Who is This Man Just Back From the War?
Tears of gladness, even sobs escape from too many nights alone. You’ve sent my husband back to me, his duty finally done. His child, an infant when you drafted him is now a toddler who has only known her father through the letters I read to her and pictures I showed her, pointing – “Daddy? Do you see this man? He is your Daddy. Can you say DaDa … Da Da, come on you can say it.”
Weeks go by and I find myself confused at the feelings, or maybe it’s a lack of feeling that my husband is displaying. Where is that easy laugh and that funny, crooked grin of the man-child who went to do a job you said he should be proud to do? Why do I wake to an empty bed, only to find him pacing the floor with his new companion, the bottle of whiskey? It’s never far from his reach and he chooses it over my homemade waffles in the morning and even a steak dinner with all of the trimmings in the evening?
This kind, gentle man that I married struck me across the face yesterday when he found me looking at his scrapbook of Nam, where I searched for answers that could help me bring him back.
“NEVER TOUCH MY THINGS - NEVER!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
I held my breath and my tears, sensing any sign of weakness would only fuel his anger and cried only after he stormed from the house and laid rubber for half a block on his way, no doubt, to the tavern again. These bitter tears sting even more than the millions I shed while he was gone.
What have you done with my husband? Who is this imposter that you’ve sent? My husband, my high school sweetheart, does not laugh at cruelty he sees on television. That sweet boy would be down on the floor, playing with his daughter. This man barely acknowledges me or the baby. It’s as if you’ve sent home his body, but kept his mind…
and his very soul.