I wake up to the smell of plastic burning, it seems to be a normal morning as I look out over the highway and a plastic production plant. I get out of bed with severe pain, reminding me of the arthritis in my bones. Soon after I get up, I begin to make my way to the sink to freshen up my face and brush my teeth. The trailer shakes as I make my way through the kitchen into the living area where I plop on the couch and pour myself a drink. I click the TV remote multiple times, then hit it. The the golf channel comes on, right where I left it. It’s 2006 and Tiger Woods is in his prime, so I enjoy watching him play. While sitting on the couch, I also think about what my grandkids are doing right now; one is in kindergarten and the other in preschool. I haven't seen them since the day each of them were born because that's the only time my son ever let me see them. We had a falling out years before him and his wife had kids in mind.
I accidentally burnt his house down when I lived with him, and the guilt haunts me every day. It was a bad habit of mine to fall asleep with a cigarette in my mouth. That habit all started back in vietnam during the war. I served from 65 to 71, and they were the best years of my life. No matter what I do he will not let me back into his life. I buy my granddaughters things but they never received them because he either throws them out or mails them back. He won't even tell me what I can do to make amends with him and his family so I can at least attempt to fix my mistake. All alone in my trailer, the day passes by like any other day, where I drink and drink and drink. About 12 drinks deep I decide to go for a drive, stumbling down the stairs and walking into my car door. Somehow I open the door and start the car. Against better judgement I begin to drive to the exit of the trailer park. With a drink in my hand I turn onto the main road and begin my 8 mile voyage to my sons house. I begin to swerve into the other lane as headlights and horns draw me back to my own side. I take my final left onto Chivery Street where my son lives. I pull into the driveway of house number 21 where I open my door, accidentally honking the horn as I stumble out of my 71 cadillac. I stumble onto the lawn screaming and yelling. I hear the door squeak open as I fall, spilling whiskey all over myself. He come out and says, “Dad what the hell are you doing here.” I guess i didn't realize it but it was 1 in the morning. He says, “Do you know what time it is.” I see him run towards me hoping that he cares enough to pick me up, but he punches me in the face.
The next thing I know I’m hearing guns fire and bombs going off. Am I dreaming or is this a memory from vietnam? I get up and walk towards the sunlight, opening the tent and looking out to see an exact replica of when I was in vietnam. Why is this happening to me, what is going on? I suddenly hear, “Bill get the hell out here we are under attack.” I reach for the gun next to me and run after my commanding officer. Phew, the guy in front of me gets hit, so I jump behind a pile of potato sacks. I soon relize that this dream is too real to be a dream and I am somehow back in 1966. I peak around the berier and take a shot, it hits a soldier at center mass. I think to myself once again, why is this happening? I continue to shoot and kill the opponents, beginning to think about how much of a toll this has put on my life. Killing people is easy in the moment but will stay with you the rest of your life. This could be why I have a drinking problem, which needs to be fixed if I want my life back. I begin to reflect on my life and why my son hates me, and I can only relate it back to my drinking problem. I drink my life away, never getting to see my family or anyone at all. This is all starting to make sense now, I drink to take away my constant thoughts about all the pain I have caused other people. As my mind travels I stand up unconsciously, Phew, OUCH, my leg feels like its burning. I have been shot, so I hit the deck and start to yell. As I lose a lot of blood, a medic runs over to me saying, “hang in there.”. I begin to get blurry vision, but now all I can see is black.
“GET OUT OF HERE, LEAVE US IN PEACE,” I hear as I open my eyes to see a protest going on in front of me. I look around, I’m at the entrance of some sort of indian reservation. I continue to look at my clothing where I see a badge and a name tag that read, Officer Torres. I’m a cop monitoring a protest to make sure it stays safe and in control. The indians just want to be left alone from the rest of the country. Why don’t we just leave them alone? It is none of our business what they are doing. I look at this one man he had a very large head and his face was covered in pain to support his movement. I walked over to ask what exactly they were protesting against. He told me one of the cops shot his son as he was running across the reservation border. He was unarmed and innocent. He then proceeded to tell me to stay close to my family because you never know when you are going to lose them. My mind started traveling a mile a minute. I realized I need to get back into my families life no matter what it takes. I start to think that rehab is the answer. As I turn around to go back to my fellow officers, I see a giant wooden stick come flying at my face. Black is all I can see.
I wake up in the drunk tank at my local police station. As I stand up and start to stumble, the secretary says, “welcome back Bill, are you going to actually change when you get out of here this time.” I told her this time was different and that I was going to go to rehab to get my family back. She laughed and said, “just like last time huh Bill.” I got released 20 minutes later and walked 12 miles across the town to Forever Rejoice. This was the closest rehab facility. I enrolled myself and they brought me to my new room. I knew the second I got in there that the next six weeks are going to be very hard.
The first three weeks were very challenging, but as the third week rolled around all I wanted to do was get out. I think of the times I will possibly be able to have with my grandkids to keep me from not losing my mind. Bobby told me that if I finish rehab I can actually be in my grandchildren's life. I am finally getting my life back and it feels good. The fourth week at the rehab facility is very slow and I? kept getting very antsy. The meals in here are a whole lot worse than Vietnam. That is what makes this a painful experience and there is no way of fixing it, so I just need to stick it out. Finally, the fifth week rolls around and this is the week we figure out if we are in the right mindset to leave. The process has been being dragged on and it is now the sixth week of rehab and everyone is itching to get out this hell hole. I? hope someone will be there for me when I? get out. I? also hope my son and his family are waiting for me with posters and presents. I? think this is a point in my life where I? actually deserve these, but who knows what they think. It’s finally release day and I? couldn’t be happier. I? go through the leaving process as they ask me questions and give me all my old stuff back. Everyone cheers as we walk through the doors to our freedom. I look around at all the happy families, but don’t see mine. I? continue to search and search and then off in the distance I? see a little picnic set up with two girls running around it. I? drop everything to run to them. I? run as fast as an old man could, and as I? get closer and closer I? hear, “Grandpa,Grandpa.” This is the happiest I? have ever been. I finally have my family back.