At the Baghdad airport, Robert felt lucky to be going home to a safe place.
"I remember thinking that when we buried Mike, our war was over. But that father? He lives in uncertainty every day."
It was eerie hearing Robert's words. It's exactly how I had felt on my trips to Iraq. That word, uncertainty, had appeared in so many of my stories. I could not imagine how wretched it would be to live with that feeling all the time, to not know whether you'd survive a trip to the market and back.
I tell Robert that he looks more at ease now. He pauses and takes another sip of his water.
"I talk too much, you know," he says, smiling.
He still looks at the map. He still gazes upward at the moon. But he assures me he can go through an entire day now without thinking about Yusufiya.
It used to be a place on the map where Robert's son died. Now he thinks of it as a place that people call home.
The very first time I interviewed Robert, he told me that after his son was killed, he was no longer afraid to die. I realize now, after all these years, he is no longer afraid to live.