I see them. Their yellow faces. Their slanty eyes that disappear when they laugh. Their flat noses. I smell them. Smelling of fish and god knows what else. I will never forget them as long as I shall live ... and the war ended nearly 40 years ago.
They treated me and my buddies like shit. Beat us raw, fed us garbage, hollered at us in a rapid fire torrent of Vietnamese. Don't know what in the hell they were saying, but how they treated us needed no interpreter. It was clear they hated us Americans.
Saw, tasted, heard, felt things no human being has a right to witness. Then people wonder why my mind is so fucked up. Is it any wonder I'm so damned gun-shy at the least little noise or start shaking visibly whenever I see an Oriental person?? Oriental men truly scare me the most; the kids and females, they ain't so bad, but the men: in each man's face, I see THEM. No-Jaw. Tiny. Rat-Face. Big Ears. Baldy. I see the bastards who made me the person I am today and I get physically sick, each and every time.
I have gone to doctor after doctor, trying to get relief from the Dreams that still plague me at night, but it doesn't seem to do any bit of good. I am seeing a counselor to try to make sense of what has happened to me (and why); again, I'm just as messed up now as I was when I got discharged from the Marines.
I have tried to write about my experiences, but then I start reliving the horrors of war and I can't do it. I end up putting my pen and notebook down and wish I had a gun, so I could blow my sorry ass up to pieces. Then I wouldn't have to worry about things no more.
I do get disability pay, but hell, it ain't enough to live on, especially after bills or taking care of my family. My kids are in college and I paid for their schooling. Have they even offered to pay their old man back?? Hell, NO. All they care about is partying or living their own lives instead of checkin' up on ol' Dad, or asking me if I need anything.
My wife, she ain't in the picture. She couldn't deal with my emotional tirades, so she up and left me. I'm all by myself, I am. I stay in ('less it's to go to the damn doctors or appointments or therapies); I don't feel comfortable 'round people, and I don't feel comfortable being reminded of the War or what I've lost as a result of it.
So while everybody else is gonna be celebrating or remembering their heroes I'm staying in bed and praying that I don't do something stupid before the holiday is up! I have had enough of the memories of the War; I can't take too much more of them!!!
~To be continued!~