Shellshocked-soldier-001 (1)

Going through high school, I had no friends. I was constantly bullied, I never got laid, I was a wuss in everyone's eyes. My very own teachers laughed at me. They loved to torment me, but not to make it look like they were purposely doing it. They knew which students liked to humiliate me and always made me partner up with them. They always answered my questions with short, simple answers in a sarcastic tone, making me look foolish for every question I asked.

I never fought back, I always cowered into my own little world and thought about just what happened. I contemplated suicide almost every day. Nobody liked me and I was not going to stick up for myself. Why did I refuse to stick up for myself? Maybe it was the way I was raised, I'm not fully sure.

Every guy in my high school was always talking about going into the military. They mentioned it so often that they seemed to only be doing it for attention, not for the common reasons of serving our country and getting a higher grasp of responsibility.

I joined the military, and half of the high school boys did not even pass the ASVAB test that you take before you join the military. I dunno... I didn't care. I got in the military, and nobody knew I had the guts to, but I didn't care what they thought of me.

With my luck, my group had to go overseas almost instantly after training. A small territorial war was going on over in Syria that we took part in for two months. We were on our way back, but before we even got out of Syria, a war was declared. I was asked to stay and help, considering that I was only a mechanic and I had to do very little fighting. I agreed, considering I had no plans for when I returned home.

Over the course of several months, I was starting to become more thankful for the small things in life. I sat on the dirt road one dark night while the rest of my crew was asleep, thinking about everything. When I joined the military, one of my first real friendships were made, and the first one in a while. When this war broke out, he was killed within only the first couple of months. I was traumatized that my first real friend was dead.

Well, when our crew was sent back and the war was pretty much over, I couldn't help but begin to start up again on something that I hadn't done since high school – suicidal thoughts.

I survived the ride home back to America. I was less depressed when I reached the US; the reminder of how the city streets looked, how lucky we were to even have a strong economy, and how free we were behind all of the things that limits that freedom. But then I realized, my whole life, I haven't built up for a life. I returned from war but no life was made for me to return to. No friends, no family, nobody to cheer for my return.

Except it seemed like somebody did remember. When I returned, a big "Welcome Home" sign was hanging in my living room, and a figure, shaped like my military friend that passed away at war, was standing under it. The shape was the same, even the face, but he almost looked like a three dimensional shade, not considering his eyes staring right at me. He did not wear a smile, nor a frown, just a firm, serious facial expression, almost like he wanted to kill me.

I looked at him through my window. I was afraid to go in there. After a minute of staring, I swore he began to laugh at how frightened I was, at how much I jumped when I saw someone completely black in my house. I could see the white of his teeth glowing, a smile growing, but then it formed into the reality – a white deck of cards setting up on a shelf, light reflecting off of one of my books, and an old coat of mine laying on a chair. But I swear, there's no way that could've been it the whole time. And who in the hell put up the "Welcome Home" sign?