BAD GUYS

“Evan stares at me.
I try to hug him. He takes a step back. I pause, my heart in my throat. I’ve got to reach out to him, let myself be vulnerable. I find the courage, but he backs up again.
“You can’t go to Iraq anymore.”
“I know.”
He looks up at Deanna, then back to me. “Did you fight bad guys? You told me you weren’t.” His voice is suspicious, full of accusation. He doesn’t trust me, and I don’t blame him for that.
“No, Evan. I didn’t fight bad guys.”
I can’t bring myself to tell him the complete truth. I want so desperately to go back into this fight. I miss it every day. I always felt I could change the world with a rifle in my hands and our flag on my shoulder.
“Did you get shot?” he looks me over, apparently searching for bullet wounds.
I grin a little. “No, Bud, I didn’t get shot.”
“People get shot in Iraq.”
“Yes, they do.”
It strikes me then that Evan for the first time has a grasp on the dangers that are faced over there. He’s six now, and the world is coming into focus for him.
“People get shot, Daddy. They die. Bad guys kill them.”
I think of Edward Iwan and Sean Sims.
“Yeah, I know they do, Evan.”
David Bellavia, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War

military man standing beside an american flag
Photo by Malcolm Garret on Pexels.com

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