The chopper lands and I sit as the men boil off. I watch the back slapping and bullshitting begin before the dust has even settled. They’ve forgotten, for now. Forgotten about the crazy PTSD Irish bitch and her rampage. My hands tremor a little and I clench them tight, nails biting into flesh and the dried blood cracking and flanking off onto sand and dirt. I watch the tiny flakes fall and then blend into the ground below the chopper’s runner. Boots invade my vision and I look up at Nolan’s face. He sits next to me, not touching, but closer than anyone else does. Like he knows my crazy isn’t contagious, just the result of a broken mind that I’ve glued together with blood and rage.

“You know I’ve already heard half a dozen accounts of how you saved their asses. So, I come out to thank you and find you staring at your bloody hands like a trauma victim. And I’ve gotta wonder how you keep it together. Cause man, you’ve been through some shit.”

I look at him and extend both my hands so he can see the tremors. Then I clench them slowly and hold for a second before I open them again. The tremors are gone. “I come from a long line of survivors.”

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