an excerpt from “City Life,” available this December. . .
I was watching “Saving Private Ryan” when my phone rang. My brother, Bob, calling from Iraq. I hadn’t heard from him in around two weeks. He was “on a mission.” We talked for a while, pretended things were normal for a few minutes, when that got old we talked about his situation. Grim, he acknowledged. Not much more can be said, but grim. He misses his wife and kids. We miss him. He’s back at his base, the plywood walls of his quarters welcome after two weeks on the road. Baghdad is especially disturbing he said. Two weeks through hell to transport water.
When I hung up I tried to watch the rest of the movie. When we were kids we would spend Saturday afternoons watching war movies on an old TV in our basement. I must be getting old and soft, I could barely focus on the screen through my blurred vision. I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and turned the TV off.