A smiling kid on crutches sat next to me last night and together we waited for our partners to come out from the locker rooms. Wavy brown hair tucked into a red baseball cap, red sweatshirt and sweat pants ripped apart near the left calf to make space for the bandage, friendly from the word go - standard issue American boy.
"Jeez, what did you do to yourself? That leg looks messed up.”
“You know what’s happening there, don’t you?”
“Hmmm....Iraq, I know.”
“A road side bomb….but they fixed me up pretty well at Walter Reed. Look the arms have healed nicely and the foot should be getting better.”
“......hmmm....would you mind if I asked how old you are?”
“Twenty one. I come here as a dependant, my wife goes to school here. What about you?”
“Twenty six. Dependant too.”
My partner arrived before his did, and we wished each other well before I left. Walking away I noted how the smile never left his face, not even when I stared at him in silence after he uttered the I-word (his way), not even when he showed me his scars. I don't know his name but I know that he wants to have kids soon.
Kid, someone up there really loves you and may that love never cease. And sometimes its reason enough for me to believe that there is a being beyond us, larger than us – a benign being who really watches over us.