Thought for the day: I'm all for keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. [Solomon Short]
Tough. I say, we've gotta keep on keeping on.
I survived last week's posting, so let's (gulp) do it again. This week's piece was written circa 1990, or so... maybe a little sooner. (Why didn't I think to write a date on these things?)
Welcome home, honey. I know... technically, it's been more than twenty years since you got back from Vietnam, but I think we both know the man I sent away has only recently gotten here. I'm not sure who that stranger was who's been walking around in your skin all these years, but it wasn't you.
Lord, we were young back then, weren't we? So terribly idealistic and full of dreams. A part of me raged at the unfairness of it all when you were snatched away from me so soon after we got married. But there was no question in our minds. Not really. We knew that once chosen, you would go. You would fulfill your patriotic duty, just as your father and so many others in your family had done before you.
But ideals and patriotism and notions of what war would be like did nothing to prepare you for its reality. What twenty-one year old can face what you had to face and emerge unscathed? You were only in country for two days when you inherited the machine gun. You joked in a letter home about that's what you got for being the biggest of the survivors from that awful firefight. Well, you never said it was awful. But from that moment on, your letters home were different. You were different.
It broke my heart when you wrote home that you didn't know what you were doing there and didn't think your being there made any difference. It frightened me. I was so afraid that loss of conviction would cost you your life. But thank God, it was a fleeting feeling, and by the next letter, your sense of purpose was strong again.
When your Purple Heart was delivered to me without any kind of explanation from the Army about the extent of your injuries, or even if you were dead or alive, I thought my world was coming to an end. But exactly one year after you left, you returned to me. I'll never forget the way your father drove to the airport to pick you up. He had your '61 Chevy just a-flying! Remember the little American flag he'd attached to the antenna? That thing was laid flat back! Oh, God, how good it was to see you--- to touch you--- to hold you. I couldn't get enough of you. I even watched you while you slept.
Oh, but honey, you were so different than when you'd left. There was a far-away look of emptiness in your eyes, and it seemed like you looked right through people. Like you looked right through me. I can tell you now that there were times I was afraid of you. It was like you had ice in your soul, and could freeze the blood of anyone who got in your way, all with a single look. And the anger, the rage. Gone was the idealistic class clown with a heart of gold, and in his place was an angry cynic lashing out at the world.
I can't tell you how happy I am that we've finally put the past to rest. So again, I say, from the bottom of my heart--- welcome home, honey. Welcome home.
Ready to post one of your oldie but goodies next week? Pop over to Suze's blog and let her know. Subliminal Coffee (the thinking person's cafe)
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.