The Sorrow of War
It had been almost five weeks since I had seen or heard from my brothers. I had written them three times and received no reply to the letters. I had also tried calling them at their foster home and received no answer. It was starting to worry me.
"I'm tellin' ya man, I'm sure they're fine," Andrew tried to reassure me, though he wasn't very trusting with his mind fogged with rosa canina (1). It didn't take long for the violence and death of the war to get to a lot of the soldiers, and they started looking for something to keep their mind off of the war quickly. Rosa canina was exactly what they were looking for. I refused to touch it.
"Maybe they are," I agreed out loud, but inwardly I was starting to doubt it. Five weeks with no word. Five weeks of being shot at and watching men bleed to death without so much as a 'hi' from either of my kid brothers. I wasn't sure whether I should be more worried or hurt, but the worrywart in me chose the former.
My outfit had shipped out like Lieutenant Cane had warned us early the day after I drove off, leaving my distraught brothers behind. Since then, three of the men had been killed, and two more wounded and shipped home. I knew from the time the first man went down that I'd never sleep peacefully again.
For now I didn't care about that though. All I cared about was getting home to my brothers and making sure they were okay. I was sorely tempted to shoot myself in leg and go home, but then I looked at Cut and Jennings and Morgan, all who had families and children of their own, and I knew I couldn't do that. We were all in this together.
I grabbed my gun hastily, and pulled Cut up to his feet when a rain of bullets charged our way.
"Get down!" Our platoon leader ordered, aiming his gun at the oncoming fire. I dropped to my knees, pulling Cut with me. His shoulder was bleeding profusely, and I ripped off a piece of my shirts to strap over it.
"Cut! Andrew are you okay?" I called to him over the rush of speeding bullets and dropping bombs. He was shaking and over the noise I just barely made out what he said.
"My soul swims out of my corpse…and turns into a vampire…going off to suck human blood." (2)
The first protest we went to was bizarre. It consisted of 50 or so insane radicals waving signs around like maniacs. At least, that's what it seemed like at the time. But the more we got involved and the more people that showed up in support, the more sense it made. This war was wrong.
It took Pony more time than it took me to get to this point. He still wouldn't participate in the dope smoking and acid drinking parties Sadie and Jay-man threw. I always liked parties and grew into them fast, making best friends with Chester, T-Bird, and my other foster brothers and sisters. They called me 'Motley' since I was different than the average person. Pony refused to be called by anything other than his name, so the guys left him alone about it. I think he really missed Darry, whom we hadn't heard from since he left.
We were never home. We were protesting, shooting up at neighbors' houses, or planning some other kind of revolution. The excitement kept me from worrying too much about Darry. Sadie kept telling me that the more we protested, the quicker they'd bring the 'boys home'. Pony was worried that the protests were getting too violent; us attacking cops and cops attacking us. Chester had even been hit with a baton and put in jail for a night, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
Maybe Pony even resented me a little for getting involved. But he didn't understand. It was my job to bring Darry home, and I would do whatever I had to, to make that happen.
Rosa Canina is a drug (plant) many of the soldiers used in Vietnam.
This is a quote from the book, The Sorrow of War, by Bao Ninh
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