You can define "short" in at least a couple different ways. Could be someone that's very close to getting out, going on R&R leave, getting out of Iraq, getting out of the unit, out of the Army, out of that desk job, whatever.
For me though, it's a state of mind. A method of prioritizing. It's knowing that I'm not staying in. Knowing that I made good on the little oath I made on the inside, and now I'm required to make good on the oath that was put on paper.
Let me tell ya, it isn't easy being Short. On some days, it's downright painful.
The formations. Ceremonies. Details. Everything seems asinine and redundant. None of it seems like it should apply to you, because dammit, you're short. Don't these people get it?
Then you see one of your buddies walking down the sidewalk with a neat package of papers, gleefully jumping through the hoops of seperation. Turns out you aren't as short as you thought. Atleast not on the outside.
I'd never really been one to get homesick, ever. But this time around, I know I'd much rather be there than here. Home, with all the simplicity. Familiarity, predictability. Relaxed. I sure as hell belong there a lot more than I belong here, doing jack shit.
And the funny thing about this "home" thing, is that some things come full circle, some things change completely, some things you didn't understand became much more clear, and you realize that some of the people you knew are completely full of shit, and others aren't ever going to make anything of themselves.
Those awkward encounters you have with people you never cared to see again, but for some ungodly reason you both talk to each other, briefly, out of some skewed sense of obligation, even though both of you want nothing more than to get the hell out of there. And half the people you run into didn't even know you were gone, let alone staking a claim in Baghdad.
But hey, the good news? Who gives a shit in the first place? HAH!
After seeing how things changed around town, how other things remained exactly the same, and soaking it all in, knowing you have to leave, it's almost a kick in the sack to return to something that there isn't much else to gain from, when you KNOW that there are better and brighter things you could be doing. Thanks to contractual obligation, everything has to wait, still on hold.
Every day I ask myself why the hell I didn't just do a three year contract. I'd be rabbitting to and fro getting paperwork taken care of and equipment turned in, clawing my way out of this bitch.
I raise my hand in formation, like a schoolkid. "What's the earliest that one can begin the clearing process?"
Pushups. Some things don't change.
Doesn't matter though. Like I said, I've taken inventory of what matters to me and what doesn't. Garrison life in the Army is just a puppet show. Still going along to get along, but I tell ya what, I'd much rather be home, scratching my dog's ass and catching up with everyone, cuz, now, between you and me....
A MONTH ISN'T ENOUGH TIME.
But hey, no big deal, I got ten of em to go, give or take terminal leave. Fuck it.