You would think that because I am a Marine that life isn’t that hard to live. I’d like to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong. War is hell on earth. I have seen so many things that will haunt me for the rest of my life. No matter how much I try to forget the light fading from someone’s eyes, I cannot. My life is one determined by the mind. I wake up every day to fears of what will trigger the turmoil that sends me into overdrive. My life is depicted by sounds and colors and things that make me less of a man.
Who am I, well I am CPL Blake Johnson. I am a United States Marine and I am living with post-traumatic stress disorder. If it weren’t for Anna, the sunshine in my life things would be much harder than they are.
Being a cosmetologist is not the easiest job for me, and after losing my best friend to her inner demons. I am bound and determined to not lose the man I love as well. They say in my line of profession you are more than what you claim. You are a therapist, a shrink, a person that listens to anything and everything. I am not that person. I have so much built up inside me I think I may be about to explode. I hope that this isn’t true because my heart picked someone that happens to be as inconsolable as I feel.
Who am I? Well, my name is Anna Henderson. I am just trying to live my life one moment at a time and praying that I don’t mess it up.
What can I say about this book that will convince you to give it a try? I think that the author does a great job of addressing something that can be so difficult to talk about – PTSD. I loved Blake. He decided to join the military to prove that he was better then he thought of himself. What he found was a group of men that became friends for life, before tragedy struck. Once he came home without his friends, he was seemingly normal. He did not lose his legs like his buddy Jameson. But the scars ran deep and were well-hidden, or were they?
He found that not only did he suffer from PTSD, but his favorite uncle suffered from it as well. I liked that the author touched on things that are not typical symptoms; she mentioned that his favorite uncle used cutting to “relieve” pressure from his hell, along with drinking and making bad decisions. In addition, Blake’s subconscious had him not only experiencing the need to drink and carouse, it also brought back a buddy he lost in the war.
Anna is a sweet breath of sunshine in Blake’s world. She centers him and calms him down. Anna’s own life is not all roses though, and she goes through a situation that brings on her own struggle with PTSD. Here is another thing I appreciated, PTSD does not just come from the military and the author acknowledges that in this book. Thankfully Blake is aware of what is going on, and pushes Anna to get the help she needs.
The characters are on the younger side so if you are older then the NA age group you might struggle with some of their actions, but I urge you to look beyond that and see the great meat and bones that you are left with.
time. It seems like life is hard no
matter what, but being the one of the group who has a soft side sucks ass. I was put into a difficult situation with
this guy. He had a bomb strapped to his
chest and was about to push the detonator. Jackson gave me the order to shoot him. Carter was the only one with me and he saw me
hesitate. He grabbed his gun and shot
the guy without even thinking twice about it then
nodded at me. I hesitated. Had Carter not been with me I would have
died. This place is not for me. I should have gone to Princeton or Harvard
where I belonged, but instead here I am trying to act like something more than
what I am.
what am I? I am the world’s biggest
coward. I wanted to prove that I wasn’t
just brains, that I could be something more, but that moment proved that all I
am is the nerdy kid with his nose stuck in a book. I couldn’t even protect myself, had Jameson
not been there I would have let the guy blow me up. I couldn’t kill him.
come here.” I turn to see Jackson
standing there with running shorts and tennis shoes. “Let’s go run.”
right there,” I say as I stand and grab my black and red Nike shocks and slide
them on. I wonder if Carter told him
what happened last night. I doubt he
did, Jameson isn’t that type. I walk
outside and join Jackson on the makeshift track in the dirt.
made you decide to become a Marine, Johnson?”
should have known this was coming. I’m
surprised I made it through boot camp. I
am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for, but I am not strong enough to
kill someone. I don’t think I have that
inside me. “I wanted to be more than the valedictorian of Adams High School,
more than a person with brains.” I shrug
and keep in step with Jackson as he moves along.
see it in your eyes Blake, you don’t think you’re good enough. Only you can be the judge of your worth. I am just going to tell you, you’re a damn
good Marine. You think before you act,
not act before you think. It makes you
lethal. Remember that.”
watch him and nod my head, then we both pick up our pace. After his words I don’t have anything to say
so I just keep pace with him. I never
really thought I needed reassurance, but now that I have it, it feels like a
weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
I only have nine more months before I can go home and finish this
about six laps around the makeshift track Jackson bows out and goes to our
cots. I keep running. It’s something you become good at when you’re
the red headed nerdy kid with glasses. LASIK was the best thing ever
invented. Finally, I finish my run, take a quick shower and go to
the barrack to lay my head down. I look
up at the ceiling and think only two hundred and seventy five more days of
this. It will be a broken record until I
can make it home.
How do you go from being a complete person to being half of something? For me, I have help, but how can I be anything more than half of what I used to be? Then when the one person you count on, the person you lived for leaves you how do you react?
For Samantha Blalock life is easy, she helps repair people like me, the people who lose limbs. Something isn’t the same though, she’s changed. See I’ve known Samantha for years. She’s hiding something. Can we help each other through these trying times in our lives? Or does the fact remain that we are both irreparable?
***DISCLAIMER*** This book contains topics of a serious nature, including possible violent scenes.