I saw only the back of his head as he darted out of the room. I took a mental tally of what had been happening. I studied the faces of those he had been working with only to see smiles and the hum of productive conversation. It was odd. Something in the basement air twisted.
As quickly as he darted out, he was back. I saw the pink marks around his wide eyes. Hands in his pocket. He seemed smaller even as he towered above me. "Can I talk to you...outside?"
I followed him as he jagged out the door. "I have PTSD and I am triggered." His brown eyes were even wider. "I am not sure why." His skin was marbeling pink. I could sense his heart racing. I resisted the urge to hug him, to push back the fear. I listened instead.
On this Veteran's Day, I know the drill. I am to feel grateful. Thankful. And I am. Yet, this sits with anger. Young men and women are expected to sacrifice what they do not even know they are giving. And a lifetime is spent recovering, reflecting and attempting to move forward.