It's not midnight. It's not 2011. It is just about the end of my winter break. Then it's back to text books and journalism and school drama with the Radical Student Union, the school newspaper, and wondering whether UCI will accept ROTC now that DADT is repealed.
Oh. Just one more minute. Yippee-kai-yay.
From my Orange County balcony on the coldest night of the year, sounds of Baghdad soar through the quiet night's permeating chill. Crackles in the distance mix like "Pop Rocks" and Coca-Cola inside my head, memories of childhood like memories of the war, seven years ago.
I remember the gun bunnies, jumping and laughing and frolicking in the halls, counting down another day, another month, and finally, an end of the year. Home was coming.
It was cold there like it is here. Gators and beanies and fleeces at night in the tower with crackling radios and bursts of fire on the edge of town. Cold canteens and powdery Gatorade and bright stars, shining and exploding in the sky. And a few weeks later, there were city lights and rum-drunk nights of video games for pleasure, not an escape from work.
That was an end to a year. A difference felt in temperature and op-tempo and attitude. Fuck-it, man, we're going home. And then we were.
Then soon again, we weren't. And it was cold again, too, and mud fell from the sky to mix with the rain on the ground and the dirt and the gravel and rocks. My open-air Humvee cruised at two-in-the-morning down the guarded road with a dozen blank eyes staring at the backs of skulls on the benches in the rear. Another year with different kids with guns, this time with iPods and earbuds, but there was no end when that year began. No new beginning either--just another day, like the one before it, just like the one tomorrow, now.
So, hey, 2011. In a few tomorrows, I'll pass this station with an expensive piece of paper and then... and then... what exactly?
I don't know much about tomorrow, but at least it isn't yesterday with the bunnies and the mil-po-po dancing in the halls. No more stars, but no more crackles either. I don't care about tomorrow. Tomorrow is just an extension of today and every one of those future today's beats one of yesterday's then's.