Posted by asm826 on November 16, 2006
I can’t find a better way to end this tale than to leave them in the ‘ville, sitting together sharing a beer. I wrote myself a note that last night in the Philippines, to the me in the future that might come back to read the words. I had stopped in Mariposa, ordered one last meal, and wrote the following:
“Red and yellow checked tables, jukebox playing. It is 5 minutes to 2 in the morning. It is time for you to move on, take your consciousness and go. I’m going to stay here, come and see me. It will always be 5 minutes to 2. Smell the river, the diesel. In a little while the power will go off. So, go on man, time calls again. I’m here, I’ve got the watch. If you get here, really get here, I’ll buy the first beer.”
Then I went back up to Cubi, picked up my seabag, and went down to the terminal about 4 in the morning. I knew better than to go to sleep anywhere else. We did fly out uneventfully that morning. I was asleep almost the entire flight, and when I awoke, it was as the gear thumped down for landing at Iwakuni.
Seven weeks later I was a civilian, looking for a job. All the pictures, letters, and notebooks went into a seabag that I have moved from place to place. I put it away.
23 years have passed since I left Olongapo. The ‘ville I remember no longer exists. The Soviet Union is gone. My squadron was decommissioned after the first Gulf War. I am 49. A new threat has arisen, and I am considered too old to answer the call, although I tried in October of 2001.
We stayed married, recently celebrated 29 years together. We have 4 sons, the youngest is 17. It has been and continues to be a good marriage. I am a happy, and lucky, man.
Lex’s “Rhythms” led to some email, and to me trying to put some of the story on paper. Opening that seabag has been an adventure. Some memories never lose their power. I hope you caught some echo of your own youthful adventures. I hope I got there. I hope I told it true.
Here’s to the Marine Corps and to the Marines of VMFA-451.
(ed: [ this is from Lex – 09-04-2018] You did well, Marine. It took a while, but then it always does – the past can be a demanding place, full as it is of uncompromising youth. You told it true. Semper Fi.)
09-04-2018 – well, at least part of the mystery was partially solved as to the author. My apologies for not finding the complete series; it was subject to the whims of the Wayback Machine in collecting Lex’s web data – and I happened to find this while looking for another post that Lex had linked – Ed.