Orginally published in the Subterranean Quarterly
He lay in the bathtub staring at the tiles on the wall. The water in the tub had long since turned cold but he didn’t notice. His attention was fixed on the tiles. His girlfriend came in the bathroom and looked at his pale body under the water. Everything about him looked pale apart for his hands that were suntanned a dark brown from months in Iraq. He called it his Iraq gloves. She said come to bed and closed the door. He didn’t want to go to bed. That meant sleeping and then waking up and waking up meant leaving to go back to Iraq. His two weeks of mid-deployment leave were over. He stared at the hour-glass shaped pattern in the tiles following the sand that kept running down and down until it was gone. His sand had run out too and there was no way to turn the hourglass over and put the sand back on top.