Thousand Yard Stare

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It was dark out on the flight deck. The stars and moon not visable tonight. The hum of the Diesel engines mixed with the lapping of the waves. The rest of the guys were inside playing cards. He was sitting on a bullnose, where the mooring lines enter the ship.

He was dirty. The overall grime of shipboard life had taken its toll on his uniform, exposed flesh and general psyche. At this point of the deployment, his blue ‘digital’ camouflage pants were were out of regulations. They had rips, paint splatter and grease stains. No one gave him flack about it. There was no time to focus on those aspects or the means to replace uniforms. It was not important at this point. There was a mission at hand. The priorities were to do your job correctly the first time. Crisp new uniforms would not help you succeed out here. There is a feeling among sailors that those who had time to polish their boots did not have a real job. Admin types and supply personnel usually were the ones with nice looking boots.
“Smitty, you okay man?”
“I’m cool”
“You got that 1,000 yard stare going.”
“Naw, I’m just thinking. I’m fucking tired man”
“Me too.”
“I just want to go home. This shit sucks.”
“I know, I don’t even want to get off the boat in port.”
“Right? Let’s just go back, cut all this short.”
“Wish we could, man. You gonna be okay?”
“Yeah. I’m cool. I’m gonna go to bed soon.”
“All right man, don’t be grabbing chains and jumping off the side.” They both smiled. “We’re laughing, but seriously. It’s not that bad. We’ll be home soon enough.”
“I know, thanks man.”
They went their separate ways. Smitty returned his gaze back out on the water.
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