Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 26

grabbing hold of whatever we can, even if it's our buddies next to us. A lot of us are holding hands, something we won't ever mention again in our lives, but something we'll feel over and over again. Wind is rushing into the plane and our lieutenant yells out, hold on to your hats ladies. I am sure that if the wind died down for just a second, I could hear the howled prayers of every single soldier in this plane, I could hear whatever spells my sister was casting across the ocean. We're squinting out the hatch, trying to make out what's going on on the ground, but we're still moving too fast.

The plane's wheels lower, Rudy's hand is sweaty in mine. We look at each other instead of the ground rushing below the plane, almost touched down now. I recognize in his eyes the same trapped recklessness that burned in my sister's as she watched me leave

& we are in front of the TV, minutes from leaving. Our mothers sit together, whispering in the kitchen; they cannot bear to watch the news anymore, they cannot bear to witness. Our fathers are still at work. The news comes on, and we see the familiar face of channel three anchor man, Chuck Greene. He looks grim tonight, but then again, he looks grim every night.

But then he says this: Breaking news tonight as NVA troops execute the most massive and coordinated attack since the beginning of American involvement in Vietnam. During what American forces had been told was a two-day cease-fire in observance of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, or Tet, as they call it, NVA troops struck major US and South Vietnamese strongholds throughout the country. The battles there continue as we speak. Here is our ground reporter, Sam Chaplin with the story

& the plane hits the ground with a jolt that travels through each of us. The

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