A short story from an army veteran about the last time U.S. soldiers were in Iraq and the impossible choices they faced there. This will be the worst day of your life. In years to come you will recount the most intricate details to yourself with obsessive precision, as if tracing the wood grain of a childhood bunk bed from memory. It is not a healthy kind of remembrance. Everyone you love will have heard the story and they will be tired of being scared and sorry for you. You will think it bothers you more than it should, but then you will ask yourself whether or not you even have the right to not be bothered. You stand on an unsteady pontoon bridge spanning the Tigris River in a township called Adh Dhouloueya. It is August 2006 and it is very hot. The Iraqi summer has created swaths of negative space in your memory, but this day will be distinct. Most of the collective minutes of your days spent outside the wire are indistinguishable from one another. You are always on patrol, either on foot or in a humvee. There are always palm trees and shabby buildings. There are always date farms and greasy mechanic shops. There are always Iraqis in track pants, Iraqis in white thawbs, Iraqi...