My New Friend
Author's note: I wrote this piece that first started off as just another school assignment but turned out to be... Show full author's note »
My New Friend“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”-
Mark Twain, 1835-1910
He was young, somewhere in his mid-twenties perhaps, clean shaven and taller than me, around six foot, five inches. He told me everything that had just occurred. Only a few of us survived the blast.
When I finally left the hospital I found him again, Luc. I couldn’t believe how easy he was to talk to. I could talk to him about anything even about my tough home life. He was a great listener and gave me the best advice. I had never had a friend like him since I was a kid. He was a little like me, in fact he never talked to anyone, but at the same time he was funny and had an amusing attitude about him. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want to talk to anyone else.
I came back from Vietnam in 1974. I was one of the last troops to leave Saigon before it fell. Luc and I went back to my home town. I’m not sure why I went back. I guess it was because I wanted to see if it had changed since I left. It was a small town with mostly dirt roads and country folk. I hated it here and not just because of my family either. When I left, my hair was shaggy, and I was too skinny for my own good. I came back with my hair clean cut my body and more muscular than ever. I wore my uniform back into the town, mostly to boast about my achievements. It was a conservative town and I knew that most of them were overly patriotic and would defiantly praise me for my service. I was liberal but no one knew because, well…I didn’t talk much at all.
Luc didn’t talk much at all when we got back; he wore regular street clothes, a red t shirt with a green jacket, and blue jeans with a black fedora. He just walked beside me and he didn’t really say a word. The sun was beating down on us, not a cloud in the sky.
My house was at the end of the long roadway that was filled with houses on both sides. I’m not sure why I was heading back to see my old folks. What was there to see? They couldn’t have changed that much. But as Dante went through the nine circles of hell, I was about to renter mine. I guess you could say it was a character building thing.
The more and more I walked down the road, the more and more I thought about things.