Before We Go


As I sat in my children’s room last night my finger played lazily across my iPad’s display.

It’s so often the case that in the silence of my children’s dreaming, I find myself lost in the Web.

The light of the dot-com life never fades. 

I danced happily from my e-mail, to Facebook, back to my e-mail, and then to Netflix.  Everyone has a vice now days.  Mine seems to be re-runs and indie movies.

I didn’t want to watch another round of NCIS.  I wasn’t sure I could stomach anymore of its type of lighthearted banter.  I couldn’t take anymore of           Pauley Perrette’s over the top antics, Michael Weatherly’s forced breathy voice, or even Mark Harmon’s quiet abrasiveness.

I guess it’s true.

You can have too much of a good thing.

Words and images can be forgettable after being bombarded by violence, bodies, and embattled politicians.  The repeating tale of the information age.  I can’t remember how I got there, but I recall I wasn’t in the mood for another documentary.  I’d have to think too hard.

I didn’t want to think, I wanted to relate.  Only I didn’t know that at the time.  My gaze stopped briefly on a title I wasn’t sure I’d seen before.  Before We Go.


I was intrigued.

Looking more closely at its description gave me a hint of what to expect over the next hour and a half:

“They have only a few hours in New York City.  For these two, that’s all it will take to change their outlook on life.”

I was sold.

I wanted to relate.

Old photo albums are a bridge to our past lives.  In my case they’re a shell of my former self.  A person whom in many cases I’ve forgotten.  Old apartments.  Half-drunk bottles. Dark windows.  Glass with no curtains; and faces of friends I’ll never see again.  The moments in time that shaped who I’ve become.

Those are the things that captivated me in my 20’s.  Or, so I thought.  It’s really the unseen things in those moments that I remember.  The trembling of my soul.

Is that the color of our youth?  The hue of the unexpected.  Is this what drives us to remember?  Some of us find elation.  Some of us sorrow.

I’ve been accused more than once of being sensitive.

As a child my peers took advantage of my sensitivity, as a teen my heart hid beneath itself, but as I came of age in the Army I awoke when I grew into it.

My strongest memories of youth involved connecting.

A brief moment of clarity when your life is absorbed in the neon reflection of a bottle.

A knowing smile between new friends.

That moment when you realize your life will never be the same.

The starry canvas of a dessert sky.

The warmth of her embrace.

I met my best friend a month before I boarded my first flight to Afghanistan.

Before We Go is a very human story of a fleeting romance that shouldn’t be, and its probably at this point you expect me to have something particularly witty to say; but I don’t.

I’m grateful for all the beauty that others have brought to my life, overcoming the challenges that this life has to offer, and having  been inspired by this film to take a walk down memory lane.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


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