June 23, 2004

I got the chance to chat with my friend in Iraq today. It was a little unnerving, he didn't sound like his usual self. His sharp wit and sarcasm was greatly subdued, almost nonexistent. Then I found out that five of his friends have been killed in recent weeks. Five. It would be difficult enough to lose one friend to violent circumstances, let alone five. I think my heart broke a little bit for him, because no one should have to go through that.

He did have some good news for me, which was quite welcome after discussing the heavy topics of war, death and morality. As it turns out, he will be home on a two week leave later this week. His first item of business is to escape to a cabin in the woods, girlfriend in tow, for four days. A bit of a 'detox' period that I'm sure is greatly needed. But once he's back in the city, he and I will go have some coffee and chat. I'm really looking forward to this, it's been ages since I've seen him.

Extreme circumstances tend to change people, and I'm a bit afraid to find out how much this war has changed him. I remember an intelligent, quick-witted, sharp-tongued young man who was only 19 but could easily pass for 25. I'm hoping that, despite the things he has been though, he'll still be the same man that I remember, only a few years older and wiser.