After Iraq I came home to find no peace anywhere I tried to settle. Nothing seemed to be the way I had left it. I mean, I did not expect things to be just as I had left it, but I expected my wife’s love to be as it was before I left for war. To not have wavered like the way it did.
Few weeks after I came back, I caught her on the bed with a man she said was there for her during the time of her need. She said she was sorry. But blaming me for going to fight a war that wasn’t mine. She blamed me for leaving her all by herself.
A week later she filed for divorce, and we went our separate ways.
After that, I decided to move as far from Boston as I could. So I moved to Denver to start a new life. But I still felt unsettled.
I tried to work as a mechanic assistant in an auto shop in Denver, but I kept running into trouble. One of those was when my boss was bullied by a customer, and I stepped in to defend him because he didn’t do anything wrong. Although I gave the customer more beating then I should, it felt right in that moment to kick his ass.
He returned home to bring a group of 12 men. They beat us up and damaged a lot of things in the shop.
My boss said it was my fault that the man came back with the men to beat us up and destroyed his shop. He said if I hadn’t stepped in and made it my fight he would have settled it amicably with the man; instead of wreaking so much havoc to his shop. He even called me too much trouble. I guess that pissed me off and I shoved him to a side, picked an RV in the shop, dropped the money I could afford for the RV and hit the road.
I spent that night in a motel room, which felt nice and homely, even though I didn’t think I know what home meant anymore. But there were nice people around there, and for a night I slept peacefully without my usual nightmares.
Since I got back, I had seen myself back at the battleground in Iraq with bombs going off, soldiers falling from my side, dead faces laying everywhere. I would wake from seeing myself sinking in the middle of the corpses, screaming for help and struggling to get out.
Sometimes I would feel dead people’s hands all over me, dragging me down into a pool of blood with them. And I would wake up screaming and sweating all over.
The next day I decided that I won’t be staying in one place for a while. I would be driving across Colorado, from one park to campground. Perhaps I would find the solace I sought in that since I have found none till now. Who knows what will happen after today?
I woke up that morning feeling anew, and I had slept well. I went to the bathroom, and I had myself a hot shower, dress well picked up my small backpack and headed for the reception. I had a little chat with the owner and thanked him for his hospitality.
“Nice place you have here,” I complimented.
“I’m glad you enjoyed your stay,” he replied, and I nodded.
“We hope you can come back sometime.”
“Maybe I will,” I replied as I walked towards my RV.
I checked my map and realized that the closest park to where I was, was the West Mountain Park. It was about a 40 minutes’ drive from where I was. However, I didn’t head straight there. I decided to go into town first to get some gasoline and buy some groceries.
I ate breakfast and packed some sandwiches with me. Then I started driving towards Darkwood RV Park.
It took me longer than I had thought because there had been an accident on the highway.
A deer had run into a car making the driver lose control of the car after smashing his head on the steering. We had to stay a bit for the road to be cleared.
Finally, when I got to the park, I was amazed at how beautiful and clean it was out there. I never imagined the place to be so peaceful and quiet. I spent three days there before I moved on. I must say it was one of the most beautiful three days of my life.
Then I moved on to another park called the Colorado Trail RV park. A marvelous sight. I was almost held forever by the warmth of that place. It wasn’t as quiet as Darkwood but just as comely. Each day I spent there I used it to exploit the beautiful terrain.
I spent four more days there and moved on to another park not far from the Colorado trail.
Two veterans of war owned John & John Cabin and RV Park. They had fought in Vietnam, doing two tours. They met during their first tour and became friends instantly, watching each other’s back for the remainder of the tour and obviously out of it.
They established this place after their second tour with their bare hands. It took them almost ten years to get the park to where it was. I spent a lot of time talking to them during my three days stay. They did inspire me a lot.
They gave me hope. The made me realize that what I was going through was not peculiar to just me, but most people that went to war experienced this after coming home. They said if they could overcome it, I could too. They said it was good that I was traveling around to process things, but I would need to settle at some point. I must say I fell reassured with them.
I thanked them on the day I was leaving and continued my journey feeling a new sense of vigor.