Home is Hell

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​For Joe, coming home to West Virginia was like being denied his existence. The VA lost his paperwork. The shrink would routinely forget his name, prescribe him bottles of sedatives with names he couldn't pronounce. People he went to high school with didn't look at him as he'd cross the street to the grocery store - and when the produce section's automatic misters turned on, they'd play a cute little "thunder clap" sound which sent Joe diving for cover. That, he noticed, got them looking. Looking right at him. He felt strangely grateful for these moments, as they confirmed he wasn't just a ghost haunting a better life he left behind. Eventually, the court ordered that Joe was a danger to his daughter, and could only see her with an appointed psychiatrist in tow, a stern woman named Alice who clearly hated children. Why was he the danger, and not her? Joe loved his daughter, from the moment he held her, to every time he caught her before she could fall off a bike or a swing set. He was her guardian angel, she made him feel whole, like a protector. She made him forget about the door he sent his men through in Kandahar. He woke up in bed at the memory of the door, but it dawned on him that he wasn't sleeping either. It took him days to sleep, even after weaning himself off of coffee. Was the entire day a dream, and this the reality? His closet door creaked open. It had holes punched in it from when Joe went to a dark place, but now they looked like bullet holes. The moon was so bright, the brown wood looked like it was painted blue. Just like that door in Kandahar. Joe got up, walked through the door, and never came back. https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/


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