Several years passed Baby Girl found herself engaged, listening to Vinnie’s advice about dating, Vinnie had been there for her after Vietnam that was one thing that had not changed if anything Vinnie felt more protective of her and it was hard for her to imagine what it would have been like to find out her brother had died in Vietnam, but he had come back, he had come back with a spinal cord injury but at least he was there for her, and he hadn’t come home in a body bag.
“I can’t believe my baby sister is soon going to be a married woman, soon I will probably have a niece or nephew.” Vinnie sounded excited about the prospect but she also knew that Vinnie wondered if any would could ever love him enough to marry him, the girlfriends of his past had all but disappeared after he had came back from Nam in a wheelchair.
‘Your time will come.” Teresa tried to assure Vinnie, but even his sisters words weren’t always enough assunarance. He hated the way some people acted around him, as if he was damaged goods, his legs didn’t work anymore, that didn’t make him less of a person did it? So why did so many act as if he was less than human, especially the months after he returned home when he was spit on and treated like a criminal for serving his country.
“Even if it does come I don’t know if I will ever have a family.” Vinnie said sadly. Teresea wanted to comfort him but she didn’t know where to begin. It hurt her to see her brothers pain, he hid it well most of the time, but there was times it could not be hidden.
“Vinnie whatever happens I know you will be fine, you are strong, stronger than you know, you survived Vietnam, and that couldn’t have been easy for you. I know it wasn’t easy, and I truly believe the right woman is going to come along and make a great wife for you, and you are going to be a great husband and if the Lord wills you are going to make a great Father too.”
‘Baby Girl I know in my heart you are probably right, but when I close my eyes I remember Vietnam and all the blood, and death around me, I can’t ever stop feeling as if I am in Vietnam watching my friends get killed, watching myself get injured and suddenly not being able to move my legs, it was scary Baby Girl, more scary than I can describe.”
“ I wish I could have helped you in some way I wish I could have been there with you.”
“No Baby Girl, I would never want that, I fought so you didn’t have to.”
Before long though Vinnie changed the subject, he wanted to focus on Teresa’s fiance Billy and wanted to know if he was good enough for his baby sister. He was not going to approve of just anyone, Billy was going to have to be special to get Vinnie’s approval, thankfully Teresa knew that Vinnie would approve of Billy because Billy was special and he loved Teresa, not just pretended he was the real deal and Teresa was thankful for him.
“Baby Girl I am looking forward to talking with Billy.”
“He will be coming over for a family dinner Friday Night Mom’s making a roast.”
“Don’t be to hard on him Vin.”
“I’ll try not to be Baby Girl.” Vinne teased back, they knew when one another was teasing.
Teresa liked to see Vinnie happy and teasing, and he still was often that way despite all that he had been through, but the pain was there and it always would be, Teresa understood that, the way she understood she would never stop being Baby girl to Vinnie even when they were both old and gray. It didn’t matter though because the nickname remind her that even if her Father hadn’t cared enough to stay when she was younger her brother had, and she was grateful for that.
“Vinne thank you.” Teresa said tearfully, the day she introduced her brother to her finace.
“For being both a brother and Father to me.” She said.
“Someone had to do it.” Vinnie said. “And Baby Girl you deserved it I would have died for you.”
“You almost did.”
Vinnie didn’t say anything after that but nothing had to be said, he had nearly died for Baby Girl and he would do it again if he could. They were family and that was what families did for one another. Vinnie was not the kind to run away from his family the way there Father had and Teresa was thankful for that, her Mom was great, but there were times Vinnie was what Teresa needed.