Partway through my first tour in Iraq, in the opening of the war, we finally had access to email to communicate back home. My ex wife and I had access to each others accounts and she responded to someone who wrote me and said “contact me on mine and I’ll tell you how it’s going.” I didn’t know who the person was, but I hopped on hers to follow the conversation. There, I found the emails of her bragging to her friends about an affair with the neighbor. It was crushing and, in the moment, I had to shut my mouth and operate as though other lives were on the line. There were… it was a war zone. I told one person, my platoon sergeant, so he could make real calls if I was too far off from thinking right. But, I knew this critical information and if I tipped my hat in any way, what would she do? What if she ran? What about the kids? I rode with that all the way back, battle damaged from the home front and stuffing it down relentlessly. A hostage to the information…

Fast forward 15 years… I’m still locked in a hostage situation with knowing my youngest daughter. Her mom (who I met well after I got out of the Army and left my ex) and I fell apart almost three years ago and still, to this day, if I say what’s on my mind, I run the risk of never knowing my kid. The impact of this is overwhelming most times and I work real hard at shutting out the conflict. But it’s so hard. I have to beg for any info. She’ll show pictures on social media and give updates to another inmate and I have to shut my mouth, because I know neither. It’s difficult to know that if I rock the boat in any way, I’ll never get a chance to know my kid. It doesn’t mean I just gloss over it or that I can begin to know how to resolve it, but I am keenly aware of it and these hostage situations suck real bad. Once I get out, I can find a legal route to resolve this using a professional negotiator. But until then, I’ll sit in this corner with a little bit of fear and wonder about how this is going to play out. Lesson learned, lesson learned. Leave the bank when you see masked people in the parking lot…

by Rory Andes

I’m not the biggest fan of writing my pain, but here you have it…

Email at using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272