Then there was a flash. A flash of light as if someone had turned on the lights after being in a dark room. It’s the first light you have seen in days, maybe even weeks. It’s so bright and striking, it feels like the light has ruptured your consciousness from your body. The world around you, basked in this new light, seems to stop suddenly then resumes, but only at a fraction of the speed. When there was a flash the sound stopped then resumed, but only at a fraction of the volume. There was a noise that grew with the light. Just one noise, one note, one sound. It kept growing. One noise, growing. One shrieking noise. It kept growing and shrieking and screaming and buzzing. And you hang there in suspense. Flying through that bright new light, you are surrounded by, infected by that growing, shrieking noise. Looking around you see the silhouettes of the men you have been placed here with, the men you have become friends with flying through the light with you. But friends isn't the right word. You’re not friends with these men. You depend on them, rely on them, trust them with your entire being, but they're not friends. Friends implies joy. It implies good times and happy memories. Friends implies home. You’re not home, not even close. Home is where your friends are, where you get good meals made fresh and hot. Where you sit around a dinner table with your family and talk about pointless things that happened earlier, but never really saying anything. Just going through the motions, day after day, never truly listening. Home is where you were 17. Now you’re 18 and when you’re 18 you get drafted. You get drafted then you leave your home, get put in the system, then training, then briefing, then here. Here, in the jungle. Here is somewhere in South Vietnam, somewhere in between Nha Trang and Ban Me Thuot, two foreign places in a foreign world. You're in a foreign world and you want to be home, everyone does.This foreign place is one that makes any person, any man, any soldier yearn to be home. It makes you wish that the silhouettes of your not friends flying through the air was really just a memory. A memory of a true friend, not flying, but standing. Standing, not in a new light but in a passionate one. One that is slow, dim and waining, not growing. This light of your memory is warm and loving and, instead of ripping your soul from you, it embraces you, holds you, envelopes you in it's hope of another day. You wish you were back there, in the sand warmed by the day's sun, watching as your friend stands there gazing at the world. Watching as she lets the calm, tired water playfully turn around her toes.
"It's getting late, we should go before the sun goes all the way down."
"Oh just stay a little longer. How could we leave this anyways? The sun, the sand, the sounds, it's all too beautiful to leave. We can't leave, not yet."
But you had to leave. You didn't have a choice. You turned 18, got drafted, you didn't have a choice, and now you're here. You're here somewhere in between Nha Trang and Ban Me Thuot. Somewhere in South Vietnam. You're not home, not with friends. You are with men you depend on, and you are flying through a bright new light with them. Infected by a single noise with your body and mind broken apart. You're in a war. But then there was a flash and you can't go home.
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