I have a new book of short stories, The Futility of Loving a Soldier, coming out December 1st from Evolved Publishing.
The Futility of Loving a Soldier is a collection of eleven short stories about the effects of combat on relationships with military friends and family. Moving between why we love our troops to why we hate them, The Futility of Loving a Soldier demonstrates that we wouldn’t want lives without them.
Today’s excerpt is from “A Wedding,” which is my favorite story in the collection. Eli and Abby were best friends growing up and haven’t really talked in nearly ten years – Abby went to college and Eli enlisted. He was wounded, and she visited him in the hospital.
I stepped into the room where he lay unconscious, passed out from pain and medication. He looked so pathetic lying there, with bigger muscles than the last time I’d seen him but paler, deathly pale with huge black circles under his eyes, cuts all over his exposed face and neck, and a bandage where his left arm should’ve been.
I edged over to his bed and picked up his right hand—his only hand now—careful not to disturb any of the wires and tubes sticking out of him, then stared at his fingers and palm, tracing the callouses on his fingertips before gently setting it back down and leaving the room.
I didn’t go back.
Fortunately Jamie Linn was there to help him rebound and rebuild once he was back home. She’d had a crush on him for as long as anyone could remember, and she was a nurse now, or home care aide or traveling physical therapist, something that got her into his house each day and got him back to healthy. And once he was better, up and around and selling used cars with his dad, she’d stuck around. It was the perfect romance story come to life, except my mom said Eli had bad spells where he’d just lock himself in his room and stare at the walls, and Jamie Linn got all weepy whenever a show like The Bachelor or 19 Kids and Counting came on and reminded her that she was twenty-seven, childless, and engaged to a moody one-handed used-car salesman.
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