December 26, 2005

It’s a strange feeling, having to stay in camp: and I haven’t done this in so long, since late February. Nine and a half months later, here I am in the orderly room, trying to sort out my thoughts and to not feel so incredibly isolated form the rest of the world.

But it’s hard. I’ve always been a lonely person. As an awkward child I would often dream worlds up for myself, and retreat into their comforting embrace: the rules that governed these universes were mine. I remember especially my soft toys, how I’d name them and talk to them and wish so hard that they’d talk back to me. Eventually they did, and in manifold beautiful voices, like angels with stuffed cottony bodies.

This continued into early adolescence. I try to think of any deep, lasting friendships that I’ve made from that period, and I can’t manage to think of any other than one or two. I was one of those teenagers whom puberty took by surprise, and who never fully enjoyed the camaraderie of being one of the guys (see entry: gay issues). It really wasn’t until junior college that finally I succeeded in integrating myself into society proper, and reorientate myself into a whole new world.

So enlistment and conscription has been rather a blow. Just when I start making solid, deep friendships which may actually develop into lifelong relationships, things blow up in my face and I find myself losing the people that I love dearly, because I no longer have the time nor the energy for them. Through no fault of our own, I begin to blame them for this loss and start hating them.

Should I even be surprised? Isn’t it in the nature of people to drift apart? Isn’t life, as they say, like that?

I take things harder than I should. I always do. But that’s hard not to do, not when you’ve got such a short shelf life (or at least if society tells you that you’ve got such a short shelf life): and mine is nothing if not infinitesimally brief. Increasingly I feel as if I’m missing out on something: something huge, something amazing, somethat that could potentially change my life entirely – but I’m really not quite sure what this thing is, or if it is good or bad.

Life is slipping through my fingers. I don’t know how I’ll make my mark on the world before I disappear into eternity, swallowed by its huge and insurmountable weight, the deadweight of time lost and people left behind. Rummaging through the duty orderly report files I see names from 2002, and ask myself: what was this person like? Did he, like me, feel so alone and isolated doing duty on a Thursday night? Where has he gone? and I wonder if in 2010 anyone will bother rummaging through the selfsame file, the 2002 documents having been shredded, and wonder what I was like, if I felt alone and isolated doing duty, like him, and wonder where I’ve ended up. That I don’t know myself, but I sincerely hope that I’ll be part of the Stanford class of 2010/11, and that somehow I’ll be happy.

Is this it? Is this all my legacy (and how I hate that word, how I hate and detest it) in its entirety? Will I really have wasted two years of my life? How afraid I am: if I live till 30 then two years will really have been one-fifteenth of my life. Time that I could have spent making and keeping friends, sleeping around, writing poems, going to the gym, learning to dance, starting a business, perfecting a theorem of economics. Time I could have spent doing things that I wanted to do.

It secretly breaks my heart that all the army’s paperwork is shredded after three years. It seems like such a complete waste of all that effort. As if, if files upon files of ages upon ages past were put together, the completeness of human sorrow, too puny in its private ennuis and its personal trivialities, would show itself in its fearsome and mundane entirety. As if, by destroying the documents, the heaviness of broken hearts would not weigh down so heavily on those who trudge on in sludgey sorrow and self-pity, awaiting the day that their sacrifices (the silly griefs, the small anxieties, the sex forgone) will be torn apart and incinerated. As if to appease the malevolent gods of infinite unknown sadnesses with piles upon piles of paper offerings.


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