I Told You I'd Find YoubyMoogPlayer©
When the day came that I was to finally go home, I was filled with mixed emotions. I'd already talked to Dad, Aunt Caroline, and little Nick on the phone; and they were breathless with anticipation. However, when I asked Dad about Alyssa, the sadness in his voice when he told me, "Just worry about getting home for now, son," let me know that she had moved on with her life. I wasn't hurt or angry, hell, I'd told her to do just that if anything were to ever happen to me. Still though, a sadness and longing for the days that seemed like an eternity ago haunted me for a long while until....
When the C-130 touched down at what was then Ellington Air Force Base, I was glad to be finally home. Dad and Aunt Caroline, as well as my little brother Nick, were there to greet me. Nick was eight years old now and jumping at the bit to get to me first.
"Hey, big brother," he grinned, "It's good to see you."
"Hey, little brother," I smiled, lifting him into my arms and hugging him tightly, "It's good to see you, too."
Although I could tell that the combination of having to deal with me being MIA, as well as mourning Mom's death while raising another son had taken it's toll on him, Dad was still the same jovial person that h ad been there to comfort me when I was a boy.
"How are you, son?" he quietly wept, while hugging me, "I can't tell you how good it is to see you."
"Hi, Dad," I cried, "I'm sorry I worried you like this."
"Don't think about it again," he smiled, his face covered in tears and on the verge of breaking down again, "You're home now, and that's all that matters."
I stayed home for the first three days I was there and let everyone spoil me, knowing that I'd have hell to pay if I didn't.
Still though, the dreams came back with a vengeance once I was home. Memories of the battle of Hue City, as well as my time in the POW camp haunted me like the wails of the Banshee. But in the midst of it all, I could see Alyssa, and hear her calling me. "Michael," she smiled, "I'm coming to find you...wait for me...wait for..." and I woke up covered in sweat and tears.
On my fourth morning back home, I waited until Nick was safely off to school before I finally cornered Aunt Caroline and said, "I want to know about Alyssa, and I want to know now."
"Okay. Michael honey," she smiled, looking at her watch, "Let's sit down and talk."
I listened as Aunt Caroline filled me in on all that Alyssa had done since I last saw her. She'd gone ahead and obtained her Master's Degree in Nursing and was working as a Surgical Nurse in one of the local hospitals in Houston...my hometown wasn't very far from there anyway.
I listened to everything Aunt Caroline said, and when she was done; I still felt like she was leaving something out. But I dismissed it and headed over to her mother and father's home.
"Oh, my God, you're alive," cried Angela Matthews, as she hugged me tightly, "We all though you were dead, baby boy. Oh my God."
"Where is she?" I asked, "Where is Lyssa?"
"Relax, Michael honey, she's okay," Angels smiled, as she led me into the house, "She's gonna go nuts when she sees you, that's for damn sure."
"How is she?" I impatiently asked, "Is she married now or what?"
"No, Michael, she never married," Angela knowingly smiled, "But she'll be home in about thirty minutes, and I think that the two of you need to have a nice long talk."
Angela and I had been talking for quite some time when I heard the front door open, as Alyssa came down the hall saying, Mom, who parked their car in my..." and the moment she saw me she froze.
Hi, baby," I smiled, tears raining down my face, "I've really missed you."
"MICHAEL, OH MY GOD, MICHAEL," she screamed, leaping into my arms in tears, "You're alive, oh, my God, you're alive."
"Yeah," I sniffled, "I'm alive, and I'm home to stay."
It took a good thirty minutes for her to regain her composure, but once she was alright, Alyssa began, "The Navy told your Dad that you had been killed in an ambush. And when he told us, I thought I was going to die...oh, but you're alive and you're home...and I love you so much," she began to cry again, "So very much."
Alyssa called into work later that day to use five days of her vacation so that she wouldn't have to go to work straight away after seeing me, basically, come back from the dead. She looked great, too, her once waist length blonde hair was now short and on her shoulders, her hips seemed like they had flared a little more than I remember, and she was older now...somehow wiser, too. But the brilliance of her bright blue eyes were still the same, and they still had that same hypnotic affect on me like they always had.
"There's something you need to know, Michael," she told me, "And I'm not sure how you're going to react to it, either."
"So," I smiled, "Tell me."
"I have a baby, Michael," she smiled, "A beautiful six year old daughter and her name is Michaela Leigh Roberts, just like her daddy."
"But...I mean," I stuttered, "How, when?"
"Do you remember the last weekend we spent when I was still in college?" she asked, I nodded, "Well, if you remember, I didn't take any birth control pills the whole weekend long."
"Holy shit," I cried, pulling her into my arms, "I didn't know, Lyssa, I swear I didn't know."
"Shh," she soothed, "It's okay, but she'll be home in about thirty minutes. Would you like to meet her?"
"Like you really have to ask me that question," I smiled, "Hell, yes, I want to meet my daughter."
"Good," Alyssa sniffled, hugging me; "She's at the age where she needs her Daddy, Michael."
"What about you?" I asked, "What do you need?"
"You and Michaela," she cried, "And nothing else."
We waited in the living room for the bus to drop her off. I watched as she walked up the driveway to the front door. God she was beautiful, just like her mother. However, she had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes just like me, and there was no mistaking that she was my daughter.
"Hi, Mommy," she giggled, as soon as she walked in and saw Alyssa. Then she turned to me and said, "I know who you are."
"Oh, really," I smiled, "And who am I?"
"You're my daddy," she giggled, "Aren't you?"
"Michaela honey, how could you possibly know that?" Alyssa gasped, the both of us in shock.
"I'll be right back," she smiled, and then disappeared down the hall.
When Michaela returned, she held a picture of me that was taken right after I'd graduated boot camp. She held it out, and looking at Lyssa, said, "I heard you crying one night and you were holding this picture. I asked Granny who this was and she told me it was my Daddy. She also told me that it was a secret and that I wasn't supposed to know."
"You little stinker," Alyssa laughed, hugging her, "Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you."
"So when are you going to hug me, Daddy," she plainly asked me.
"Right now, baby girl," I laughed scooping her into my arms as she squealed like only little girls can do, "And I love you very much, baby girl."
"I love you, too, Daddy," she softly cooed, hugging me tightly, "I love you, too."
Alyssa and I were married six months later and Michaela was our flower girl. Lyssa was as ravishing a bride as a man could ask for, and I felt blessed to have made it home in fairly good shape. Lyssa and I went to the dedication of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in nineteen eighty-two. And when I stood there with my hands on that wall and cried, my wife and my daughter were there to comfort me and keep a safe watch over my soul.