One night her husband thought he was back in Iraq and tried to kick down the door of their home on Garden Gate Lane. He shouted something in Arabic she didn’t understand. As a cavalry scout in Baghdad, he had crashed through countless doors on nighttime raids. The “hard knock,” he called it.
She clutched their infant son, afraid of her husband for the first time. She wouldn’t let him in. He stared at her through the glass panes. Didn’t he recognize her? He shoved, elbowed, punched. The lock began to buckle. The glass shattered.
It was February 2012. The war, her own small piece of it, had come rolling down the block the month before, in the form of a 22-foot Penske moving truck. Her newlywed husband was at the wheel, having crossed the country from Ft. Riley, Kan.
Candace Desmond-Woods told herself everything would be fine, now that he was out of the Army. Their lives as husband and wife would really begin in this white-fenced rental home in Irvine, a master-planned city where every manicured block was an argument against uncertainty.
The war would crash through her careful plans in a hundred ways, large and small. She watched it empty her refrigerator and shut off her gas. She came to feel like one of its strangest casualties, a widow with a living husband.