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“Home”
My crippled body with 62 or was it 63? I don’t know. Anyway my crippled body with years of pain etched into every fold on the surface of my skin, walked unsteadily down an eerily lit road. I could feel my eyes leak bloodshot juices; the black like onyx pupil was dilated in the center of my cold blue orbs. Looking down at my hands I noticed how they shook unevenly, unnervingly across the hilt of my silver plated knife that hung roughly attached to my belt by a thin white thread. It was my father’s; I hated my father. I looked in a window of a poorly cleaned bar as a crease pressed itself into my overgrown brow, kitting the bushes that most would call eyebrows together in what was to be a way to clear the foggy vision that clouded my eyes. My face of aging wrinkles hung tightly in an unwanted grimace. Disturbing shadows danced around and over my wobbly fast paced steps. I wasn’t drunk, far from it. Every footfall came louder than the last in my drooping ears that held and eternity’s worth of drooping white tuffs. I lifted my silvery blue eyes and scanned the darkened street.
Standing under the once lit light post was a shadow. I couldn’t make out a face or any other body feature but I could see the object move slightly to the left as if shifting unneeded weight from side to side. It reminded me of ‘Nam’. I looked down in shame. Never did I like it when people starred, it was an old vertigo of mine, I guess. Instead I looked down at my tattered clothes that barely fit my sagging form. They were old, and out dated for the times. It was the 2000s now, not 59’. I only had one shoe and one torn sock that adorned my other foot keeping it from getting worn more than it already was. My shirt was large on me and it hung low to the ground as if looking for someone larger to come and fill it out. My pants where an odd mixture of dirt, oil, and paint smudges, they were torn in several places and looked a good two sizes too big. My breath must have smelled haughtily of old spice and gunpowder. It was an odd mixture from the war. My bright white hair that needed a good scrub and brushing was in heavy curls and knots that blew around my face angrily in the wind that gusted from the alley to my right.
I rounded the corner choosing not to go past the flittering shadows that stumbled and tripped over the broken edge of the street. Oh. Not the shadows, it was my reflection in a store window. My face connected painfully with the pavement and I winced in pain. Nasally laughter drawled nearer as I stay sprawled on the ground for a good 5 minutes longer. I picked my face up off the ground and crawled to my knees and continued to attempt to stand. After balancing myself I turned toward the laughter and let a scowl flash across my face. The light from the neon lights that adorned the shop windows showed a group of young girls laughing and pointing in my direction. I guess I must have looked like a nightmare that parents tell to scare their children for fun. Even parents wouldn’t want to tell this nightmare. As I approached I caught sight of what they were wearing. There were six of them in a row. All in tight pink low cut halter tops and short mini-skirts. They looked like clones with their perfect blonde locks all in curls and their stiletto heels that daddy thought were too high but didn’t want to go to jail for not giving them what they want. They pointed at me again with newly manicured fingers that looked tacky, and laughed at another inside joke that meant nothing. I kept my head down and passed the obnoxious whispers and the accusing glares. I was below them. They lived in the life of hourly million dollar-shopping trips and expensive dinners with groups of friends, that weren’t really friends, but acted like friends for the money they were paid to act like they cared to be the other person’s friends.
I rounded another corner, a corner I knew well enough, and sat down on the torn wet cardboard mat. My worn and aged eyes looked around the alley that held men and women and every once in a while children, with nowhere to go. I glared at those who starred in wonder at why I was even here when I had a wife and child waiting for me at home, and gazed approvingly at those who turned the other way as if to not judge my decisions. I reached down and pulled a medal out of my pocket. It wasn’t anything special, just a medal that I got after the war. I ran my wrinkled thumb over the purple velvet and starred longingly at it. Images flashed through the barrier of reality and fantasy as I remember the nights I had slept on the ground wondering when I would die, kind of like I do now a-days. I replaced the Purple Heart back in its pocket and crashed down onto the torn bedding. Images of my comrades lying on the field of victory, dead, invaded my dreams. Wishing I could be with them I roll over and let the night take me back home to ‘Nam’.





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