There is a joy in self-destruction

Andrew Salgado1.jpg

Jamie Rand on his memories and dreams of combat @ Carte Blanche.

There is among the men who earn the title of Marine a certain joy in self-destruction. I know; I was one of them. We were masochists. We thought of pain as a hammer that shaped us and molded us and it was how we defined ourselves. We never spoke of it in these words but we felt it all the same. In the absurd crucible of fire that was my time in the infantry, I enjoyed seeing parts of myself, parts I hated, destroyed.I was young when I enlisted and I enlisted to escape my life of comfort. I wanted more than the world’s promises. I saw a nation of people so obsessed with money and success they became slaves to it. I saw weakness and arrogance and a disparity earned or unearned and I wanted no part of it. I wanted to prove myself. To rise above myself.

There is among us a shivering joy on the range or in combat when we slap magazines into our rifles and yank back on the charging handles and put the stocks to our shoulders and aim down the sight. A screaming, brutal, incredible joy. There is joy in being a monster. There is joy in dominance. There is joy in suicide.It’s a humid spring night and we stand out on the balcony and watch the storm sweep in from the west. The trees rustle in the wind and lightning flares in the high reaches of the sky too distant for thunder. The clouds are thick and dark, their underbellies purple with city light. We’re wet now, our clothes soaked through, but we stand here anyway looking at the rain and not speaking. Him against the doorjamb, smoking. Me leaning with my arms on the wooden rail, leaning and staring out across the parking lot below where the streetlights stand in their swirling skirt of amber rain, where every reflection on the asphalt is long and bleary.

Image: Andrew Salgado @ Itch/

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