I flip up my laptop and open a browser. With practiced hands I click through all the highlighted bookmarks and saved web searches until I get to my favorite videos. A whole host of them, hundreds in every language, shape and size; some of them uploaded yesterday and some that are decades old. I ask the website to list them by date, and I open up the most recent one.
It was uploaded two days ago. A large man wearing light brown khakis is pacing nervously in the empty cold belly of a plane. He talks into the camera, but you can’t hear what he’s saying; the engines are too loud. There is dirt under his fingernails and sweat stains on his jacket. The video cuts out.
Next we see him standing in front of a closed door. He’s tapping his feet nervously and keeps running his hands through his short black hair, but he’s smiling crookedly anyways. He’s waiting to open the door, but he doesn’t know why. It’s quiet, oh so quiet in this neighborhood. His big black boots make the porch creak and groan.
He opens the door quietly, oh so quietly, and the camera follows him into the house. It’s a simple, small house. There are coats thrown over a chair and a small pair of shoes, laces untied, on the floor. On the wall, there’s a picture of a family smiling brightly. He is in the photograph.
He walks down the hall. There’s a woman in the kitchen clipping coupons and organizing them into neat piles on the table. He sneaks up behind her and taps her on the shoulder. A question hangs on the air before she turns around and sees him.
With a heart-rending cry of half-disbelief and half-joy, she throws her arms around him and he wraps his long tanned arms around her. For the moment, they are truly, terribly happy; nothing will ever separate them again. Everyone is…
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Story / Tarina
I didn’t want to take this class. I don’t like violent movies, I don’t like studying history. And I certainly don’t like learning about the thousands of Vietnamese people killed. It reminds me too much of my mom.
But I needed five credits and a senior thesis class to graduate, and this is the only one I could take and still keep my job. So I watched Apocalyspse Now on a big projector screen and covered my eyes for half of it, and the same for Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. I read through Dispatches, Things They Carried, and The Sorrows of War until I was sick. Puking into the toilet as I cried my eyes out over Agent Orange, Nguyá»
n VÄn Lém, and grainy photos of soldiers in bandaids and coffins.
I hated the class for making me uncomfortable, for putting dark circles under my eyes, for making me feel bad when I put on my faovrite sweater and the tag said, “Made in Vietnam.” I was so proud when I bought that damn sweater; it was on sale for 20$ and fit me just right. I took it to the thrift store a week later.
In class I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I wanted to talk, to argue, to ask what an entire generation may or may not still be asking, which is “why?”
“Why did we do this to ourselves? To each other?”
I was angry, so very angry. The girl who has never had a full-time job, never been to Europe, is afraid of guns and spiders and seaweed; who didn’t watch violent movies because I didn’t want to know that people could do those things to each other. I wanted those books and those movies to be fiction, all fiction; not based on any true events. I made my anger known, like the girls who stuck flowers in the barrels of riot guns, the people who burned American flags. I was a couple decades too late, not that it would’ve mattered anyways. There are…
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Story / Tarina