The reality of the war had faded into the background. The planes could be heard taking off and landing at the airport. At the present moment it could have been any airport in the world. The war was just too absurd to think about. The new sensation of the grass had completely dominated my thought process. The relaxing with the grass on the air-mattress in the middle of a river was the only reality that seemed real. It was the only reality that I wanted to know. Everything was at peace with the world. How could one leave tranquility for the reality of the war. The war that was a horror and cruel to each person that was here in Viet Nam.
The sun and the river had been my stoned world for the next hour. Soon it would be time to go back the the company area. Inside the thought triggered a thought pattern of paranoia. I didn't want to go back. It was too beautiful down by the river. The paranoia had taken full root to the point of panic. Soon there was a mild trembling to myself. I didn't mention it to the other guys, but I let it pass. Soon the grass was wearing of and I found myself coming back to the reality that I had left. My experience with grass was not going to be the last one. It just gave too much pleasure and relief from the pressures of the reality and war.
Soon, I found myself paddling back to the shore. The water flowed by like the minutes of pleasure. There it was being swept away from me. We all reached the shore and began to get our things together. It seemed that this was the end of the trip for now. We headed back to the company by the same route that had brought us down to the river. We entered the tunnel of bushes but that was all that it was to me now. It lost that magic, that I had experienced while stoned on grass. Soon we found ourselves back on the parallel river with the sight of the dirt road ahead. The boots made a sloshing sound in the water that told of the treading, that was going to take place in the future. The wading in the war of reality and the ramifications that it was going to have on all of us.
The apprehension of going back to the company still stayed with me. Now I would be looked upon as associating with the people that smoked grass. A new stigma would be placed upon me. This I knew within myself. There was a strange up-tightness to my being. All my surroundings were the same but yet different in a melancholic way. As we trudged up the dirt road, Viet Nam, had started to give me that maturity that I felt radiating from other guys that had been in country for any period of time. That weariness of look was upon me and the exhaustion of the situation started to take its toll.
We continued the procession of walking back to the company. By the time we reached the top of the dirt road a calmness came over my being. The reality of my thoughts were returning. My jumpy nerves had settled back to their normal state. It seemed that we were all of a sudden laughing and telling jokes. The river and the grass had taken the war away, with it for the present. A sudden realization was upon me and that I was walking and joking with the same guys, that I had looked upon before from some distance. It seemed that I had found my place and associates.
There seemed to be one continuous laugh, as we walked into the barracks area. As we passed the mes hall before, one of the cooks said, "here come the grass heads". There was no malice meant by it, only that joke of association. He was one of the non-smokers of the company. Being still under the influence of the grass, I noticed that strange melancholy being about his ways. That hidden language of the body that reveals more than any speech. He was torn apart by the war. You could see the hidden repression of the frustration and anger. I felt a sadness for the person, yet, I knew that same thing was happening to me.
The company area was upon us with a few steps and jokes. It took on a new dimension due to the lingering effects of the grass. The same heightening of my awareness to color and my surroundings were taking place in the barracks area. The buildings had taken on a new tone of dimension. They seemed lost and small to the surrounding country side. They were of crude making and rang out that feeling of isolation. The dread of being alone in this place seemed to come into new perspective. There were a few guys outside the barracks sitting on sandbags. There rifles were next to them. The shattering reality of the war, was once again upon my being. A drab weary pallor seemed to be coming off each one of them. Some were smoking a joint and others were drinking beer and playing horseshoes.
Here I was again, back in the same reality that only a few short hours ago was the last thing from my mind. The loneliness of each person seemed magnified by the grass. There was that quiet stillness that sang out the whole story. Isolated frustration, was the only name that could be placed upon the scene that was before me. Each person was thinking of being home to that place where they were taken from. The lonely wife or girlfriend that ate at the heart of each guy.
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