‘The man who couldn’t cry’

The Man Who Couldn’t Cry


The old soldier told me. You can win some and you can lose some, you will feel like a free God and you will know the walls of prisons. Many kind of prisons. Life is a constant teacher. Life will teach you. Dead things cannot be brought to life and every action done and words spoken. You own them.


My father drank one bottle of rum for 40 years. He would sit alone and fall into the irony of the silence where old men fight old battles he cannot win. He told me often. Slow and easy Johnnie. Life comes fast and hard. You can knock her down or try to understand her. I fought all my life against racism and I tried to control my anger. War and blood make the berserker lose control and they find dead-end and prison. I knew peace only in Korean and the Vietnam war. War is where deadly men taste blood and cannot return. I hold no anger toward the world. I decided my journey.


My friend the Sergeant Major was ready to die. The whisky had finally done her job. I have known him for two years and I watched him die slowly and painfully. He stopped taking the painkillers months ago. He told me often. Whiskey deaden the pain better and I feel alright. I have been drunk for 40 years and soon. I will find out if there is a heaven or a hell? He was a Texas born, drinking and hell raising man. He told me month ago. Please be a good soldier and do your duty. I asked what he needed? He smiled and he told me. I want no pity and I need you to bring my whiskey and beer to my home. Johnnie, I can’t walk no-more. The retire military nurse came daily and clean-up the Sergeant Major. She understood the needs of the old soldier. Me and many old soldiers sat daily with him. His last words to me. Simple and hard truth. You pay for every sin. You will know love, you will know hate. I never showed emotion my friend. Never cry for living or the dead. I guess you and my old friend will cry my tears for me. Johnnie, leave the service. If you stay-in. You will become me and I’m dying and I understand too late. Every person I killed, every battle I fought. I repeat in my damn nightmares. Whisky, wars and bad decisions. They will leave you cold and dead before you are bury deep in the soil.


Today I’m the old man. I left the military and I followed the directions of the great men I have known. I told my children and anyone who will listen. You pay for every sin and every deeds done. Walk slowly and lead with concern and kindness. You decide your life. Bad or good?


John Castellenas/Coyote