Whenever Two or More are Gathered
Life, for me, was just beginning to settle in. Not readjust, mind you. I still thought about the war every day, sometimes, several times a day. It seemed that America just wanted to leave me alone. Well, I wasn't ready to be left alone! I found myself watching the T.V. Guide, for any movies or talk shows, that had anything in them, about Vietnam. I was still filled with unanswered questions, and I figured that by seeing a movie, or hearing someone else talk about their experiences, I may find some answers.
We were on a lot of talk shows. I kept watching, and waiting for one of them to stand up and tell America just what they saw happening. But, it never happened. Nobody ever even hinted around that this whole thing might just be a simple communication problem. And the things that the Vets said, were things that only other Vets could understand. Sure, they spoke in English, but, it seemed to me that the words we spoke actually had a different meaning than what everyone understood. The Vet would say something, which was perfectly clear to me what he meant, and the interviewer, would ask another question, just like he didn't hear at all.
I was getting an attitude about this country, that was "Fine, if you don't like me...I didn't like you first!" I started looking for ways to keep my identity. I started wearing my shirts all the time again, which upset mom, but, I no longer cared. If no one wanted to recognize me on their own, then I would make them. I watched the newscast one Veterans day, and I immediately spotted the other Vietnam Vets. They always stood out at any gathering of this nature. Most Vets, of other wars, would come out in their dress greens, or dress blues. Many of them had those hats that had V.F.W. or D.A.V. printed on them.
Not the Vietnam Vet! He usually showed up in jungle fatigues, a boonie hat, often shoulder length, or longer, hair, and always the tear drop shades.
When I could see them, I looked into their eyes. They were almost always filled with tears. I knew that there was more hurt in them, than one good cry, could eliminate. But, it seemed to help. I know. I did it too!
I went to the Memorial Day Parade in my town that year. I wore my flight shirt. Someone stole my boonie hat, a couple weeks before then, and I felt out of uniform without it. Why anyone would steal an old dirty hat, I never could figure out. I noticed a couple other Vietnam Vets, standing on the other side of the street.
Every once in a while, we would catch ourselves staring at each other. None of us acknowledged any of the others. We had come to the point where we were afraid to do even that. Sad as it was, I knew that it would be a while before I tried it. Towards the end of the parade, the Blue Star Mothers, walked by. This was an organization made up of Mothers who had lost their sons in the war. As they slowly walked by, tears came welling up in my eyes, and I found it hard to breath. I felt no particular reason behind them. I knew none of these Mothers, or their sons, personally. It just seemed like a good time to cry, and get away with it, and it seemed like I was always looking for such a reason.
I glanced across the street, to one of the other Vets. He turned his head slowly towards me, and as he did, the tears on his cheek, reflected, in the bright sunlight. I nodded....just slightly. He nodded back, and I cried a little more. The parade passed by, and the crowd was starting to break up. I stood there for a while longer, and I noticed the other Vet did too. I had no plans to go talk to him. Something inside me, told me, we already were! That ability, to be able to speak volumes to each other, with just a glance, or a nod. I believed that it came from, our time together, in Vietnam. We were all so close! There was little, or nothing, that we couldn't talk about.
There was no class system. We all wore green. There was only the rank system, put there by the Army, and even a lot of that disappeared, after hours. We could sit around for hours, never even speaking, and feel totally comfortable. What this other Vet was telling me, was that even though I was all alone, I was not alone, and I realized, what it was, we didn't have. It was the ability to communicate on a civilian level! We were not civilians anymore, and we never would be again! I went home, not looking forward to the future with any hope at all, of a return to some kind of normal lifestyle.
As soon as I walked in the door, the phone rang. God must have known,
I needed some help.
“Hello?” I said nonchalantly.
“Holycross, is that you?”
The voice sounded exactly like it was coming in through the headphones
in my helmet. It was John!
“It's you......isn't it!”
“Dang right it is!” he replied
Lights came on again at the sound of that voice, partly because he was still alive, and mostly because he was probably the only person on earth, that I really wanted to see right then.
“John!.....Man!....Where are you?”
“I'm at my house!” he replied. I didn't think it strange, him not calling it home.
There was complete silence on the phone lines, for almost a minute, but we spoke those volumes. I didn't even feel the need to speak, and I don't think he did either! It was like..... we were touching......... re-establishing contact. I could actually feel his heart beat, on the other end.
“How do I get there?”
Thirty minutes later, I was on my way to Chicago. I stole Bryan's car. Well, his had F.M., and I was into that now. I left my keys on the counter for him. I would deal with it later. I was on my way to see John!
Chicago seemed like it was a million miles away. I couldn't believe I was going to see his face. I thought about all of the things we went through together, and I realized, now that I had something to compare it with, just how close we really were! We lived, we fought, back to back, we cried together. We ate, and even slept together, when the rains flooded the bottom bunk. Around here, it was swim, or sink! We shared our fears, and our sorrows, and as time went on, fewer and fewer words were needed, to make ourselves understood. We accepted each other exactly for what each was, and nothing more was needed. It was such a peaceful easy friendship to have, that I have absolutely no idea what-so-ever, why people around here, wouldn't like to have a friend like that!
Then, something I thought of brought me back to reality. Here I go again! Dropping my guard. Almost every time I've done it so far, I've been slapped in the face! This is just a war buddy, who wants to see you, I tried to tell myself. No.....No it wasn't....This was John! Everything was going to be just fine!
And fine it was! As I pulled down his side street, there he was, jumping up and down in the middle of the road. I told him what kind of car to look for, and when he saw it, he almost got run over by me, as he ran up to drag me out of it! Imagine the irony of that! I stopped the car in the middle of the road. He jumped in, and we looked at each other.
“OOHH Man...You ugly sucker.....It's so good to see you!” he said, grinning from ear to ear.
“Hey! Don't give me that! You was the ugly one!”
Something caught my attention in the rear view mirror. Immediately, John picked up on my mood. I still didn't like being approached by the rear. For half a second, we were the old team again, just like we never parted. He quickly turned around to see what it was. Then he smiled.
“It's my neighbor!” he said. “He'll wait.”
I looked back in the mirror, and to my complete surprise, the guy was reading his paper! I looked back at John. That bitch already had his neighborhood trained to leave him alone! I pulled ahead to let him pass anyway. In my eyes, this was the guy to worry about, not John!
“So, how ya been man” he asked.
“Good.....real good! How about you?”
"Me too!...Yea, I'm doing all right! Listen!" he said. "Come on in and meet my folks.
"Lets roll!" I said trying to get some of the old camaraderie going again. It didn't fly, and we both realized it, probably because we didn't talk like that over there.
He took me into his house. His parents were standing in the kitchen. They looked like good old fashioned folks. John introduced us, and they asked me to please have a seat.
"John told us that you were in his unit." That was W.W.II talk, I thought. They used the word unit. We used the word company.
"We were on the same helicopter." I answered.
"Yes, he told us that too. I'll bet you two are really glad to see each other again."
We looked at each other. Tears immediately started to form, in both our eyes.
"What! This ugly thing!" he blurted out.
I smiled, temporarily holding back that release, that we both knew we were going to be able to have, once we were alone. I felt like we were having fore play.
"I told you, you was the ugly one!"
Everyone laughed, and John took it as his chance.
"Let me show you my room!" he said, starting to get up already. His Mother got this look on her face, then she looked over at me. I knew she wanted to say something. I knew she wanted to talk more. I think she wanted to ask me something. And, I wanted to answer her.
"Let's roll!" John said, and it broke the spell. How come shit always works for him? I got up, and glanced one more time at John's Mom. Even though I saw a hint of defeat, I could see her determination showing through. She wanted her son back! And she wasn't going to give up. I thought about my own situation, and I wondered if other people could see that in my Mother. I wondered if John could see it, in his.
I followed John through the hallway to his room. I wasn't surprised to see it decorated, somewhat like a bunker. I couldn't do this, in my families den. I needed my own place!
We went in, and I turned around, to compliment him on his taste. I watched as he closed the door, and turned around. I held my words when I saw the look on his face. It had changed, from happy, to that of a desperate man.
"I don't belong here!" he said. No, I thought, he couldn't see it.
"Well, come to Michigan with me!" I answered.
“No, Man, That's not what I mean!......I mean....I don't belong in this country anymore!
It finally struck home! If John said it, it had to be true. The Vietnam Vet, was not a welcome part of America!
"I know man!" I wasn't alone! I thought. John felt it too!
"I mean like, I just want to give up! I just don't care anymore!"
It hit me. John had only been home, I figured, for about a month. I thought back to that time in my own life. Now I was the one who had the seniority. I remembered the times, when different words were coming from his mouth, especially the time, when I told him that I didn't care. I even got a little excited, as I savored the words that I'd waited a long time, to give back to him.
"You Better!" I said, and it sounded just like I hoped it would.
He looked at me, and then he smiled! He knew exactly What I was doing, and instead of being upset, that I finally got him back or something, he was glad that we still had it. It, was our conversation. We have been carrying on, the same one, ever since we met. One of us might say something out of the blue, and the other one would know exactly where they were coming from.
I took a good look at him. This wasn't the Easy Rider I knew. Oh, his heart, and his mind were still the same, but his spirit was broken. He had lost that confident look that I always admired in him. I wondered how I looked to him. He would be the only one, on earth, able to tell me if it was "being here", that was changing us. One thing I did know, we could do each other a lot of good.
"Want to cruise back to Michigan for a week or so?" I asked.
He pointed to his duffel bag, all packed, and smiled.
"You could ask me?"
I noticed that he changed a little bit, just before he opened the door. I remembered that look, from somewhere. It was serious, like he was mentally preparing himself.....That's it! It was the same look I saw on his face, as he walked out the door of our room, on the day of our first mission. That "Wise as a serpent" look. I tried to copy it, but it still didn't feel right on my face.
There were a few more "nice to have met you's", and one more look from John's Mom. I found myself hoping that she gets what she wants, for her sake, and John's. John grabbed up his duffel bag, kissed his Mom on the cheek, and was halfway out the door before I knew it. I turned to his Mom.
"Maybe we'll meet again!" I said.
"That would be nice!" she answered. And I turned to catch up with John, who was already standing at the car.
I first noticed it, when we got in the car. We had known each other over a year, and never got into a car together. I realized that this was going to be all brand new, and we were going to have to wing it, from here on out. But, I figured that if anyone could, John and I could.
There was another feeling, that seemed brand new. With John in the car with me, it seemed that the car, and it's occupants, actually belonged, exactly where they were. Right then, I didn't need the whole country, just the car, and John. I was beginning to get a feeling of confidence, that I wasn't even able to find inside my shirt anymore. Every time I looked over at him, and could see out of the corner of my eye, him looking over at me, I felt a surge of power go through me. John was on my side! I knew it for a fact! We had proven it to each other, too many times, to ever doubt it again!
We made mostly small talk, as he guided me through the city, back to the expressway. I had a surprise for John, in my shirt pocket, and I was waiting till I could get to someplace where I would be more relaxed. The city freaks me out. There is too much going on around me, and I get this real helpless feeling. It's very uncomfortable. I knew that no matter how long I would ever be back, I would never grow used to this.
We got out on the E-way, and I reached into my pocket, and handed one to John.
"What's this?" he asked. I knew he knew exactly what it was, by the way it was rolled.
"Homegrown!" I half yelled, and we both cracked up, but, for different reasons.
That opened the door back up. Neither of us stopped talking. Here was two guys, who used to speak in grunts and nods, not being able to shut up. Most of the time, we were finishing each others sentences, so we could start our own. It was "Remember this?" "Yea, remember that?"
Then, with some unspoken cue, that both of us heard, we stopped talking. That was enough. We had been brought up to date, and both of us knew it. And, we both knew that we had other things to talk about.
"Man! Turner! It's good to see your ugly face!" he said.
"I told you!"....then I stopped. I knew that he was just trying to get us started, and he didn't have a clue as to how, either.
"I missed you too man!"
"So....What do you think of all this?"
"I'll tell you what!" I said. "The only thing I'm really sure of, is the fact that I'm not really sure of anything!"
When he didn't answer, I looked over, to see him staring at me, with tears streaming down his face. Mine, which hardly needed any prompting lately, followed suit.
"God it's been rough!" he said. "They spit on us at the Airport man! One of them even reached through the fence with a cane and broke this dudes plasma bag, and he was on a stretcher man!
"A fence? What do you mean fence?"
"I mean a fence man! They built a fence, to keep the protesters away from us! They hate us man!"
I thought how lucky I was. I don't know if I could have taken that, not that soon anyway. I also knew that I had to change the subject. I didn't come all this way to pick him up, just to bitch. Once again he seemed to know what I was thinking.
"Hey man!...You remember when we were on guard duty, and I made you shoot that snake?" John didn't like snakes....at all!
"Yea, you douche bag, every bunker on the north side was popping flares. They thought we were being over run! And when the O.D. came down, you blamed it on me!"
We both started laughing. Then I remembered how much trouble I got into, and I didn't think it was all that funny anymore. He saw that in me, and figured he better stop too, and change the subject. Then we both looked at each other, and knew exactly what all, had just happened, and we laughed again, cause we both knew, we still had it.
"We had some good times, you and me!" I said.
"There not over yet!" he replied.
And so it went, for the entire five hour ride back. The laughter, and the tears, up, and down. There was so much bottled up inside, and it was finally getting released, and it all wanted to come out at once. I had begun to feel like I was drowning, and this felt like I just came up for air. We talked about simple things, like we were trying to see if they were really true, or just memories we made up. In the reality we were living in, we had both begun to doubt even the reality of Vietnam sometimes. We talked about our room. It is hard to describe, to someone who wasn't there, just how cool we thought it was. We had a parachute ceiling, stereo, black lights, all the luxuries, a man could need. It was great, but you had to be there, to really appreciate it, and John had!
We could cover whole operations in our minds, with just a few words. John was not just someone who had been there. He was better than that! He had been there, with me! He had seen the left side, of everything, that I saw the right side of. He was the other half of my memory! Together, we were stereo.
I was determined not to let our time together, end, until I sorted some things out, and by the way he was talking, he was feeling the same way too!
We arrived in Pontiac, about four A.M. I pulled into a twenty four hour restaurant, where I knew some of the people. We were going to have some breakfast, because I had suddenly, and strangely, gotten real hungry, and wait for the sun to come up.
We pulled into the parking lot, like I had done so many times before, on my lonely "night patrols". I felt like this time, it was going to be different. Other times, I just went in there for coffee. If I could find someone who would listen, I would try to tell them how I felt. If there wasn't anyone, and there hadn't been in a while, I just sat there, and drank my coffee. The cooks, and most of the waitresses, knew who, or at least what I was, because of my shirt, and because I spillled my guts to each of them, at one time or another.
But, John was here now. He was not just part of some story, he was real! I really had no idea, if anything at all different, was going to happen in there, but I couldn't wait to find out.
We walked in, both of us in our "shirts", and he, in his boonie hat. As usual, he had to look, just a little bit cooler, than me! I did miss my hat though, but we were two now, and that was making up for it.
I can't quite describe the feeling that we were sharing at that moment. It was a combination of pride, joy, togetherness, strength, and right, coupled with the first real feeling of belonging I had felt, since coming back. We sat down in a corner booth, that we both seemed to be heading for, at the same time. I was finding out that many of our reactions, were still alike. Sandy, the waitress, walked up to us, and smiled.
"Coffee?" she asked.
"Why not!" I said.
"You guys twins?" she asked, as she poured.
There it was! That condescending, who are you, attitude, I had come across so many times! I wanted to rip right into her! I wanted to show off, to John. Who did she think she was, that she could talk to us like that?"
"I guess you could say that!" John answered. The matter-of-fact tone in his voice, calmed me down. I grinned as I realized that I didn't feel embarrassed anymore. I realized that Sandy didn't make that remark, with any conscious effort, but, I was just getting tired of this new attitude I was seeing in people. I understood that the Vietnam War wasn't the blame for this. It can be traced all the way back to the Indians. We were being cast, as just another "slightly different" minority, that was voted in, somewhere down the line.
John's confident answer, had turned everything around, without shedding a drop of innocent blood. I could see the change, taking place in her mind. Without tearing her apart, and making us look like idiots in front of everyone, he had brought us together. He acted like ours was the game to play, and dang if it didn't work. I think it surprised even him! She sat down next to me.
"Were you two over there together?"
"Let me introduce my brother to you!" I jumped in.
"You guys are brothers?" she interrupted.
Well, not really brothers, I thought. Then I changed my mind.
"Yea, I guess we are!" said John, and all I could do, was smile.
"This is John!" I said. My crew chief, and the left side gunner on our helicopter....in Vietnam!" I added, just to remove all doubt. "John, this is Sandy, a waitress, and a stateside friend!" John had started something, and I wanted to keep it going. This was our thing, and I was not ready then, if ever, to let anyone else, in on it.
"How long were you two together, over there?" she asked. I could sense that she somehow wanted to be a part of what we had, and that only made it seem that much more valuable, and harder to get at.
"About a year!" John answered. Shit, I knew exactly how long it was, and I knew he did too! Everything over there was counted, in months, in days, and sometimes, even in minutes. But, it just didn't seem to matter if Sandy knew, or not.
"It must have been rough!" she said. Of course, they all say that.
"We had our times, good, and bad!" I answered this time.
And so it went. Other waitresses, and even a couple of customers, sitting at a table near us, wanted to join in the conversation, in those wee hours. Everyone suddenly wanted to claim some sort of association with us.
"Yea! I had a cousin over there!" one would say.
"I wanted to go, but they wouldn't let me, bad eyes." another one said.
During all of this, I was losing my need to have any of them understand. It didn't matter anymore if they did know that "terrible thrill" of combat, and all of the other good, and bad emotions, that were commonplace over there, and quite unique, over here. John and I knew, and now, that was all that mattered. I looked at him. He was starting to look like the old John that I once knew. I knew we were helping each other, a lot. I was already starting to miss him all over again, and our time together hadn't even started yet! In the meantime, I was starting to get bored with all of these good folks. There wasn't any satisfaction in telling them anything. With John here, I no longer had the need. I wondered if he was feeling the same way.
"Wanna go?" he asked.
I still marveled at out togetherness, both in thought, and action. Then I remembered that John and I had spent our first real years on our own, together.
All of my former friends impressions of this world, came from being in this world. Their character, came from it. John and I missed those years, as far as this countries impressions of life were concerned. But now, I was beginning to realize, that we had something else to replace it with. Something I was beginning to feel, was better. Also, we had a togetherness, those around us, could only imagine!
I paid for our breakfast, and we walked out into the sunrise. I felt, once again, that this was the first day, of the rest of my life. As we got into the car, John again spoke for both of us.
"It's really great, you know it?"
"Yea, I know!" I said, without asking him exactly what he meant, cause I knew.
The old confidence was there. That feeling of being covered on both sides. I knew then, that I had better make the most of this, cause it may never happen again.
We pulled up into the driveway, and I realized that I was in Doug's car. I wondered how him and Mom were going to take this. We walked in, and I saw her standing in the kitchen, still cleaning, the same clean counter.
"Your brother wrecked your car last night! Is this the John you've been talking about?"
"Yea Mom! John, meet my Mother. Mom, this is John!" Then the first part of her sentence sunk in.
"He wrecked my car? Is he all right?"
"He's fine, but your car has a few dents in it."
Well, I'll kill him later I thought. I wasn't really that concerned about it. It was probably the best time he could have done it, and got away with it. Material things were losing their meaning to me. These feelings, that I was beginning to experience, were fast becoming the most important thing in my life, and I was not going to waste any of them, on trivial stuff!
Mom could see that John meant something to me. She could also see that we had what she could see, as a secret or something. Only it wouldn't have been a secret, if she had only listened to me before. I was beginning to believe that John was adding to my credentials. I always had the feeling before, that no one really believed that I was really over there! But, here was someone from another state, coming here, and saying that he saw me there.
I was still trying to prove something. Prove that I was a Vet maybe!
Easy Rider and I spent quite a week together. We hit every place I knew. I was showing him off. Well, actually, he was showing me off. I was using him, and he understood, and helped. I believed I was helping him too, because I could see his old confidence, coming back.
We spent our last day together, at my Grandma's farm. That night, we went out to the old barn, behind the house. We climbed up on the roof, laid back, and just looked at the stars for a while. Neither of us said anything for at least a half hour. We didn't have to. The old peaceful feeling was back. I heard him take a deep breath, and slowly exhale. I knew, Once again, I felt it too. I knew our time was coming to an end. I left country, quite unexpectedly, and we never really got the chance to properly say good bye. Now, I was wondering if this was it, for good. I hoped not. I was going to try to talk him into staying. I thought I could. He seemed pretty relaxed here in Michigan. I pulled out the last joint of Vietnam weed, that I had, and lit it up. It seemed like the proper thing to do.
"My cousin Tom and I used to lay up on this roof, like this." I said. It seems like hundreds of years ago. Maybe even different stars.
"I know Holy Cross, it's been real hard for me too. Everything has changed. All those things we kept talking about over there, trying to keep the memories alive! Those things don't even exist anymore. They might as well have sent us back to a different country!"
"Welcome to the real world!" I laughed. That was the other thing I wanted to be able to say to him, and even if it didn't quite fit, I didn't think I would ever have another chance.
He looked at me, like for once, he didn't understand what I meant. So, I explained my theory, similar to what he just said.
"You don't think it's funny, do you?" he asked.
"No....No John, I don't. But I don't know what else to do. I've got to laugh. I'm tired of crying!"
"What do you think it will be like for us when we separate this time?" he asked."
I didn't want to tell him just how much I'd been dreading it. This whole week was overshadowed by the thought, that soon, too soon, it would all be over, again. I didn't want to think about how things were, and would probably be again. I didn't know if I was strong enough to make it on my own.
"Your worried.....aren't you?"
Sometimes I just wish he wouldn't do that!
"A little bit, I guess. John, you know as well as I do, it's a number ten L.Z. out there. Your the only R.& R. I've had, since coming home!"
"Same here man!" he said. "But you know we can't be flying cover ship for each other forever. We've got to go solo sometime!"
"No we don't!......at least not right now. You could stay.......at least for a month or two. You could find a job....."
"Holy Cross, I can't man!"
"You better have a good reason....or else I might keep you here!"
He got serious for a second.
"It's a chick Turner! I think I'm in love with her!"
I never even thought about the one thing that, naturally, could come between us. The one thing, that both of us needed, even more than each other, right now. John found his, and that made me feel even more alone. Now I was without my Crew Chief. Up until just then, I never really thought about finding a woman to call my own. I had been too busy trying to find my own.
A new kind of emptiness filled my heart. I forgot about John for a moment, and started thinking about my self. Without realizing it, John showed me how to head in an actual direction! It's time I stopped searching for something I'm not even sure of, and start doing things, with what I am. I started seeing some of the things I had been missing. I realized that many of the things I dreamed of, were still possible. I had been wasting my time, trying to be so sure that everyone else understood me, that I forgot how to understand my self.
"Look man!" he said quietly, after a few moments silence. "It won't be that bad anymore. All we needed, was to touch base once again. We just had to stop, and realize that were still okay!"
"Yea, I know. I just realized that very fact. I'm just afraid....that when we part, it will go back to how it was, and I don't think I can take it anymore!
"You don't think I didn't consider that, when I was trying to make up my mind?"
Then, he did consider staying! That made me feel a little better. I mean after all, it's a chick were talking about. I took the roach, gave it one last hit, and passed it to him.
"Last hit!" I said. It was ceremony time. He took it between his fingers, and looked at it for a second. Then he took a deep hit, held it up in the air, and flicked it over the edge of the roof. We both exhaled at the same time.
"John.....your some dude! I said, as we got up, at the same time, to go back to the house. "And I really hope you find all that you are looking for, in life!"
"You too, my brother!" and he put his arm around my shoulder. "You too!"
We laid there in our beds, talking quietly through the night. The same beds that I once laid in, as a kid, and listened to the grown ups tell their stories. How different it seemed! Where I was, and how I was feeling, was not my great expectation! But, on the other hand, something that began here, was ending here.
It was like the war was coming to an end for us. This was the talk we never got to have, the one we couldn't have had anyway, because we didn't have any idea, how things were going to be. I was trying to gear my self up, to the fact that I was going to have to carry on, by myself, and I still wasn't sure I could. I knew that I still didn't want to. Still, I was thankful that he was still alive, and that I did get to see him again. I was hoping, that would be enough! And, just like we had been talking out loud, all along....
"You know. It shouldn't make any difference, what people think. We ought to be able to be free, without their consent!"
I didn't answer. I couldn't. I was crying again. I was really going to miss him! He even knew that, cause neither of us spoke again till morning, and neither of us slept.
The drive back seemed to take forever. I just wanted to get this over with. I hated long good byes. Neither of us spoke much. We said all there was, and now, we were just being together, just like over seas. I felt a strange peace. A peace, that I would fight to keep, if necessary. If I didn't lose all of this new found confidence, as soon as John stepped out of the car, I was going to try to build a life around it.
We got to his street, and I felt the lump forming in my throat. I didn't want to stop, and I was sure I felt that he didn't want me to. He didn't say anything, so I pulled into a parking space in front of his house.
"Listen my brother! You take good care of yourself!" he said, and I realized he was right. It was better to get this over with quick.
"You too, John Williams.......You too!....I'll always think of you!"
He slapped me on the back of the head.
"I won't forget you either!" he said, and he quickly got out of the car.
As he turned for one last look, and I knew he would, I could see wet streaks, coming down the sides of his glasses. I looked up to his house. There was his mother, staring out the window. I nodded, and she smiled. I hoped she would be able to see, and help with, the change in her son. I drove away, wondering if I would ever see him again. I did know, because of the time we spent together, that somewhere in this world......I still had a friend!