Rating: PG13 (For strong language)
Disclaimer: The Tour of Duty characters do not belong to me. I simply love to play in their sandbox.
Summary: Written for the Notes From the Underground Anniversary Challenge- Myron has been a year in Vietnam. And Anderson has gone home to the States.
It was incredibly hot and muggy,
making everything seem not just sticky, but close. Myron hated close,
hated the feeling of being closed in. Too much like being cornered. Or
Yet here he was, all alone in
his hootch. He’d wanted it that way. Made it clear with a few sharp
words and a cold look that no one was to bother him, short of the camp
being overrun. Even McKay, for once, knew enough to just stay the fuck
Brewster knew. The man missed
nothing. Somehow he knew that Myron needed to really tie one on tonight
and left him to it. Somehow
knew the reason why, even if Myron didn’t want to face it. There had
been understanding and compassion in those eyes, and possibly pity.
Myron didn’t want the pity. Didn’t feel he deserved the rest.
After all, it was his own damned
fault he was here now. Alone. There was no one to blame, no one to rage
at. Only the empty shadows of the hootch and the bottle of scotch he had
on his desk.
He was used to being alone. Had
been alone his whole life or so it seemed. Army brat, his father kept
the family moving. Never had time to make friendships, nor did the other
kids he met. They were all in the same boat, thrown together for a
while, then one would leave, another come, Myron would leave and find
himself at a new base, starting over again.
Always starting over. Always
alone. East coast, west coast, bases in the south. Overseas in Europe,
then back to the States. You got to a point where you stopped trying
because there was no point. You were only going to move again anyway.
He had his mother, but did he
really ever? He meant what he’d said to his father, back at Chu-lai.
That what he remembered was a lonely woman. Looking back, Myron realized
she was never really there, not completely. She was like half a soul,
drifting along. She’d smile at Myron, but there was such a distance,
like she was miles away instead of in the same room.
Then one day she wasn’t there
at all. His father buried her and told Myron after it was all said and
done. He never got to say goodbye.
He never said goodbye to his
father either. Simply left. Made the decision that he was on his own
now. Alone. So he walked away and never looked back. Accepted that he
was alone. Had always been alone.
Myron grabbed the bottle and
glass and brought them over to his bedside stand, setting them there. He
poured off a glass but left it, untouched. Tapping out a cigarette, he
then tossed the pack beside the bottle and lit up with sharp movements.
The end glowed brightly in the lingering shadows as he inhaled deeply.
God, it was fucking hot and
sticky tonight. He sat on the bed which creaked in protest as he stared
out the screen door into the dark compound. The cigarette burned slowly
between his fingers. It was a moonless night with only the camp lights
chasing back the darkness.
He wanted nothing to do with his
father’s world, yet the war changed that. Too ingrained in him, he let
himself get drafted. When he made officer in OCS, he had no one to pin
his rank on. No smiling wife, girlfriend, or proud parent. He’d been
alone then, in that ceremony.
And alone he came to Vietnam.
He could accept that, had been
prepared for it, even expected it. He was an officer, it came with the
territory. He’d do his time, feed the obligation his upbringing and
conscience made impossible to ignore, and then go back and pick up his
life where he’d left off before he let himself get drafted.
Alone in the States, alone in
Vietnam, did it really matter where you were when it all shook out the
same way in the end?
He drank down half the glass in
a swallow. Restless and edgy, he climbed to his feet with the glass
still in his hand and went to stand at the screen door and stare out at
Ladybird was only a year ago. It
was a lifetime ago.
He blamed Anderson. Had to blame
someone. He’d blamed and damned his father for years, even blamed the
old man for his being here in this sorry excuse for a country. Now he
Damned Anderson. The bastard
just couldn’t leave Myron alone, couldn’t respect that Myron wanted
to be alone. Instead he made it a personal mission, squared his
shoulders and dug in. And steadily, quietly, patiently battered at
Myron’s defenses. Saw past the defiance, the anger, the arrogance…
the raw fear. Saw past all of that and saw Myron for who he was. Saw
something there he felt worth salvaging. Became more than an NCO, more
than Myron’s sergeant.
The bastard slipped under
Myron’s defenses. He became a friend.
And Myron let it happen. Did the
one thing that came the hardest for him to do… he trusted the other
Trusted him when Myron hadn’t
allowed himself to trust anyone in years.
And for the first time in his
life, Myron stopped feeling alone. Was no longer alone. He hurt, pieces
of him shattered with each man’s death, each kid’s loss cut him so
deeply. But he wasn’t alone. Anderson wouldn’t leave him alone,
wouldn’t let him handle the burden alone. He couldn’t shoulder it
all, but he shouldered enough so that Myron felt he could somehow
survive all of this.
It had been a mistake. Myron’s
mistake for trusting, for letting himself believe. He knew better, but
he let it happen anyway.
He sent Anderson away. Chased
him away. Myron was broken inside, shattered beyond repair. So he blamed
Anderson and deliberately sent him away.
And Myron now found himself
alone. He drank down the rest of the glass and closed his eyes. He sent
the one person away who could have saved him.
But he didn’t want to be
saved, did he?
A year ago Myron came to
Vietnam, alone. A year later, he was still in Vietnam.
And still alone.