This a journal entry from the Marine veteran we based Empty Streets on. He created the story for the screenplay, was an invaluable technical consultant on set and co-produced the film. This blog entry is his inner thoughts. I did not want to edit them for grammatical or technical reasons. — Paul Booth.
Journal Entry from Ely K. Kalilikane
Life these past few years has been confusing, a period of harsh growth brought on by myself and my environment which I live.
From my transition from childhood to adulthood, Ely, as a person became two different people, the one that was and the one that I was becoming. Maybe other people feel that way. Possibly neither of them is truly who I am rather the border that runs between both, is.
I am no longer a depressed person nor am I a person overjoyed with life. I feel at times I am a leftover in between both, living but not quite knowing why.
Not to say this is neither good nor bad but it does raise personal curiosity. I feel my time in the military has numbed my sense of emotion and individuality, whereas, my return to civilian has helped me curtail any remainder by either due to the overly self-centeredness of nearly everyone I have encountered. Does anyone blame me for the confusion on this matter?
I have learned what true family is during my time in the military. Sharing the cries of grown men in a time of loss, watching a person loose their mind in a matter of seconds and somehow we found the words to say it is okay. Reading about a newborn child, seeing a loved one's picture, smelling a perfume laced letter, these are secrets shared amongst family in a land far away.
One of the hardest lessons of being family is letting go. There is no growing up and leaving our home in this family. When we let go, we bury our own or we wave to them as a medivac separates us. Sometimes we see them in the paper or on the news. These are memories that stain our brain. Some of us can't let go, myself included.
I have had to let many family members go in the physical sense but they are always with me. I waved to a few read about some, and continue to talk with them all. In the hospital waiting room a couple of days ago I spoke with men much like myself. One continuing talking with his family who occupied the ether space in front of him and the other had his head down as if listening to his. Both began to take shape of family I remember. Before we knew it we were speaking to each other, crying and laughing then yelling — now silence. I think that was real. I don't want to be alone like this. I know them, we were family once. Now I sit and write, share and read aloud because I am not sure of reality and my reality.