The Loneliest War
By Thomas Curwen | Reporting from Ft. Riley, Kan.
Video by Katie Falkenberg
By late winter, the war had come home to Pickett Place. Grenades and small bombs exploded in the living room. Automatic weapons fire echoed off the walls. Soldiers shouted to one another. One fell wounded. Whitley Morton had tried to make their house a retreat, but her husband, Jayson, wouldn’t let go of the Xbox.
Outside, the sun was warm and inviting, and Whitley knew the good weather wouldn’t last. She had talked about going out, perhaps taking the boys to the park. It wasn’t going to happen. She had gotten her hair cut and run a few errands, and when she got back, he still had the controller in his hands. “You’ve been on this the whole time?” she asked. “It’s been five hours.” “Really?” he said, as if it were no big deal.
She started to fix dinner for the boys. On the refrigerator door, she kept a prayer: Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can’t handle.