Once upon a time- four chapters
Once upon a time
A lone man is waiting for a friend. It is a hot Summer day in late June 2018. He is sitting by the lake at Stoney Creek. He watched the mama and the children play and swim in the lake from a distance. He remember the prettiest girl he had ever knew. It was June 1973 and she was the girl with the flowers in her hair. He loved her Irish accent and her hazel eyes. She was a poet and wanderer. He wrote a poem into an almost filled journal.
Dear Abigail, Dear Abigail.
I lost you three times in my life of confusion,
we danced on fire and iron wishes.
We didn’t know,
life changes at her will.
Life is written in steel and ashes,
not hope and sweetness.
I do remember us.
I loved your cinnamon kisses and the long talks we had.
You were the first girl who notice me,
read my words with kind eyes.
Made me feel important.
Abigail, my keepsake wish,
I never could forget you.
The Fall of life is coming and
I remember you.
You and I,
We were ambrosia wine and Port Austin trips.
Once we made great promises and today.
Maybe a final goodbye or the kindest hello? Maybe we learned.
We were running too fast,
we had love near and forgot to hold on.
He remember her last words to him in 1973 when he was leaving for the Army training. “Johnnie, Johnnie. You want the damn Vietnam war. Please Johnnie, stay with me. The war will kill the poet, the kind man I know. You won’t return the same. You are following the Hemingway wish you hold closely. Hemingway killed himself. What did he learn? He knew love, he knew blood, he knew drink, he traveled and he died alone. Please dear Johnnie. Don’t begin a journey where you will learn realistic life. War does not teach us anything. Please stay with me. Escape to Port Austin, me and you, we could swim in Lake Huron and we could try to save our world. He remembered her tears and he didn’t know. She was right.
In 1975. In April, he remembered the final days in Vietnam. Once alive city was dying. He befriended many in the city of Saigon. He still see their faces at the gates as the USA Army escaped. Trying to escape before the city was overtook. He remembered, he wasn’t afraid. He stayed for an extra tour. He liked the stress of war. He was a supply sergeant, who could wheel and deal everything from guns to food. He forgot home and his family. He received letters from mother and Grandmother. Dear Abigail quit writing after no response for 18 months. He remembered he laughed at his ugly face. Vietnam made his tender soul become dark. Today he wondered. Was his soul, always black? He was sad to leave Vietnam. The drink was strong, the nights lasted forever and soldiers lived and die daily. Each new day. One more day to live. He wrote little now, once poet became the seeker, not the writer.
He kept every letter from his father, mother and grandmother. The letters from Abigail, he read today still. Her words were honey and sweet. She wrote a poem for him in her last letter.
Live, please live and don’t forget me
You found your damn war,
did war teach you to forget me?
I pray for you everyday.
I pray you are safe and sound.
I see the TV,
soldiers dying and so many people being killed.
Please be safe and please remember.
I love the poet who danced with me at Port Austin.
Please don’t die and come back to me,
please be careful and remember.
I love you so.
Abigail (Sending a thousand kisses)
He was awoken by the sound of the children near. He saw the mothers taking care of their babies. He looked at his watch. At noon, dear Abigail would come to Stoney Creek. Been 24 years since their last meeting. In two hours. Two different people will have a stand-off. He knew. He was the cold hearten one. Abigail try to save him twice. She had a hard life and she had a good life. He knew life was fair. You decide your place and your journey.
Once upon a time
The day was getting warmer. The beach was getting filled with children and mothers. I went to the food area. Ordered a coffee. I went to the small hill, away from the people. I wrote into my journal.
I was twenty years old,
I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror,
young face with the dead eyes looked back and I tried to find you Abigail in the Fall of 1975.
I went to her house,
her kind father was kind to me,
he made me stay and he told me.
Johnnie, my home is your home.
Abigail at Eastern Michigan,
she would need to see you.
Johnnie, are you okay?
If you need someone to talk to.
I saw shit in the Korea war and I can listen.
Please stay with me awhile.
I remember I stayed for one day and we talked on the phone.
You told me. Please come to me now.
I hung the phone-up and I told your father.
I fear I am gone.
Dear Abigail. I am sorry.
I left and I went back to the Army.
I know, I should have ran to you.
I left for Germany and I drank my blues away and
I could not forget your beautiful face.
It was almost noon and I knew how she looked now. Abigail found me on a world poetry site. She saw her photo with me 1982 with one of my published poems. She was still a beauty. She wrote me. Johnnie, looking good and I have missed you. You fell off the map and disappeared. I am glad you are alive and well. Please contact me. We must talk, you must tell me your story and I can tell you my story. I wrote her. Dear Abigail, you are still as beautiful a Summer morning sun arising. I want to see you too. I am alone and I feel I shall die alone. She wrote back. Please call me Johnnie. Please call me now. We talked on the WiFi phone for hours. She me laugh and I knew. My dear soul mate was alone too and the kinds gods of life have give me another chance. Her voice, sweet as an angel breathe. I told her. Dear Abigail, I haven’t laughed in years.
Now I waited for her. I am scared to death. Will she care for an old man? Are we reaching for the sun and the stars that cannot be touched. I wrote in the journal.
You made me laugh, you made me cry.
You were my first wish and you are now, my last wish.
Abigail dear Abigail.
I have loved you since you asked me to the Spring dance in 1972.
You were the prettiest girl I ever seen.
I remember we danced till we could not no-more.
You were my first love.
I didn’t know.
Love was so rare and so sweet.
I closed the journal. I saw her from a distance. She was still slim and tanned, wearing a Summer dress over a bathing suit. Her hair down to her waistline and her face. So beautiful and perfect. I wanted to run away. She caught my eyes and she begin to run to me. I stood-up and I waited till she fell into my embrace. She whispered to me. “Damn Johnnie, damn Johnnie. Where you been? Why did you leave me? Please don’t leave again. I brought her closer and I whispered. Dear Abigail, my Abigail. Everyday of my life. I prayed, you did okay. She kissed my face and she whispered. “You won’t die alone. This time I will kidnap you and never release you.”
Johnnie went to Abigail house in late September. He had spent three months at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He lost his unit in Vietnam after he re-enlisted for the second tour. He was connected to a reserve unit from Texas. He was sent to Fort Dix. It was a good thing. He spent three months in New York city with a kind woman. She helped him heal, he saw the pain caused by war. Made him think of what he had does to his family. The Texas unit was kind to him. Promoted him before he departed them.
He went to his grandparent house after arriving in Detroit. His grandfather was so happy he returned home, safe and sound. The complete family went to the Italian restaurant. His Grandfather and grandmother. Had faces of joy. He remembered his dear grandmother words she spoke that day. “We lost many to the old war honey. I am so glad you are alive. Please baby, forget the war and return to us.”
Abigail’s father asked him to come in and he made them some eggs and bacon. While the toasts was cooking in the toaster. He told him. I went to the Korea war at eighteen like you did for the Vietnam war. I was a 11-bang, bang. I killed and I killed. I do remember in bad dreams. Shooting my M-60 for 8 hours. I burned out three barrels. Thousand China soldiers laid dead and rotten in front of me. I had no chose. I was drafted. He looked at him and he went to him. Touched his shoulder. He told him. Abigail’s mother saved me. She held me for five days in 1954. She wouldn’t release me. I know today, I was saved by love. We ate the bacon and eggs with a deep silence.
Abigail’s father was very kind. They played chess for hours. He was always kind to him. His family was very poor and he ensure he had enough to live. He asked him. Remember when you met Abigail. First day of school and she was so scared. I remember you. Alone and fearless. You walked-up to Abigail who was crying and you told her. It is okay. I will be your friend. You took her hand and she quit crying. I still remember how I was thankful for the brave boy. All of us need a place to feel safe and a friend. You know, my home is your home. I am very proud of you. Are you going to call Abigail at Eastern?
He called Abigail. They talked for hours. He hung the phone-up and returned to the chess game. The father asked. Do you want me to drive you to Eastern Michigan? He looked at the father. Thank you Robert for your kindness and your friendship. I cannot add to Abigail burden. I must save myself. I am leaving for Germany in one week. All I would do is make her sad and she would worry for me. I will write her a letter. Robert looked sad and he told him. This is your decision, a bad decision. You will break Abigail’s heart.
My love, my angel. I never forgot you. I will return in three-year. You will be a nurse and I do not want to interrupt your education. I am heavy with burden. You were right. War is shit, war teaches us nothing but pain, misery and blood. I will write you from Germany and maybe one day. You and I. Can drink coffee, walk the circle at Lake St. Clair. You are my only sweet dream I have known. I need time to heal and forget what I had done. Please forgive me for running from you. You do not need the weight of a confused man near. I love you dear Abigail, I love you, always and forever.
He gave the letter to him and he requested Abigail address at Eastern. They said little for three hours while playing many games of chess. Six beers later and some whiskey. Robert told him. I respect your decision. You are being the brave boy again. You don’t want to make Abigail suffer. You want her to succeed and I understand your decision. Remember if you need anything. Please ask for it.
He didn’t know he would never see Abigail’s father again. He would died two years later. A heart attack. He regretted he didn’t stay longer with the kind man.
Once upon a time, leftover wine
Johnnie and Abigail held hands and they sat in a needed silence at a picnic table away from the lake and the people. Had been 30 years since they had found each other in 1988. Abigail had long blond hair flowing down to her deep back, she was slim and in perfect shape. She had gained some weight, made her more beautiful. I told her. Thank you dear Abigail for coming to me. Had been so long since I saw your beautiful face, I have never forgotten you. I wrote a million words for you. Soft tears fell from her face and she whispered. Johnnie, where did you go? We made promises in 1988 and you disappeared again. I lost my father and I lost you. My father loved you. He told me often before his heart attack. Johnnie will return one day honey and he will be okay. Are you okay?
He kissed her hands and he told her. Remember in 1977. I came home to attend your father’s funeral. I stayed with you at Eastern for two weeks. I was mess-up and you caressed my face and you sang to me every night. You saw my war-face and we made promises I would break. I had demons and great anger. Dear Abigail, you didn’t deserve a man walking the line of life and death. Remember the night in the club at Eastern. When the man attempted to touch you. I almost killed him. My hands were on his throat and my foot was in his chest. I saw your face. I saw the fear and I knew. You were a savior, going to be a nurse and I had the bloody Army. I had my bloody hate, my dad hate. She stood-up and she came to me and she whispered. Johnnie, I remember those days with different eyes. We slept in the same bed and you never tried to take me. I told you. The standing horse statue would runaway at Eastern Michigan if a virgin graduated still innocence. I was willing and you told me. Love is patience, we have time for all things. Tonight just hold me and please sing to me dear lover. These are my memories I hold and I was scared at the club. You would have killed the man. This man been bothering me for one year and after meeting you. Never spoke a word to me after. I know the fear in my eyes saved the man’s life. I was young and foolish. I thought life was easy and simple. You knew already the dirt and the blood of life. I am sorry.
I kissed her a hundred time and we sat like old lovers, holding hand in a peaceful silence. We watched the kids and the mama enjoying the days of Summer. I have your last letter still from 1977. She handed the letter to him. Was just a poem.
“My beloved, my sweetness, my Abigail
I have loved you for 17 year,
you were my first school love and my only love I ever wanted.
I remember you pretty smile and the voice of an angel.
I took your hand at five years old and I never wanted to release your hand.
You taught me to dance,
you taught me to love Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair.
We were two kids with the Gypsy’s heart.
We knew love,
never stole from each other.
You were my beautiful dream and you were right.
You told me,
don’t follow your father’s road to war and hell.
Even you couldn’t stop my tomfoolery.
I learn at Eastern.
You were sweeter than Michigan Fall honey and
I was left-over wins,
bitter and sour with hate.
I am sorry dear Abigail, I must go.
I believe I am a heavy weight for you to carry.
This isn’t a goodbye,
just a “Until we can meet again. ”
Please don’t be sad and please do the great things you can do.
I remember when you sang to me at Eastern,
caressed my face and you sang the sweet song to me,
I love you Abigail.
Please don’t be sad,
I will think of my Irish girl daily,
forever and a day.
A million kisses and I love you
Tears fell from my eyes and I looked in her eyes. Her blue eyes heavy with sadness and she whispered. You made me cry for two days and I learn later. I should have went to you. Take two to tango, and one to forget. I wish I was braver, today is a new day. We are wiser, I hope. This time my dear Johnnie. I won’t allow you to break my heart again. We are going to find Port Austin and dance with lake Huron.