tagRomanceI Can't Believe It's You

I Can't Believe It's You

byMoogPlayer©

Thank you for all the praise and compliments I've received from so many nice people. I have received some rather ugly comments, as I'm sure everyone who submits their stories here has. However, I've received more good comments than bad, and that is why I'm going to continue sharing with all of you kind people, the fruits of my feeble mind...lol... Thank you and I pray that God richly blesses you all.

MoogPlayer


~~~~~~

VIETNAM

LATE SPRING

1972

"Doc, Doc! Help me," rang out through the smoke and gun-fire, making me realize that one of my friends had been hit. We'd been on patrol for a little over twenty days, and we'd not seen any kind of enemy activity the whole time we had been out. Then, as we headed home and were within a few miles from the fire base we'd been assigned to, the Viet Cong hit us in full force. One minute everything was calm and clear, and then all of a sudden; it felt like the whole world was on fire and caving in around us. I was a U.S. Navy Corpsman, assigned to the Marine Corps, stationed in Da Nang. This was to be 2nd Platoon's last patrol because so many of us were short. (Short, the term meaning that the standard tour of one year in Vietnam for American military personnel was nearing its end.)

"You can't get to them, Doc," said LT, amid the screams of my friends, "I've been given orders to pull back, now."

"I gotta try, LT," I replied angrily, "We can't just leave them there."

LT grabbed me by the collar and yelled, "THAT JUNGLE IS CRAWLING WITH V.C., GOD DAMMIT, AND I'M NOT GOING TO LET ANY MORE OF MY MEN DIE. DO YOU UNDSTAND ME, PETTY OFFICER? "

"You can court martial me if I make it back, sir," I replied, making a mad dash into the jungle toward the direction that my friends' screams were coming from. All at once, three things happened. An explosion knocked me off of my feet and I felt like something had ripped into my right leg. Then the morning light suddenly grew very bright and then turned very dark. That was all I remembered until I woke up in a U.S Naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan with my right leg missing just below the knee.

~~~~~~

Chapter One

Hi, my name is Mike Winslow; I stand 6'3" and weigh 225 lbs. I'm twenty one years old, I have dark brown hair and eyes, and after many, many hours of rehabilitative therapy, I am now the not-so-proud owner of a prosthetic right leg. I'm a disabled veteran, but I'm not bitter about, at least not anymore. I was in the hospital in Japan for a long time, and the only decent part of going through re-hab was a beautiful blonde physical therapist there named, Petty Officer Heidi Blake. She was one of the prettiest, if not the prettiest girl I've ever seen, and even though I was a total bastard who bitched and whined about it at first, she taught me how to walk again. After a while, I began to look forward to going and seeing her, coming almost completely unglued every time I looked into her green eyes. From then on I always tried my best, and I could tell that she was pleased with my progress, as she always gave me a very tight hug after our sessions, whispering in my ear how proud of me she was, and then always ending with a kiss on the cheek. I knew that we were both feeling something because I could see it in her eyes right after she would hug me and then kiss my cheek. And although I could distinguish the longing therein, it was still shadowed by what I now know was sadness. God, she was so beautiful, and it bothered me for a long while after I left Japan, knowing that I would never see her again. Still though, she still left such an impression on me that she haunted my dreams for many weeks afterward. Some things just aren't meant to be, and sometimes it really sucks. Oh well, that's enough about her. After I was released from the hospital in Japan and the government discharged me from the Navy, I went home to see my family.

My mother was killed in a freak skiing accident when I was fourteen so, now it was just my father, my sister and I. My sister, Katie, was so sweet to me and seemingly wanted to make fuss over me the minute I arrived home. She is, and always has been, such a sweet girl, and it made her feel good about wanting to take care of me at first. However, after the end of my third week home, Dad came to my bedroom one afternoon where I was relaxing on my bed with my prosthetic leg sitting in the corner of the room. He took a seat in the chair at my desk, and with a hopeful voice, asked, "So, have you thought about what you want to do now that you're out of the Navy, son?"

"I really haven't given it much thought, Dad," I replied, massaging the soreness from the stump of what was left of my leg.

"Ya know, they're looking for teachers at your old high school," Dad said, "And the pay is pretty good, from what I hear."

"And just how the hell do you expect me to teach, Dad?" I hatefully replied, "I dropped out of college to join the fucking Navy because I thought I could make a difference in that God damn country. But no, all that happened was that I got to see my friends being blown to hell and back, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do to stop it either. Now, I'm a useless cripple because of it so, excuse me if I don't give a shit about doing anything right now." I could tell, by the look in his eyes, that what I had said had hurt my father.

But to his credit, he simply smiled, and while standing up, he leaned over and patted me on the shoulder and said, "Go ahead and get some rest, son. We'll talk about it some more later," and then he turned and left my room, closing the door behind him.

~~~~~~

Two weeks later, I still hadn't left my room other than to eat, use the head and/or send my sister to the liquor store to get more Jim Beam. Although she strongly disapproved, she did it anyway, God love her. As opposed to actually being able to sleep, well, because of the nightmares, my actual sleep time was down to about two hours a night, if I was lucky.

And after about another month of this kind of behavior on my part, Dad had all but given up on trying to talk to me about my future. I raised hell with him every time he tried; telling him there was no future for a cripple like me. However, my sister Katie proved that she had an even stronger will than I ever did.

She came into my room early one morning, jerking the sheets off of my body and saying, "Get your lazy ass out of bed, Michael."

Suddenly jerking the sheets out of her hand and covering up again, I glared at her and hissed, "Unless you're going to the liquor store for me, get the hell out of here and leave me alone, God dammit."

She simply smiled that sweet smile of hers and said, "Alright, Michael, have your own way then," and then she left my room, closing the door behind her.

"Damn right I will," I growled, rolling over to try and go back to sleep.

My eyes were just beginning to close and I was about to doze off when, suddenly; my bedroom door flew open and bounced off the wall. Then before I could say or do anything, I felt a blast of something wet and ice cold, drenching me from head to foot. And once she set into me, I knew there would be no stopping her till she was finished what she was saying as I heard my sister's voice yell, "GET YOUR STINKY FUCKING ASS OUT OF THAT BED AND GET IN THE GOD DAMN SHOWER, MICHAEL, NOW."

"FUCK OFF," I yelled back.

"FUCK OFF YOURSELF, MICHAEL, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE" she screamed, tears raining down her face, "I'M SICK AND TIRED OF LISTENING TO YOU BITCH, WHINE AND COMPLAIN. AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ABOUT GOING TO LIQUOR STORE FOR YOU ANYMORE. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER WITH. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, MOTHER FUCKER?"

I'd never before heard Katie talk like she just had, and to be honest; it shocked me to no end, hearing such language coming out of my sweet twenty year old baby sister's mouth. She was now sitting on the bed next to me with her face in her hands, bitterly weeping. The sight of her like that broke my heart, and soon I was holding her in my arms, crying right along with her.

We held one another, crying together for a long time; me because my heart was breaking wide open, and Katie, because her heart was breaking for me. I hadn't cried like that since my mother died, and to be honest; once we were done, I felt better than I had since I'd been home. Wiping the long dark locks of hair off of her face, I looked into the sweetest eyes I've ever seen, and said, "I love you Katie-Bug, and I'm so sorry, baby girl."

After hearing me call her Katie-Bug, my special nickname that I had given to her when we were little children, she softened and threw her arms around my neck and kissed me on the cheek. "I love you, too, Mikey," she smiled, and then held her nose and smirked, "I'd love you a lot more if you took a shower, though."

~~~~~~

"What am I supposed to do in college, Katie?" I asked my sister, once I was showered and dressed.

"Were you, or were you not wanting to teach before you got caught up in all that bull shit and then dropped out of school to go to that slaughterhouse in Vietnam, Mikey?"

"Yeah, well, that's different and I don't want to talk about it," I angrily spat.

"Look Mikey, I can't even begin to imagine what you went through over there, and I don't want to, either," Katie soothed, "But you're my big brother that I've always loved and looked up to, and I'm just trying to help you put your life back together, that's all."

"I know you are, sweet girl," I said, putting my arms around her, "I guess I'd better quit feeling sorry for myself and count my blessings, or you'll tear me a new one, huh?"

With her arms still around me, Katie giggled, and then after smacking me on the butt, said, "You bet your ass I will."

The following week days were spent with Katie, God love her, helping me while I went back and forth to the V.A. Hospital, (What a Shit House it was back then) to get the paperwork for by disability benefits filled out and filed. At night, I was still a prisoner to my nightmares, though. But, because of the fact that I had stopped drinking and returned from the self-destructive path that I was on when I first came home, Dad and Katie were always right there, trying to console me in any way they could.

~~~~~~

A year had gone by, and after waking up from a particular nightmare one night, I realized that both Dad and Katie had basically put there lives on hold to take care of me. "Jeez, that's not fair to them at all. I'm such an asshole," I said, to no one in particular after they'd left my room that night. I promised myself that I was going to something about it, starting the next day.

~~~~~~

The next morning, I was in the kitchen, standing at the stove making breakfast when Dad, who was usually the first one awake, came strolling in. "Mornin Dad," I smiled, "The coffee is ready, hot, and waiting. Sit down and have a cup while I finish making breakfast for us."

Being pleasantly surprised at what he was witnessing, Dad came over to where I stood. And then raising his nose over what I was cooking as if he were sniffing it, he smiled and said, "I don't know, son. Is it edible?" and then he began to laugh the same hearty laugh I always heard as a child whenever I'd done something that had pleased him.

"Yeah," I laughed, "And if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it, old man."

"Old man, huh," laughed Dad, "I'm still young enough to whip your ass, boy."

"Oh, I don't think so," I chuckled, "Not this time."

About that time, Katie came into the kitchen to find Dad and me laughing like fools. And walking up to where we stood at the stove, she smiled and asked, "What is so funny, you two?"

Suddenly, I released the binding on my prosthetic leg, and before she could react, I handed it to Katie and said, "Here, kick Dad's ass while I finish making us something to eat."

Needless to say, Katie was horrified, and dropping my leg onto the floor like it was a hot coal, she glared at me and Dad, the both of us in hysterics by this time, and screeched, "Michael! That's not funny!" However, she saw that we were laughing like fools and it soon began to rub off on her, making her join right in, laughing along with us.

After he'd regained his breath, Dad smiled and said, "That was damn funny, Mikey!"

"It was rather brilliant of me, wasn't it?" "I arrogantly laughed, while I reattached my leg.

"You two are awful," giggled Katie, causing the three of us to start laughing again.

~~~~~~

Later that morning, Dad took me to the Registrar's office at the university that was not only near my home town, but was the same one I'd dropped out of to volunteer for duty in Vietnam. I don't really feel that what I did over there was for nothing, because when it boiled right down to it, I was there for the guys I served with, and they were there for me, or at least that's how we felt. "Mister Winslow, your grades will all transfer, but you might have to repeat couple of classes," said the lady at the Registrar's desk.

I studied very hard that first year, while Katie graduated a whole two years early, with honors, too. I was very proud of her, because if anyone deserved it, she most certainly did. Also around that time, she started dating a guy named Phillip Ross, and they were married two years later. He's a nice guy that loves Katie and is good to her, which is all I ever wanted for her.

Chapter Two

10 YEARS LATER

I had gone on to get my PhD in history, because once I really thought about it, I discovered that I wanted to teach at the collegiate level. The year was now 1983 and the war in Vietnam had ended with the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy on the 30th of April in 1975. I sadly watched footage of it on the television, wondering what just what in the hell we were doing there to start with if, in the end, our government was going to just surrender to the North. I'd lost my leg over there and that was an absolute, but it made me wonder about the men and women, some of them my friends, who'd made the ultimate sacrifice, and would this country ever grant them the honor they so deserved. Yeah, I know that The Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated in 1982, but it just doesn't do them enough justice as far as I'm concerned. Nothing will. However, through the years of my studies, most of them being in-depth where the war in Vietnam was concerned, I began to realize that it was all about money. Hell, everyone knows that the C.I.A. has started and financed almost every war this country has ever seen, the war in Iraq being no exception. War! What a fucking waste of young lives. I'm not against the troops mind you, I'm against the war. Shit, I'm against anything that kills young and/or innocent lives, but back to the story.

After I received my Doctorate of History, I moved from my home town down to the Gulf coast near Houston. Right before I graduated, I had received a letter from the head of the history department at the University of Houston, and he wanted to interview me as soon as possible. His name was Dr. Jack Thomas, and the moment we first met, I could tell that we were going to be very good friends. Needless to say, he hired me on the spot and thus began my career as a college professor.

~~~~~~

That following fall, I became a member of the faculty at the University of Houston. And because of that, as well as my disability, I was given a reduction on price for the house near the campus that I ended up buying. It was a nice place that had three bedrooms, a den, and a dining room that connected to a very nicely sized kitchen. That was good, too, because, thanks to my sweet little sister, Katie, I'd taken up cooking as a hobby and had become quite good at it, even if I do say so myself.

I found out early on that semester that I could always find a college student that was willing to do my yard work to earn extra money. Once I'd gone through a couple of them though, I settled on this one little gal, Trisha Hawkins was her name, that was a botany major, and she was damn good at it. She told me that if I allowed her to build a small green house in my back yard, for all of her experiments, then she wouldn't charge me a thing to keep my yard for me. Those arrangements worked out well, and she was such a sweet kid that kind of reminded me of Katie, when we were both teenagers.

I was still having a bit of difficulty adjusting to being called Doctor Winslow so; I insisted that my students call me just plain old Mike. At first the rest of the faculty frowned on me allowing my students such a familiarity, but when the first grading period was over with; every single one of my students, bar none, scored no less than a B plus. From then on, my boss, Dr. Thomas, allowed me the privilege of using pretty much any teaching method I chose to use. He's a great guy and I really like him.

~~~~~~

That next semester, I'd been so busy with my work that I hadn't really thought about my love life, or should I say the lack thereof, until a week before spring break when my sister called. "Hi, Mikey, how are you big brother?" she asked when I answered the phone.

"I'm doing good baby girl," I smiled, pleased that she had called, "How are you, and to what do I owe the privilege of this call?"

"You're so silly, Mikey," she giggled, "Phillip and I wanted to come and see you during spring break, if that's alright with you."

"Of course it is," I replied, overjoyed at the thought of seeing them, "So, when are you coming?"

~~~~~~

Katie and Phillip arrived at Houston International Airport, which was fairly new then, right on time. And it only took a few moments before Katie came screaming down the terminal to almost jump into my arms, assaulting me with a barrage of hugs and kisses, "I sure missed you, Mikey," she cried, tears of joy raining down her face.

"I missed you, too, Katie-Bug," I replied, holding her tightly to me.

Phillip arrived right shortly behind her, and as soon as I saw him, I smiled, then pulled him into a hug and said, "Hey Phil, how are you, man?"

"Hey Mike," he replied, returning the hug, "It's good to see you, buddy."

Phillip was a medical student when he and Katie met, and now he's graduated and had just finished his residency, back home. They were taking a vacation and wanted to come see me, and needless to say, I was thrilled.

~~~~~~

That night I made Chicken Marsala, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. "So, when are you going to settle down and find yourself a good woman, Mikey?" Katie asked, after we'd eaten. I had to hand it to her, Katie always had been one who never really gave a damn about proper decorum when it came to speaking her mind, God lover her.

"Why do you all of a sudden care about my love life, little sister?" I laughed, Phil joining right behind me.

"I don't want to see you alone is all, Mikey," she pouted, "You can't blame me for that can you?"

Hell, I never could say no when it came to Katie, and she damn well knew it, too. So, I simply laughed and said, "Well, we'll see." To her credit, she said nothing else about it that night.

~~~~~~

The next morning over breakfast, Katie hit me with some unexpected, but pleasant news. "Mikey, Phillip is going to be attending the U of H for his specialty," she told me over coffee.

"Which is?" I curiously asked.

"Neurosurgery, Mike, I want to be a neurosurgeon," Phil proudly replied.

I got up and walked over to my liquor cabinet and retrieved an unopened bottle of some nice brandy I'd found. Then I walked back to the table, and handing the bottle to Phil, I smiled and said, "Well, it looks like a small celebration is in order then. Congratulations, Doctor!"

Taking the bottle from me, Phillip laughed and replied, "Why, thank you, Doctor!"

"Aw Man," I whined, much to giggles of Katie, who was hugging us both.

~~~~~~

That's how things came to pass. Phillip went to school while Katie worked as a book keeper for quite a few of the many five star restaurants in the city of Houston. They only lived about five blocks from me, and that allowed them to come over once a week, Saturday, for dinner.

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