Please read the beginning of this story as shown within the “Afghanistan Story” tab above.
Afghanistan, July 4th, 2010, Camp Delaram
The chow hall air was almost damp with sweat. The third country nationals (TCNs) loaded my plate with steak and lobster and green beans. The plate steamed from the heat of the food. It was a feast that I hadn’t seen before in Afghanistan.
I guess they made a special delivery for the 4th of July. Where the fuck did this lobster come from? Isn’t Afghanistan land-locked? And ice would melt in a second out here.
As I exited the chow hall, my eyes adjusted to the blinding sun and a large gust of oven-hot wind washed over me and my food. The wind elegantly deposited the usual amount of sand on us both.
I crunched my way over to the large tent that served as a place to eat. I swung open the door and entered darkness. As I stood and waited for my eyes to adjust to the lack of blinding sun, I tried to focus on the faces before me in the tent.
They stared at me as I passed and sat down alone. I was used to the stares at this point so I determinedly avoided all of their eyes and focused my attention on the tiny little American flag on the center of the table. It looked flimsy compared to the giant flag that hung at the top of the tent.
I was so nauseated.
Swallowing the bile that had crept into my throat from the small walk from the chow hall, I looked down at my plate. I poked the rubbery lobster.
I fucking hate lobster.
I picked up my fork and knife and tried to cut into the steak. After I sawed at the tough steak for what seemed like an hour, I managed to cut off a small piece. Taking a small bite, I chewed the tasteless and leather-like meat. Stopping mid-chew, I hastily opened the napkin that lay next to my plate and vomited into it. Wiping the bile from my mouth, I sat and looked at my plate, shoving the green beans from side to side.
I need to eat something. This baby needs something.
I looked at the meat again and heaved.
“And if you feel like the whole wide world is raining down on youuuu…”
I lamented the song lyrics in my head.
Everything is so fucking hot. It’s so hot here. I don’t want hot lobster and steak. I want ice. I want ice cold watermelon. I want…
My mouth began to water at the thought of a juicy slice of cold watermelon. I imagined an ice cube on my tongue, slowly melting. I would let the cool, melted water slide down my hot throat and feel it enter my belly and gently slosh around. Even the watermelon that the grunts had was hot and sticky. I wanted cold.
I’m not even hungry. I want to be cold. I’m salivating at the thought of being cold.
I glanced around at the Georgians in the chow hall. None of them were paying attention to me anymore as I reached over and plucked the small American flag from the center of my table.
I threw my plate into the trash and pocketed the American flag.
Happy Birthday, America.