Saturday, March 8, 1975
It was another sweltering day in the town of Fort Knox, Kentucky. “Angela, can you go get the mail?” Angela’s mother yelled for her daughter from the downstairs kitchen. Getting off her bed, Angela stretched her limbs and let a yawn escape her soft lips.
“Okay!” Angela yelled back as she traipsed down the wooden stairs. As her feet hit the last step, the clatter of pots hitting the kitchen floor caused her to wince. “You okay mom?” Angela asked as she peered into the kitchen.
Her mom just waved her hand at her daughter. “I’m fine. Just go get the mail.” Angela stifled a laugh and did as her mother told her so. Stepping out of the cool refuge of her house, she was taken aback by the intense Kentucky heat.
“Good Lord.” She gasped as her feet hit the searing pavement. Her feet barely touched the concrete of the walkway that led up to the front door before the soles of her feet felt like they were on fire. “Hot, hot, hot.” She practically screamed as she ran to get to the welcoming green grass of her lawn. She breathed a sigh of relief as her feet began to get over the burning sensation.
Walking down to the end of her driveway, she looked around at the quiet streets of her neighborhood that was usually filled with playing children. It was dead silent. It has always been that way since the start of the Vietnam War.
Angela collected the mail in her arms before walking back up the cool green grass before jogging back into the cool atmosphere of her house. “Mom, here’s your mail.” Angel said setting the papers down on the counter in the kitchen. “Mom?”
“I’m upstairs, Angela!” Her mom responded.
Angela sighed and started sifting through the mail. Just the usual letters from the country club her father belonged to and the book clubs that her mother attended. Angela sighed and went to go back to her room when the sound of paper hitting the floor made her whirl around. “Aw man!” She turned around to see the mail lying scattered on the floor. Walking over to the mess, she began to collect the envelopes back into a stack. One by one, Angela organized the envelopes into a neat stack. As the papers thinned out, she took notice of a dingy brown envelope that looked like it was rubbed in dirt.
She peered over her shoulder to see if her mom was coming down the stairs, when she deemed the coast was clear, she turned the envelope over to see who could’ve sent it. When she turned the frail envelope over, she saw it was an address she didn’t know. Her eyes read the lines of the sender’s address. Her eyes grew wide as her eyes pulled out the word Vietnam. “Oh my God.” Angela breathed.
“Angela, are you okay?” Her mother’s voice asked from behind her. Angela jumped up with a start as she tossed the mail back onto the counter being sure to hold onto the envelope that she had just found.
“Uh yea, I’m fine!” She said sending her mother a smile before brushing past her to get up to her room. Her feet padded up the stairs as she bounded to her room. She flung the door closed behind her and jumped onto her bed. As she ran her fingers under the flap of the paper, she found it to be rather worn and easy to tear. Frankly, she was shocked it hadn’t gotten destroyed on its journey over here.
Her finger ran under the flap of the envelope and she carefully opened it, being really careful not to rip the letter inside. Retrieving the battered, folded piece of paper, she unfolded it and began to read.
To whoever gets this letter:
It’s been months since I’ve gotten sent overseas to Vietnam and it seems like things here aren’t going to get getter anytime soon. I’m eighteen years old and fighting for not only my country, but for my life. For the first time in my life, I’m scared. I’m so used to being the tough jock, but here it doesn’t matter what sports you play. It only matters that you can handle a gun, and shoot at the first target to jump at you. I hardly sleep at night with the distant gunshots and the constant yelling coming from some unknown location. The guys here all believe that this war is just a bunch of bullshit, and I’m beginning to believe them. It’s situations like this, that make you wonder, why me?
Angela felt like she was reading someone’s personal thoughts. Things so private, she deemed it inappropriate to read on, but she felt compelled to.
I’m just eighteen. Hell, I’m just a boy mixed in with a bunch of men expected to fight and kill. There several other boys my age her; and they seem just as scared as I am. What are we boys supposed to know about killing people?
If anyone does get this letter, I’ll call it a miracle if I get a response.
Pray for me,
Angela fell back on her bed. What were the odds of this letter falling into her hands? What gave her the right to read this boy’s private thoughts? Clutching the letter to her chest, it hit her. She was holding a letter, but not just any letter. A letter from Vietnam.
YOU ARE READING
Letters from Vietnam [Watty Awards 2012]Short Story
Angela's day started out like any other day. She slept, she got up, and she got the mail. She didn't even know how much that one small task could change her life forever. When she discovers a peculiar letter mixed in with the mail, Angela can't help...