So that picture shocked me and several years have passed. In the meantime the soldier has sent me many pictures. I have about 30 pictures of him at all ages, including baby pictures which I specially requested.
And he’s sent them here and there, to illustrate something or to make a point, so basically they’re scattered all over my hard drive, but I had this idea one day to see if I could fit them all together.
I wanted to see if I could find a way to merge the pictures into one man who I knew. So I took that Special Forces picture because it’s a head shot, and because it’s such an acute picture and it’s by far the most remote from my memories of him. I put on my desktop.
“Let’s see if I know you,” I asked myself. Because there are a lot of versions of the solider.
There is the man I initially met, the man who had begun the transformation, the man transformed and the man I am talking to now who is retired and has some distance from his career. He’s also a father… which is another wrinkle and another set of pictures.
So I looked at that Special Forces picture and I looked at it hard. And I just couldn’t see. Hell if I know! I didn’t know if I knew this person or not. I knew him then and I know him now but I just didn’t know if I had anything to do with this person in between… the all-the-way soldier him, but then I noticed his hand. His hand is in front of his face in the picture. It’s prominent in and this I recognized.
And from there, my eye went up his forearm and I recognized that as well. It was weird. Because it’s not the same forearm. He’s much bigger than when I knew him. He’s much stronger and more powerful looking. He’s looks completely formidable however his arm was familiar to me. A person’s body has a line, doesn’t it? And when I realized I could recognize his hand and forearm…Eureka!
And I was relieved. Because if I’d tried this and not been able to connect, I’d have had to have told him.
“Yeah, I don’t recognize you. I don’t just. I just don’t know what to say about your career, but I sure liked you back when and I sure like you now…”
So I was glad I dodged that bullet and at this point the whole thing opened up and got very beautiful, very really quickly.
I took every other picture I had, in the rough order age and put them one at a time alongside this Special Forces picture. I asked myself if I could see that “this boy” was “that man’, and I could. I could see him plain as day and it made feel giddy. You know. Like I’m a genius or something… or an idiot savant.
Pretty soon I was running through the pictures pretty quickly.
“Is this the same person? Yes!”
“And this? Yes!” I was pretty near laughing.
The soldier has a distinctive face. He has distinctive eyebrows. Actually, he’s just plain distinctive. He’s the kind of person if you saw him anywhere in the world, you’d recognize him.
So I spun through all the pictures and every single picture tracked that first one. Ten minutes later when I’d seen them all, I sighed and shook my head and smiled.
And I looked at that Special Forces picture and thought, ‘Yeah, I know you.” And this was important.
Because if I was going to watch footage of some of his missions… well there are a couple ways to approach that. For example, I could watch them like a reporter. Because fact is, it’s privilege to have access to this rare footage. So it could be like being offered the opportunity to see something extraordinary and taking it.
But once I got those pictures to track and I merged all these people into one man who I love and am inexplicably tied to, well at that point I knew that when I watched the cd, it was going to be extremely personal.
skip to Somalia
Do you have a distinctive face? Or have you morphed over the course of your lifetime?
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