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The Futility of Loving a Soldier

The Futility of Loving a Soldier

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The Futility of Loving a Soldier

115 pages
1 hour
Nov 25, 2014


"This is an outstanding collection of stories about veterans of wars. WW I, Nam, WW II, Desert Storm and more. All of them will tug at your heart and make you realize that some vets never get over the traumatic events of war (or their service)." ~ A Navy Vet...VT town

[Literary, Women's Fiction, Anthology, War, Veterans, Relationships]

The stories in this collection explore the physical and psychological effects of combat, both on those who serve and those back home. Told from the points of view of spouses and children as well as the soldiers themselves, the stories tackle eleven different scenarios spanning five American wars. Guilt and acceptance, despair and hope, selfishness and sacrifice, and above all, love, blend together as characters come to realize maybe their feelings aren't futile after all.


Eleven stories of what it means to love a soldier:

A girlfriend explains why she knew her boyfriend wouldn't come back from the front.

A stranger reminds a veteran what matters in life.

A wife struggles to trust her husband with their baby after he returns from deployment.

Old friends search for a way to reclaim the dreams and plans of their childhood.

A woman haunted by her experiences finds an unlikely ally.

One man's enlistment creates ripple effects for generations as four sons seek to make sense of what they and their fathers are fighting for.

"The Futility of Loving a Soldier" by E.D. Martin

Evolved Publishing presents a collection of interconnected short stories, focused on the difficulties of maintaining relationships with troubled soldiers who've returned from war, from the author of the women's fiction novel "Yours to Keep or Throw Aside". [DRM-Free]

What Others Are Saying About "Yours to Keep or Throw Aside":

"Redemption. This was the first word that occurred to me with the last sentence of the book. Redemption for what we've done; redemption from what we've suffered. ...a touching story of two people struggling to find their place in life and their true self, two souls which have suffered more than enough, two human beings who have discovered that we are the loneliest in our darkest hours." - Tsvetalina Baykusheva

"I got really invested in the characters, which is saying a lot for me... I don't get into book characters this much very often. I'm usually pretty heartless! This book was different. It stuck with me, so much so that I had to hound my best friend to read it so we could discuss it. It would be a great book club selection, and the author even includes some questions for discussion." - Charlie

More Great Literary/Women's Fiction from Evolved Publishing:

  • Hannah's Voice and Carry Me Away by Robb Grindstaff
  • Desert Rice (#1) and Desert Flower (#2) by Angela Scott
  • Cassia by Lanette Kauten
  • White Chalk by P.K. Tyler
Nov 25, 2014

About the author

I’m a writer with a knack for finding new jobs in new places. Born and raised in Illinois, my past incarnations have included bookstore barista in Indiana, college student in southern France, statistician in North Carolina, economic development analyst in North Dakota, and high school teacher in Iowa. I draw on my experiences to tell the stories of those around me, with a generous heaping of “what if” thrown in. Growing up, I preferred books to people, and fortunately the library down the road indulged my introversion/misanthropy. I’d read any genre, as long as the story had relatable characters and left me thinking about what I’d read days, even years later. This has stuck with me, and it’s something I aim for in my own works: Love my characters or hate them, just as long as my stories leave you feeling something or seeing the world in a new perspective.

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The Futility of Loving a Soldier - E.D. Martin


(An Anthology)


E.D. Martin





An Anthology

Copyright © 2014 E.D. Martin

Cover Art Copyright © 2014 Mallory Rock


ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622532341

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-234-6


Edited by Lane Diamond


eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Other Books by E.D. Martin

The Futility of Loving a Soldier

The Lone Wolf

Not My Thing – A Short Story


Please Visit

E.D. Martin’s Page

at Evolved Publishing


or Visit E.D. Martin’s Personal Website at



For Joos, Maarten, Artie, Nick, Eli, Lindy, Bryce, Craig,

and all my other soldiers past, present, and future –

thank you.

Table of Contents

Title Page


Other Books by E.D. Martin


Story 1 – The Futility of Loving a Soldier

Story 2 – A Family Tradition: Jozef, WWI

Story 3 – Burger Run

Story 4 – A Family Tradition: Maarten, WWII

Story 5 – Gone but Not Forgotten

Story 6 – A Family Tradition: Arthur, Vietnam

Story 7 – Hope for Change

Story 8 – A Family Tradition: Nicholas, Desert Storm

Story 9 – Crash

Story 10 – A Family Tradition: Garrett

Story 11 – A Wedding



About the Author

What’s Next?

More from E.D. Martin

More from Evolved Publishing

Story 1 – The Futility of Loving a Soldier

A knock on the door woke me.

It was the middle of the afternoon. I’d fallen asleep on the couch. I’d meant to take just a short nap, but a glance at the clock on the VCR showed I’d been down for almost two hours.

The knock came again, sharper. I knew exactly who it was—only one reason to be knocking on my door in the middle of the afternoon.

I’d known it would happen like this. It happened this way in my dreams.

The knock could wait.

I closed my eyes again and saw you, your body slouched against a Humvee, your head down on your chest as if napping, your helmet low on your forehead, your shirt stained with blood and sweat and dirt, one hand stretched out next to you in supplication.

We’d talked about it before you left, and you told me it was silly to worry, that nothing would happen to you. We made plans for when you came back, but we both knew you were lying.

You were typical military, born to live in tents halfway around the world, born to shoot guns at the bad guys. Once you went over, once you tasted it, it stayed with you always. You tried to ignore it, tried to push it down and live a normal life, but it wasn’t working for you. I could see the quiet haunting despair in your eyes—after an evening drinking with your army buddies, after watching a war movie on TV, after hearing a car backfire, after being in a crowded open area.

You wanted to go back. You needed to go back.

I knew better than to stop you. You’d stay if you had to, stay for me and any future we might decide to have, but you wanted something else.

How could I stand in your way? I loved you and wanted you to be at peace. I watched you while you slept, memorized the lines of your face. I told you to go.

You forgot, though, what you’d told me about war.

I knew how tired you were—tired of life and all the battles, tired of fighting just to fight again the next day, tired of the ghosts of your brothers who didn’t make it home.

I knew you weren’t coming back.

At the hangar, the night you shipped out with your platoon, you kissed me, hugged me, wouldn’t look me in the eye.

So I swallowed my terror and whispered to you, It’s okay. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Your shoulders relaxed with palpable relief. You knew that I knew—knew you wouldn’t be coming back.

I told myself it really was okay, but when I woke up in the middle of the night, alone in our bed with sheets that didn’t even smell like you anymore, screaming and crying from nightmares where I watched you die but couldn’t reach you, couldn’t save you, couldn’t even say goodbye, I tried to calm myself with thoughts that this was what you wanted.

An honorable death, you’d said when you didn’t think I’d remember.

When I watched the evening news, watched the body count rise and sobbed so hard that another soldier had been lost, I tried to calm myself with thoughts that this was what you wanted.

A death that saved another soldier’s life, you’d said bravely, but I knew you were scared too.

When I sent you an email, talked to you on the phone about mundane events back home that neither of us cared about, and fought so hard to be brave and supportive and not terrified for you, I tried to calm myself with thoughts that this was what you wanted.

A death that would end the screams you heard every time you closed your eyes, you’d never said, but I saw it in your eyes anyway.

So when that knock came in the middle of the afternoon, I wasn’t surprised. I knew you were finally at peace.

Story 2 – A Family Tradition: Jozef, WWI

The Great War had ended. America and its allies had won, had beaten back the Germans and liberated Joos’s home country. His fellow soldiers on board celebrated the armistice in the hallways, in their bunks and on the decks, but he didn’t know why; they hadn’t won the war.

One of his cabinmates, a wiry Polish guy from Chicago, stuck his head into the small room. Why you sit here in dark? Why you not dance and shout with us?

Joos shrugged, not wanting to talk about it: the few-and-far-between letters his mother had sent him, filled with thinly-veiled horror stories about what was happening in their small village on the Belgian-Dutch border; his little sisters nearly starving, their farm in ruins; his older brother in Paris when the war started, still unaccounted for after it ended; Suzanne, the worst of it all.

His cabinmate persisted. We won, man. Why you not happy?

We didn’t win. We didn’t do jack shit over there.

Their division, the 86th, had been formed the summer before. When word of the new division reached the western Illinois farm where Joos worked with his brother Pieter, he’d rushed to sign up, dragging Pieter with him. A year of training in Rockford under their belts, they’d arrived in France in August. For three months they’d milled about camp, waiting

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