We worked with a Civilian Irregular Defense Group company of mostly Jarai Montagnards, but there were three families of Vietnamese belonging to officers who were attached to our mission who came with their men on an ill advised accompanied tour. The way the women saw it, if their men were killed, they wanted to die too. While admirable, the men all died on missions opposing the Viet Cong’s District Mobile Company at various points in the jungle and the families were left in camp. The RVN Lieutenant Colonel’s daughter and I became friends. Then we rotated. Some went one place, some went another. I bounced back to ‘the world’.
She handed me a flower.
I lied, “I’ll be back soon.”
Date Estimated Return, Overseas – DEROS – Now I sit in a reclining padded seat on an airplane wearing Class A, headed back to a home that lacks substance, with the only reality remaining behind me. The whine of the engines lulls me to sleep and in that uneasy sleep, I dream.
I dream of her garden beside the river where flowers no longer turn into the light but have become stained glass that admits color without life.
I dream of her garden where once I paused and inhaled the fragrant morning, but now the things she planted grow wild without her as careless as a kite in the sky, dancing without a tail.
I dream of her garden where the excellent things that we planned together seemed so real that you could touch and taste them, but they were as etherial as the evening scud reflecting the last rays of the dying day.