"Well, I haven’t heard yet why they told me to come write a story about that other soldier. I can see how you and he sacrificed yourself for our country, but they told me that he did something for this ghost town that got their attention. They did mention that he would be hard to find. Can you tell me more of what it is?
“I would say he did something great, I guess, but before I take you to him I would like you to show me the picture of your father and mother? Yes, I recognize him in this photo. He was a good soldier and he always talked about your mother. We served together for a while and I always looked up to him because he always took care of his men. You would be very proud of him. I still remember him carrying a picture of your mother and a baby with him. I would presume it was you, right?”
“Can you tell me more about how he was, you know? Did he ever talk about me? Do you think he is still alive and does the other soldier know more about him too? I’m sorry; again, I can’t stop crying. I came to write a story and I’ve gotten emotionally involved because how I wish to know about my father too.”
“Miss, your father went missing for a reason. I’m not so sure, but I think I remember hearing some stories about why he did. If you wipe those tears away I’ll start on that story too, but let me remind you, it might hurt to know? See now, even I am getting teary eye too and I haven’t started yet!”
That child gave me a hug and kissed my forehead again. It seemed like she didn’t mind how I looked. I wanted to sugar coat the story about her father because I knew more than what I was hiding. I told her to tell me more about her mother too so that I could settle down and later on take her to see the other soldier she was suppose to be interviewing. It gave me time to ponder how I was going to come over with the story. I was buying some time because I knew all along we would never find the other soldier. He did not exist and staring at the young journalist face made me fell guilty of what I had done.
I couldn’t stop crying and she sensed that I hadn’t come clean with my entire story. She told me that if I knew something about her father, she wanted to know no matter how troubling it might be. She had only pictures of him and some letters that her mom had kept, but had never met him. It had been more than twenty years or more that she had been hearing stories from her mother. She mentioned that her mom never remarried because her heart felt that someday he would return home. On other occasions she stated then when she was lonely she would cry and say that he was probably dead. My heart sank deeper into a depression and I didn’t know if I should tell her the whole truth.
I asked her if she wanted to sit down and eat with me. She told me only if I allowed her to do the cooking. I showed her how I did all of those things myself, but she insisted that it would be a privilege to honor a soldier that had served with her father. She made me promise to finish my story about myself and later on about her father. Somehow she seemed to purposely forget about the other soldier and the other story.
I watched her as she made us some food from what I had hidden inside the cardboard home I had made. She looked content and never did she show any signs of being embarrassed about using the poor things I possessed. She reminded me of a wife I once had.
This story is not about me, but about the soldier I sat down with one day as we talked. I was fascinated about what he was telling me and I wrote down some notes on a diary I had. I promised him that I would write it down for all to hear and read. There is an ending to this story, don’t know if I should finish it or if anybody really cares. He was my friend in Vietnam and we were both recovering from wounds.