Check-in was “passenger only” so I couldn’t go in with Alex. Instead, I watched through the glass for an agonizing forty-five minutes while he waded through a disorganized gaggle that passes for a line around here. He has grown into a man, stronger than I am, and it is silly of me to fret about him. Still, I see the little boy even as I look at the man. I am profoundly sad to see him off. Separation from family is easy to contemplate but harder to live.
I had a good time with him in Egypt and it is hard to go back to Iraq. I traveled again through Kuwait. Ali Al Salem is not a nice place. The chow hall in not as good as Al Asad and tent living is intrinsically difficult. This time was worse. I got in late so they put me in a big barracks tent with bunk beds. All the beds were full except one top bunk. I took it. It was drafty and uncomfortable. I was worried that I would fall out, not that I usually fall out of bed, but it is like standing near a cliff w/o a guard rail. You can walk close to the edge of sidewalk w/o a thought, but when there is a drop off, you just feel less secure.
From Kuwait, I flew on a C17. It is a flying warehouse. We were packed in like sardines, but the flight to Al Asad lasted only an hour. I had my gear on my lap and pressed against the seat in front of me, so I could not take a deep breath, but as long as I did not try to move around, it wasn’t so bad. I slept most of the way. The funny thing was that when I got back to my can at Al Asad, it felt like home. You can get used to anything.