"Three hundred thousand dollars, Trombley. That's the cost to raise your average middle-class white kid. Maybe since your fiancee's Mexican and you'll have little half-Mexican babies, you can cut corners. Do it on the cheap. I bet Sergeant Espera's parents didn't spend more than a hundred to raise him, but of course, look how he turned out." Trombley, not about to yell back which is what he should do, asks instead of Brad's got a problem with marriage. Does he ever.
"My sweetheart since junior high. Left me, and married my best friend since junior high. We're all still friends. They're one of those happy couples that likes to take pictures of themselves and hang 'em up all over their goddamn house. Sometimes I go over there just to look at my ex-fiancée doing all the things I used to do with her, with my best friend. Surfing, and jet skiing... It's nice having friends." He smiles brightly at Ray, who hasn't taken his eyes off Brad yet. Ray looks away.
It's sad, and maybe a little bitter, but the scariest thing is the impression that he's not entirely being sarcastic. I mean, we know him at Camp Mathilda and here in the field, he's awesome, kind, takes care of people without even thinking twice. He's smart, honorable, knows who to trust, knows how far to push and which way, takes care of his men, is good at the business of war. But Iceman's also an adult who was once a young person who drew tanks in the corners of his notebooks. He's a little weird. We know him as a hero, or what heroes look like right now, but at home... I can't shake the image of him showing up at their house, after a tour, and he's just ... this broken guy, who didn't really engage too much in his one chance at falling in love and being normal, and watched everything slip by. And you're all growing into adults together and it's just like, "Well, that's Brad. He's on the couch sleeping right now, it's a long story. We try and make sure he ... eats." The Corps was everything and there's a time when the Corps should be everything, but I don't think forever is an appropriate amount of time. I love Iceman, at least the Evan version of Brad: all the weird edges and traps and everything, all of it, because he's on my team. But I would definitely put him in the category of people who maybe can't retroactively adapt entirely back to normal, which makes me love him a whole lot more. Like if they gave some Marines ... gills. To breathe underwater or something, in the future. Future war. Maybe some of those guys can't change back, and they have to stay down there. All alone, still dangerous and strong, where it's quiet and it's dark. And maybe that's Brad.