Long Way From Home
He was a long way from home; Nobody
understood this more than he did- Well unless
it would be all those that were here with him-
At the moment though, he was busy wiping the
sand from his stinging face- Taking a mental
inventory of the limbs he was born with, and being thankful they were all still intact- and useful
He had grown up listening to his Dad and buddy's
jungle stories of Vietnam- Getting glances of the
old black and white photos as they passed them
from one to another;
Was destiny what led him here? Did he just assume that when he reached the age of enlistment, he would do so without question, and
so that is what he did? At this point, did it
really matter at all?
There was a quiet among the men; He knew this sound; Recognized it as one in the same
hushness that could be heard in his childhood
livingroom when those guys would speak of
their coming home. It was a blanket of heavy
thickness. Not warm and cozy; just heavy- Then
there was that lump; That damn choking,
painful lump that would form in your throat. They
had spoke of that too- Hearing about it; and
experiencing it was traumatic by difference.
To forget its first visit, would prove impossible. It
could form day after day, but the first time was
reality's mind-boggling blast. One of the guys
went out on patrol, and never came back; He
found him, or what was left of him anyway. No
it wasn't the only time he'd seen death; But it
was the first time he'd witnessed it so personally.
He felt sorrowful, not really for the one he'd found, but for the little boy that he was making
plans to take to the zoo, and build sandcastles on
the beach with when he got home, next Spring.
The little boy in the photos that was passed around in our own circle. Yeah, that's the lump
I'm referring to, that suffocating, 'not able to throw
it up' watermelon sized tumor that seemed to rise
out of nowhere. One could think it may have been issued as part of the uniform, but not listed
for one to read of its presence. Maybe it was one of those classified secrets, nobody tells of, until
years later when it's still there and they are trying
their best to get rid of it. Either way, it was a
He felt the sweat pour from his chin, although it was mid-20's by degrees.
"You know they say this is going to be another
"It is," he said, not looking onto the face from
where the statement came.
Was it destiny that led him here, or does it really
matter at all?
© Lisa Hilbers