was my home. It had been my home for eight years. It was the summer of 2002 when I went into the army. I was sent into the Afghanistan War. It was a dreadful sight to see; there was so much death and too much for me to handle. I witnessed my friends and other servicemen get murdered out there. It was the worst experience of my life. Of course I'm proud that I served my country, but my life would've been a lot better if I hadn't.

The worst part began the day that I came home. I had received word that we were going home in late 2006. By “we” I meant the very few of us that survived an attack on our camp. Only 16 of us remained out of my whole troop. That was all behind me as soon as I came home to New York City. The city seemed different somehow; the entire world did. I had spent four years of my life in another country in a real-life horror movie, watching my friends go one-by-one. If I could make it through that, I could make it through anything.

I had no siblings and my mother had passed away when I was very young. When I was young, my father spent much of his time working to support our small family. He was a good father, and I'd happily go home to him, but I lost him last year. I was in Afghanistan when I received news from my uncle that he had passed away from a stroke. He was my father and this was heartbreaking, but after all of the death I had seen overseas, this was just another one to add to the list.

There was nobody to turn to. Some of my friends from the war were now gone, and I couldn't intrude a returning serviceman’s life. I was completely on my own in the large city of New York, fighting a war of my own. I was homeless, but I wasn't afraid. I'd seen much scarier things in Afghanistan. But I was independent, and I could make it on my own. So I decided I'd live on the streets. I'd make it myself to show what a true soldier I am.

But there was a problem. The war seemed to never go away even in America where I was supposed to be safe. Everywhere I went reminded me of the war. The loud volume of the city, from the car horns to the people chattering, reminded me of the blaring machine guns from Afghanistan. Airplanes brought up memories of fighter jets. The war had ruined me, and it was everywhere I looked. Have I even left Afghanistan; is this my imagination?

It seems as if the setting had changed, but I felt no different. Everything had me on edge. Who were the enemies? Who were my allies? Was I just going crazy? I didn't know what was real. I began to run down the street, but people were everywhere. What was going on? Who were these people and whose side were they on?

“Hey, would you watch it!” yelled a man.

“Someone stop that man, he must be crazy!” yelled another.

They must be my enemies. One tall man ran into me, and I knew this must've been it.

“What are you doing?!” he yelled. I reached for my gun but it wasn't there. What was I to do? I threw my fist straight to his face. He pushed me straight to the ground, and I continued to fight. I survived four years in this war, and I won't quit today. The next thing I knew, somebody was pulling me off of him. That didn't stop me; nothing could stop me.

“Handcuff him! Grab the pepper spray! He isn't stopping!” yelled one voice.

“Hurry, shove him in the car!” yelled another.

That was all I remembered. I woke up in a small room next to a doctor.

“Have I been shot?”

“Why would you have been shot? According to the police, you started the fight,” said the doctor.

“Fight?! It's a war, what do you mean?!”

“This is no war. This is New York City. Now, I've done some research on you, and you're clearly showing signs of severe PTSD.” PTSD? Aren't I still in Afghanistan?

“I also found through your records that your head was severely injured in battle and you've had to get a metal plate implanted. This can affect your ability to function and you need to be under careful watch. But if you continue to pose a threat to society, you will be taken to jail.”

“You're insane!” I yelled as I lunged at him.

“You must be on the other side! What are you, a spy?!”

“Nurse! I need help! Bring a sedative!” he yells.

“No! I won't give up now!” I screamed. But that was it. I felt a sharp pain in my side, and I looked to find a woman injecting me with a needle.

That was it. I woke up to find myself in a cold, lonely cell with no connection to the outside world besides a small window where snow gathered on the sill.

Comments

PTSD

Submitted by avillanueva on Thu, 2016-01-07 12:51.

Dear Justin

I am happy with your post “Never left”. Because I never knew what was PTSD before I read this story. Also I never knew what soldiers go through.

One sentence that stand s out for me was “now I’ve done some research on you, and your clearly showing signs of PTSD”. This stood out for me because I will like to know what PTSD means.

Another sentence that I liked was “the war seemed to never go away even in america where it was supposed to be safe. This stood out for me because I never feel safe in america.

Your post reminds me of something I saw in the news when U.S soldiers saved ISIS hostages. So one of the U.S soldiers got shot and killed.

Thanks for your writing . I look forward to seeing what you write next because I really enjoyed this story. Also I will like to learn What PTSD means.

PTSD

Submitted by avillanueva on Thu, 2016-01-07 12:51.

Dear Justin

I am happy with your post “Never left”. Because I never knew what was PTSD before I read this story. Also I never knew what soldiers go through.

One sentence that stand s out for me was “now I’ve done some research on you, and your clearly showing signs of PTSD”. This stood out for me because I will like to know what PTSD means.

Another sentence that I liked was “the war seemed to never go away even in america where it was supposed to be safe. This stood out for me because I never feel safe in america.

Your post reminds me of something I saw in the news when U.S soldiers saved ISIS hostages. So one of the U.S soldiers got shot and killed.

Thanks for your writing . I look forward to seeing what you write next because I really enjoyed this story. Also I will like to learn What PTSD means.

dear justin

Submitted by fcastaneda on Fri, 2016-01-08 11:22.

I am proud with your essay “never left “ because you had great details and you had full sentence.Also I when you went to the army.

One sentence you wrote that stand out for me I “Of course I am proud that I served my country Because my cousin is in the army .Also I like when a person care about his or her country.Also I think this is a good sentence.

Another sentence that I like was “The was a good father” This stood out for me because I lost someone when i was in the world yet .

Your essay reminds me of something that happen to me one time … my mom had a boyfriend and his name is Fernando and when me and my brother was in school and after school finished me and my brother was waiting like a hour and then a teacher took me and my brother to the police station and when my mom came to pick us up she had a black and blue on her right eye but sometimes the will tell her that he would hit her so hard the all her teeth will fall out but when the said that i was scared .Thank for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next ,because I like when you put details and puts things from the war on to real life.

struggling

Submitted by tmyrick on Fri, 2016-01-29 12:54.

Dear Justin,

I am suprised to know that people who have Illneses live Diffrently from others.

One sentence that stands out for me is that the person wasn’t going to give up on what illneses he was dealing with.

Another sentence is, he thought he was still in the war, even though he wasn’t.

Another sentence is that he lost his family and friends.He lost his mother as a child. His father he died, and his uncle had a stroke and passed away.So, he was dealing with a lot on his mind. His friends were killed in the war, and basicly on his mind was,who could i turn to? who could you turn to if that happened to?

This story reminds i had mentally sick neighbors who were dealing with things like that. who really couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write back.because, i enjoyed reading this story.

Dear Justin, I am happy with

zbrown's picture
Submitted by zbrown on Tue, 2016-01-12 11:31.

Dear Justin,

I am happy with your letter/essay ‘’ never left ,’’because he did a great job, he used appropriately vocabulary complete sentences.I also liked that justin explained a lot in his letter/essay.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is when justin said,’’this is new york city,now i've done some research on you,and your clearly showing signs of severe ptsd.’’ I think this is a great sentence because i like the way he including ptsd because lots of people in this world can catch that.

Another sentence that i liked was when they said ‘’the war seemed to never go away even in america where i was supposed to be safe.’’ This stood out for me the most because he used an important word which was america.

Your essay reminds me of something that happened to me.One time i had a conversation wwith my aunt about america how it is suppopsed to be safe and not doing dangerous things.me and my aunt was talking about how bad people and how criminals react to america.My aunt was also telling me that it is not good to be a criminal because they get consiquences and they go to jail.

Thanks for your writing.i look forward to seeing what you write next,because i really enjoyed and liked this.I really liked a lot of parts to it because he put his true life in it.I also will like to see more if you add a lot of more details and if you add more and more about your life.

Dear Justin, I am happy with

zbrown's picture
Submitted by zbrown on Tue, 2016-01-12 11:31.

Dear Justin,

I am happy with your letter/essay ‘’ never left ,’’because he did a great job, he used appropriately vocabulary complete sentences.I also liked that justin explained a lot in his letter/essay.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is when justin said,’’this is new york city,now i've done some research on you,and your clearly showing signs of severe ptsd.’’ I think this is a great sentence because i like the way he including ptsd because lots of people in this world can catch that.

Another sentence that i liked was when they said ‘’the war seemed to never go away even in america where i was supposed to be safe.’’ This stood out for me the most because he used an important word which was america.

Your essay reminds me of something that happened to me.One time i had a conversation wwith my aunt about america how it is suppopsed to be safe and not doing dangerous things.me and my aunt was talking about how bad people and how criminals react to america.My aunt was also telling me that it is not good to be a criminal because they get consiquences and they go to jail.

Thanks for your writing.i look forward to seeing what you write next,because i really enjoyed and liked this.I really liked a lot of parts to it because he put his true life in it.I also will like to see more if you add a lot of more details and if you add more and more about your life.

dear justin

zbrown's picture
Submitted by zbrown on Tue, 2016-01-12 11:32.

Dear Justin,

I am happy with your letter/essay ‘’ never left ,’’because he did a great job, he used appropriately vocabulary complete sentences.I also liked that justin explained a lot in his letter/essay.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is when justin said,’’this is new york city,now i've done some research on you,and your clearly showing signs of severe ptsd.’’ I think this is a great sentence because i like the way he including ptsd because lots of people in this world can catch that.

Another sentence that i liked was when they said ‘’the war seemed to never go away even in america where i was supposed to be safe.’’ This stood out for me the most because he used an important word which was america.

Your essay reminds me of something that happened to me.One time i had a conversation wwith my aunt about america how it is suppopsed to be safe and not doing dangerous things.me and my aunt was talking about how bad people and how criminals react to america.My aunt was also telling me that it is not good to be a criminal because they get consiquences and they go to jail.

Thanks for your writing.i look forward to seeing what you write next,because i really enjoyed and liked this.I really liked a lot of parts to it because he put his true life in it.I also will like to see more if you add a lot of more details and if you add more and more about your life.