THE DURAND LINE |
February 17, 2009
THE DURAND LINE
Name: Vampire 06
Posting date: 2/17/09
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Folsom, CA
Milblog: Afghanistan Shrugged
De inimico non loquaris male, sed cogites.
She’s sitting there in the corner; we haven’t spoken in about 12 days. Green eyes leer at me each time I pass by; leering at me with a knowing that I’ll be coming back soon. Whether I want to or not. Jealous no more, a quiet confidence that no matter what in several days I’ll be back. A subliminal Siren’s Song calling me to return and smash myself against the razor sharp rocks of combat.
My rucksack.The green illum tape on the frame staring at me from the recess of my garage, still covered in Afghan dust.
Her ad hoc family is strung out halfway across the world, due purely to my actions. An overprotective if oft-described plump sister and hardheaded brother, my IBA* and ACH* are stored in a container in Kuwait. Waiting for my metamorphosis from normal human back to combat advisor.
The final piece of the functionally dysfunctional family -- a short, dark brother prone to loud outbursts -- my M4. Secured in our arms rooms. The piece de resistance to the transition. Kafka would be dismayed that it happens over thousands of miles and hours of travel, more a slow Darwinian de-evolution than a sudden shocking change.
For right now she sits and waits in the garage, the garage door my own private Durand Line.* I’ll take stuff out of the ruck and bring it into the house, but not the ruck itself. As if my failure to bring it in ensures that where it’s been won’t contaminate my home. Having it here acknowledges that I must go back and ply my trade, but not at this moment.
Being home is wonderful, but it’s slowly waning to an end. The weather here in Northern California has been cold, wet and rainy, serving as a perverse amuse-bouche to my return.
Going from a land of peace and plenty back to Afghanistan; "un-peaceful and without" doesn’t seem to do it justice. So much to so little, in so quick a time.
Am I ready to go back? No. I would never choose this, and yet I did!
But as I said before, it calls to you. Only those that have experienced the gentle, syrup-like call, know what I’m writing about. Leaving what you truly love for a scene of anarchy and violence doesn’t make sense in any rational way. However, I still go, pulled onward not just by duty but desire.
My friend Old Blue told me that Afghanistan would in some way be different upon my return. I don’t doubt that, and anticipate it with hope and dread. Things will have occurred in my absence, providing proof that no matter how important I believe my actions are, events still proceed without me.
But for now my ruck stays across our agreed-upon line of demarcation; her there and me here. The line is fragile, but what is on the far side does not belong here, and the reverse is also true.
The day is coming when I will step across the line and begin my evolutionary journey. Not today though.
It will wait, sitting, leering and waiting for my predestined return. What it does not know is that there is another line farther off on the horizon marking an end to its hold.
And each day brings it closer.
IBA: Interceptor Body Armor
ACH: Advanced Combat Helmet
Durand Line: The 1,610-mile border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, named after Sir Mortimer Durand, foreign secretary of the British Indian government from 1884-1894.