He was a handsome guy, well built, an average student with a great smile.When he returned from battle-torn Iraq seven months later, the picture was different. His desire to be with others, men women, was diminished.George finally had the courage to ask Maria for a date to the local pizzeria.She reported to her girlfriends, that although he seemed interested in her, he was very hesitant.
It also bothered him that others were noticing the change in him, and both his mother’s furtive glances and father’s “manly” slap, confirmed for George that something was amiss. To get a date, one has to show initiative; make a phone call, start a superficial chat with a woman, go to a location where single women could be found, call an old friend. He kept hoping that things would change, but didn’t know how, or when.
She was patient and loving, reassuring him that it wasn’t all that important to her, and that the time they spent together was more important. It took many repetitions of that event, before he opened up, just a little, and told her of one incident – out of many – when he was scared to death of mortar fire raining down on his platoon.
She was startled out of her sleep when he would suddenly sit up straight in the bed and yell: “Incoming fire! It took months of patience and counseling, both for George as an individual and in a group, and for them as a couple, before he was comfortable enough to do those things he used to do before his deployment.
All he wanted was to be left alone, not to have to put up with too much nonsense, not to be questioned about his motives, not to have to deal with a lot of chicken shit, and certainly not to have to deal with the “dance” that is part of dating.
Even his sexual desire had diminished to a level that was both surprising and disappointing to him.