On those nights when a sound, a light, a dream tore him into wakefulness, he’d sit up or stand, even flee the room bearing memories he couldn’t share. David, I’d say, David, you’re home now, it’s OK. Of course, it wasn’t. After his terror subsided, he’d welcome my arms, his breathing slowing, his trembling diminished. Sometimes he’d weep, repeating “so sorry, so sorry…”, an apology meant for his dreams, not me. How hard he tried to minimize, for my sake, those indelible episodes. “It’s just Fallujah.” He’d sigh as we sat watching for dawn.
Darrell Petska‘s fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Frontier, Bird’s Thumb, Right Hand Pointing, Story in 100 Words, Boston Literary Magazine and elsewhere. With 30 years on the academic staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 40 years as a father (eight years a grandfather), and longer as a husband, Darrell lives outside Madison, Wisconsin. See his published work at conservancies.wordpress.com.