Through Their Eyes

April 5, 2013
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I see them. I see the men with their weapons and camps and clothes not suited for the humid weather here. I see them fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, my jungles. I can’t understand it. Why fight their own? Humans fighting humans, it doesn’t make sense? But who am I to try and figure them out…
I watch them suffer. They suffer the heat in which they sweat until there is nothing left, the itch and bite of mosquitoes and other bugs, and the nightmares that plague them, making them cry out in the night like a wounded animal. Flying high above, where they do not notice me, I watch them creep through the jungle, thinking they’re quiet. But to my ears, they are crashing and clambering through the undergrowth as loud and careless as the giant tanks I have heard them speak of. I often spot them feeling the tops of their heads, rubbing their hands across their thin and close-cropped hair, as if something different used to be there.
At night, by the light of a strange contraption-a flashlight I have heard them call it- they write. They write while they look at photographs of their families; they write letters home to their loved ones. Some of these I have read while they sleep. They ask how siblings are and give false words of encouragement. Mostly, they ask what is happening back home, for they have no way of knowing what is going on in the world they left. The world they used to know.
I once followed a human- I believe they call them soldiers here?- out on a patrol. I wanted to keep an eye on him, for he had no one he was close to at this camp. Often, I had seen him staring at a picture of a young woman, holding a newborn baby in her arms, and a smiling boy. He took the crumpled and worn picture out of his boot and stared at it awhile, before putting it up and glancing around him again. When he was sure no one was around, he began talking to himself, still clutching the glinting barrel of his gun between his fingers, keeping his eyes peeled. The eyes are always peeled, always on the lookout for danger. I understand little of humans’ language, but he was angry. Very angry. At the war, at being drafted, about being separated from a family he had to provide for. It saddened me. I wonder what the world looks like through their eyes. Is it cruel? Is it perfect? Surely it cannot be perfect, especially not after what I have seen.
When they go out and fight, they have no chance. They are not familiar with the warfare of the people of my jungle. I suppose they are my people, but I don’t like the way they fight: sneakily, underhanded… They attack small groups of the soldiers, the soldiers who have a red, white, and blue flag on their camouflaged uniforms. The fighters of Vietnam attack fast and furious, much like the snakes I am always wary of. Then, once they are through, they leave, sinking back into the surrounding jungle as if they had not been there. The few remaining U.S. soldiers are still looking for the guerilla fighters, but they do not surface again. They never do. One strike, quick and costly, then they do not show themselves again. The soldiers call for help, collecting the bodies of their fallen. It’s like this every time. When will they learn? I learned of the way my people fight, and I learned fast. Why can’t they?
I still watch the soldiers. Even after they are back at their camps, I watch them. I try to provide as much solace as I can. Maybe it is a simple tune I can sing that reminds them of home, or a flash of bright color in the predictable green of the jungle, but if I can make them happy, it is good. If I can make them smile, it is better. I will continue to watch over them, whether they know it or not, and try to protect them. I will offer a warning call when my people approach. I will nick them on the ear to wake them from slumber when they are supposed to be standing guard. Still I see. Still I fly. Still I watch. I will always watch.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

LexusMarie said...
Apr. 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm
Hey there! So, this is really impressive! The word choices and the descriptions are outstanding. The emotion in here is so vivid as far as being so emotional and sincere. I love this line, "They ask how siblings are and give false words of encouragement." That one really hit me hard, not only as far as in this story but also for soldiers fighitng right now. It made me sad, it's so true. I am not sure who is telling the story, I thought maybe a bird or a monkey if it's an a... (more »)
tuckertwin12 replied...
Apr. 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm
Thank you so much! Your comments are always so sincere and encouraging! I really appreciate it! And yes, the speaker is a bird (a parrot to be exact) thanks for reading! Please tell me when you write something new! Thanks again!
tuckertwin12 replied...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 10:41 am
I couldn't your forum, so I'll just post this here. I have a new short story published called "Wake Up Call" It should be under realistic fiction. I'd really like you to read it! Do you have anything new? 
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