Choose Your Battle

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 29, 2006

One minute Stacy Bannerman is stuffing envelopes to promote an upcoming peace workshop. The next her husband, Lorin, unexpectedly appears in her office.

"I got the call," he says.

"What call?" she replies.

Does she have to ask? Don't they both know their life is poised to turn completely strange at any moment? Possibly even tragic?

"I'm going to Iraq."

As his mouth says the words, his eyes watch her closely.

"No. No. No."

She dodges his attempt to hug. She doesn't want him to touch her yet, as if touching will make this news real.

Yes, yes, yes: Lorin's National Guard unit just got called up. And in a deep part of him that he doesn't reveal to her this instant, he's kind of looking forward to it. Stacy, on the other hand, is a professional peace and justice activist. Her emotions are much closer to the surface, and she's freaking out.

It's the fall of 2003, seven months after the war began, outside Seattle where they live. They are the warrior and the antiwarrior, and their years of living dangerously are about to begin.

She watches him drive away in his new white Kia Sorento. The planet-hugger in her never approved of his buying that SUV. Now, as her man prepares for mobilization to the land of oil and blood, she sees the manufacturer's name and thinks: "Killed in action."

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