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The Things Never Said
The only things ever said about my daddy’s WWII service were that he’d been to New Guinea where he’d ridden on a truck full of soldiers by the route of which it was oft said he’d lost my mother’s wedding ring in a river without a name like the big thing about his service that had no name was the horror of illness he came home with
both mentally and physically so affected that my grandparents gave their son-in-law their own bedroom large and well-lit with windows overlooking a main thoroughfare of the little town from which they say he’d gone the first to enlist in the war he brought fully home to their bedroom where he would not leave for six months receiving no visitors so angry gone from his own nature he would never speak the vast notes of his service came sparse from others and could forever on be seen on the discoloring light-orange blotches that marked the length of his legs never seen without thinking War Duty Harm.
Then my broth straight out of college enlisted for Vietnam despite my mother’s urging him to go to Canada his action of enlisting done to please my father so she said that enlisting helped him get army work typing forms except for when in the only thing he reported from the world of Agent Orange was he was among the stream of ranks marching into Cambodia the very same week President Nixon here announced we were not in Cambodia.
Our son Sean did two tours in Iraq wrenching and despicable were the airport waiting areas to see him off with his gear all light brown to disappear against the sand from where he did tell some stories of being a tank gunner about the firing and flaring this was our Sean teller of stories we could never be sure what to believe except there never seemed a way to rescue him from the unknown of himself and his only consistent summaries of all he never said with emphatic declarations concerned the unrelenting attacks of the insects never-ending in the Iraqi sand no escape no winning out over all the warring terror enemies and never will be only to survive to go home again.
My dear friend’s father was a veterinarian sent to WWII Philippines in time captured and sent to try a human endurance trial of the Baa-ta’an Death March for which language has no words his voice did not speak of the beyond how time can lose months and years in three prisoner-of-war camps one being the Billibid so hated it is said the Philippine people smuggled what rice they could gather into the prisoners whose stories as his never dared the telling gone lost in a map of hopefully dying areas of the mind during his long months of recovery at home with his parents in quiet Indiana.
Some things are never told secrets gone buried as if into another self or into a parallel universe banned from any existence by sharing by telling banned into a deadening silence never having been explained therefore maybe unreal and no more than the only known-to-self callings to God.
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(c) sally Young eslinger11/2020
Thanks be to God
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