As I sat in my car, tracing over the jagged scar that ran from my neck to my collarbone, I thought about the two men who had died, the handful that had been injured, the war that continued without me. But wasn’t I still fighting a war? My own personal war, my own personal hell, raging inside of me. I would never be the same. I would just be this, an empty shell of a human, guilt-ridden and damaged. Something would always be missing.

Sure, I would continue to ‘live’ if you could call it that. I would work my 9 to 5 among my cubicle zombies, pay my mortgage, kiss my wife hello/goodbye. I would watch my children grow. I would do all the things that were expected of me and be present physically but my head will always still be there, in that quiet morning, watching that little boy on the other side of the fence.

I am empty but it was time to play the part of ‘normal’ again.

I locked my non-descriptive 4-door sedan, walked along my white picket fence and opened my front door.

The house smelled of meatloaf.

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