Monday, August 27, 2012

Daddy, Get the Ball

The day was a warm summer day, a day right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The kind of day that years from now would be remembered as one of those great days growing up in the lives of two very special little girls.

“Daddy! Get the ball”. It was Caryn, a string-bean beauty of nine, who was impatiently beating the bat at the ground. “I wanna hit. I wanna hit” was her chant. Standing beside her was her younger sister, Melissa. A seven year old , who even then was just as beautiful as their mother but with a look that would melt ice in January. She was impatiently waiting her turn at bat. She had no chant, just THE LOOK.

As he was reaching for the ball he moved forward with his right leg and then stopped. He could feel the wire, or what he thought was the wire at that moment. The sweat was pouring down his face like Niagara Falls. He could hear his heart beating in his ears like a freight train out of control.

“Daddy! Get the ball” she said but he could not hear her for he was not of their time at that moment.

In a millisecond he was hurled back in time. Back to a place where he would feel the fears and pain see the body parts, blood and the faces frozen into a scream but without any sound. His innocence would be lost forever. He would smell the smells, hear and see all the horrors of Vietnam. He had felt the feeling of the wire against his leg before and knew what would happen to him or to his brother Marines if he moved. Just as he felt he would be in this moment in time forever or at the very least lose his mind, a voice from far off, very faintly, was saying. “Daddy, can you find it, can you find the ball?” and he was back from the nightmare and into their world again.

Ever so softly he spoke, afraid the words wouldn’t come out but they did and he heard himself saying “Yeah Hon, I found it, just give daddy a minute.”

It was over for him this time but he knew that he would never be able to let go of the war. It had stained his soul forever and would be with him until the day he died.

But for right now they were playing ball and making great summer memories for the two little girls he loved so very much.

Submitted by Ronald Bennington

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