Swallowed Time

Posted: September 8, 2018 in What Pegman Saw
Tags: , , ,

Today Pegman took us to Hanoi, Vietnam, and the memory of my nineteen-year-old boyfriend getting a low number in the lottery flooded in. Thanks, Karen, for the bittersweet recall of a good man.

Nineteen: Got it all. Good lookin’ girlfriend. Football star. Accepted to a high-end college. Gonna’ be a doctor.
Nineteen: Drew #25 in the Screw-You, You’re-Going-to-Vietnam lottery. Feeling empty. Can’t focus.
Farewell party. Beer. Hugs-n-Kisses. Loud music. Tears. Smell of fear.
Twenty: Celebrated that birthday lugging a 100-pound pack on a 50-mile march. Thanks, U.S. of A.
Twenty: Free ride to jungles loaded with bugs, mud up to my ankles, orange-colored defoliants and villagers carrying hatred in their eyes. Some live. Some don’t.
Twenty-one: Hello, LSD, mescaline, cocaine, heroin. Life is easier now that skulls in the bushes don’t register as anything more than a flash of white tangled in a heaviness of green and stench.
Twenty-two: Few of us mark our birthdays. Just glad to be alive. Or not.
Thanks, LSD, for swallowing time.
Twenty-four: Home. Greeted by strangeness and anger. And a fear I cannot heal.


  1. Laurel Leigh says:

    That’s quite beautiful to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. k rawson says:

    I got a twinge at your preamble, and then a chill as I started to read.

    Haunting, tragic, and powerful. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “They destroyed sleep,” as Robert Leckie said of the Japanese on Guadalcanal. Combat veterans of any war have a tough time, but a jungle enemy is somehow much worse. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. pennygadd51 says:

    Dear Lish
    I’m sorry to hear that your story is based on the personal experience of someone you loved. You’ve written a powerful memorial for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 4963andypop says:

    Very interesting picture, beautiful, but to my ignorant eyes, used to Western, mostly Christian imagery, a little weird. Goes well with the LSD and god-forsaken (at least, forsaken by a Christian version of God) nature of his plight. So glad he came home alive, if not undamaged.

    Love this sentence: “Life is easier now that skulls in the bushes don’t register as anything more than a flash of white tangled in a heaviness of green and stench.”

    I was not aware, beyond having heard that soldiers came home addicted, of the role these drugs played in their coping with their rather horrible situation. And sad that his welcome was , frankly,not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s why I chose the picture ~ for the weirdness and the skulls. Thanks for noticing. The Vietnam War, like all wars, was horrific. To be so close to it through Bob made it more “real.” Thanks for reading and leaving such a thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Abhijit Ray says:

    Nice story of growing up from teenager to twenty five.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Lish,

    Powerful piece, made moreso by the facts. So well done.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I may have stretched the truth about good lookin’ girlfriend ~ poetic license. I’ll slip over and read your piece now. My sisters have been visiting and a friend from New York is coming just after our friend from Port Angeles spends the night TONIGHT. Flipping sheets and …. You know the routine.


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