He heard coming back was hard, but Juan had no idea what hit him.
The work was grueling at times, interspersed with periods of restless boredom. But he knew the job backwards and forwards, and he knew his mission. He and his buddies had each others backs. While Juan didn't love the 2 tours in Iraq, he had purpose and focus.
As his unit finally readied for their return, Juan thought a lot about being with his family again.
Within a month of his return, Juan and his wife began to argue regularly. His wife was relieved Juan was finally out of harm's way and grateful their family was intact, but she did not recognize the man who had come back.
Juan's thoughts returned frequently to his time in Iraq -- his job there, the cold nights, the nerve-wracking convoy rides. And he thought about the men and women they lost. He felt guilty to be home. He should be back there doing his job, since the mission wasn't yet over. But Juan also felt guilty about no longer feeling connected to his wife or daughter, or anything really. At times, Juan felt anger suddenly rise up out of nowhere.