It comes at a different time for every returning soldier: The fairy tale ends, and he must begin the rest of his life. The first few weeks after returning from a combat deployment, soldiers adjust to polite society in various ways. Those with children may delve into family life, making up for lost time.
Some buy new toys — cars, boats and motorcycles — in an attempt to recapture the adrenaline rush of combat's most intense moments. Some look for their answers in taverns or bottles of their favorite liquor. For many, the return home provides opportunities for all three.
As the moments home accumulate, the fairy-tale feeling wears off, and there is a moment when the soldier realizes that, though he may be slightly changed, he has returned to his previous life. Mortgages and bills have replaced bullets and bombs.