My Friend In Vietnam

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Do you still love me?

Benjamin had served for the duration of the Vietnam war. His parents back home in Idaho were constantly worrying about him, but he sent them regular letters to reassure them. Finally, once the conflict drew to a close, he sent them one final letter announcing he was coming home later that week. The letter's contents were as follows.

"Dear Mom, Dad,
I'm okay, I've been eating well and staying fit. Me and the other boys are always taking time to have a laugh and a joke, I feel like it keeps us human. But there is something I'd like to talk about in this letter in particular.
I met a young man in my time out here. He's alright, he's been doing well just like me, he's been fighting pretty hard. The other boys really like him too. In the last few days however, there was a napalm strike in our portion of the jungle. We got out okay, but this boy suffered some pretty bad burns... We had to amputate an arm and a leg, by the time we pulled him out of there they had burned to charred stumps. He's alive, but he has no home to go back to. He said he joined the army because he wanted to do something honourable with his life, see? So, I was wondering, would it be okay if he came back with me and lived with us? Whilst he gets used to life how he is now? It could take a few years, but I really want to do this for him. I won't come back until you've replied to this letter so I know of your response.
- Benjamin" 

After carefully going over the letter for an entire afternoon, his parents wrote back. 

"Benjamin,
Whilst what you want to do is admirable and brave, I'm afraid that it just isn't realistic. This man would be quite a burden on us and I fear we won't have the money to look after him. The state will surely accommodate him and provide him with a place to live. We're sorry but we can't have him. 
- Dad" 

So, later that week, Benjamin's unit was returned home. Benjamin didn't turn up at home though, a whole twenty four hours after he had landed. His parents grew worried, and just as his father was about to go out to look for him at the airport and surrounding areas two police officers had turned up at the house. They said that they needed one of the parents to come down to the station, and though Benjamin's mother had many questions it was his father that insisted on going. 
On the way to the station, the police officers explained that they had discovered a body and that they believed it was Benjamin's. They needed him to identify the body so they could be certain. Shocked, the father asked where and when he had been found. The officer driving replied that his body had been found in the cargo section of the plane after landing, having shot himself. 

Once at the station, one of the officers took Benjamin's father down to the morgue. They entered a room with a single steel table, where a single body was covered by a white sheet. 
The officer pulled back the cover and Benjamin's father raised his hand to his mouth, turning white.
It was Benjamin, most certainly. But that wasn't the thing that upset him most.

Benjamin only had one arm and one leg.


Submitted: May 30, 2015

© Copyright 2021 LongDeadHerald. All rights reserved.

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Comments

unmasked delusions

Aw, this is sad in so many ways. All they had to do was say yes and he'd be alive...

Sat, May 30th, 2015 8:38pm

The Ghost-Bull

heart-breaking

Sat, March 3rd, 2018 7:33pm

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