As I lay in the water many years ago with the snakes crawling on me in that pond in Southeast Asia, I was scared and alone. I did not remember until I started sobering up and stopped drinking…altogether.
I thank the Lakota for dragging my ass to my first AA meeting out there on the Rez to begin the process of recovery. Had I known it to be so painful, I may not have gone.
I continued and the memories flooded into me. And Charles, you were one of them. Charles Washington…I can almost feel you now as I held tight trying to keep the blood from flowing from your body. Close to this time of the year. The smells, every time I smell mold and mildew, it triggers something. And you there, telling me to trust Jesus.
But I couldn’t at that time…I used to be an acolyte in the Episcopal Church and I drifted in and out of various different Christian Churches. I checked out the Elysian Tree Metaphysical Book Store up in Urbana, Illinois right next door to the sleazy movie. That was when I read about Islam and other religions and somewhere learned how to plot horoscopes…
I was in there searching. I wanted to know why you died and I had stayed alive but I could not express it at the time because I did not even know myself.
Eventually after you told me to Trust Jesus and bleed to Death in my Arms, Charles, I thought I probably should at least read the Bible for your honor. So I bought a One Year Bible and read it through several times…Interesting book…
You were a trip, this big black man that reminded me of the South that I had grown up in with such deep faith that kept us all going over there and when I finally crawled out of that nasty water, standing there shaking out of cold, sweat, wet and fear and found you, and the other guy alive but he died before I could do anything.
You tried to help me, but the damned blood just kept spurting out of you. It hurts so bad and I have to write this because I have to show people what it’s like to survive. Here it is some 44 years later and I have tears streaming down my face because I have chosen to get sober and deal with the feelings.
No wonder I really don’t like playing vampire games…I have had enough blood….and it was just a short few months…Not even are regular tour of duty…One of those black ops things that we love to do and then claim we haven’t even done…until there is a fuckup…. Why according to my records, I was not even there!
But, there are too many people with memories stumbling around and now a whole new generation coming up with sand in their boots instead of mold and mildew…God bless’em. Well, Charles…I guess I will try to keep it together…I am still staying sober…keep cool good buddy and stay dry.
Published a day late for Veterans Day.