Sleep, when it finally found me was of little solace.  It distracted me for a while, but didn’t offer the peace I’d hoped it would.  Nightmares intruded on my unconscious mind, most of which I forgot the instant my eyes flashed open.  Some days, I didn’t sleep at all, purposely forcing myself to stay awake, hoping to exhaust myself to the point of simply passing out into a dreamless slumber.

David would check on me every few hours.  I was grateful that he wasn’t the type to hover.  He would peek in the door of my dad’s room to see if I was still sleeping when really I would just pretend; keeping my eyes shut and exaggerating my breathing for effect.  As soon as he left the house, I would dress and run on the new treadmill.  My dad meant it to be a gift for me when I returned from Camden, so I left the red bow on it.

I ran until it hurt.  I ran until either exhaustion, or the blisters on my feet made me give.  Either way suited me just fine.  Before it was time for David to check in again, I would shower and return to my dad’s bed.

Based on what little I did see of David, growing scraggly facial hair, whiskey on the rocks, and staring in to a vacant television screen ranked pretty high on his to do’s.  I tried a few times to get him to talk about what happened in Afghanistan, but he would just stare off into empty space and shake his head.  So I just held him, hoping it was of some comfort, hoping he didn’t blame himself, hoping he knew that he was needed, but mostly loved.

The only thing I got from him at this point was that he didn’t care much for the Hamlin’s.  “I don’t trust ‘em,” he warned.  “And I don’t think you should either.”  David’s gut feelings were usually right on; he got that from my dad.  I couldn’t help but to wonder where my dad’s intuition was when he needed it the most.  Where had it been when his life depended on it?

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