It has been years now.
He is in Fiji, with another woman, and will not soon be returning.
But believe this: He loved you. He still does. He knows his transgression and feels it like a loosened tooth in his mouth on the morning of your anniversary, and on your autumn birthday, and when the snow does not come to Fiji on Christmas Eve. Believe too, that in those soft Pacific breezes, late at night, he wakes to think of you, hoping you are well, and that the image with which he finally finds reprieve is of someday returning to your door and knocking on it and begging admittance. A matter of faith. And if you can believe this, which is not beyond believing, imagine how your beauty would fill that doorway. Imagine staring that powerful new stare of yours, the one you have been practicing in your dreams. Imagine how you might chuckle, or shake your head, or just quietly say goodbye and close the door. And imagine, finally, how he would then comprehend - feel as you have felt, know as you have known - the meaning of the word Fiji.
Fiji, my princess, is but a state of mind. Embolden yourself. Brave the belief.
They were in high country.
Clean, high, unpolluted country. Quiet country. Complex country, mountains growing out of hills, valleys dropping from mountains and then sharply climbing to higher mountains. It was country far from war, rich and peaceful country with trees and thick grass, no people and no villages and no lowland drudgery. Lush, shaggy country: huge palms and banana trees, wildflowers, waist-high grasses, vines and wet thickets and clean air. Tarzan country, Eddie Lazzutti called it. Grinning, thumping his bare chest, Eddie would howl and yodel.
They climbed with their heads down.
“I would wish this book could take the form of a plea for everlasting peace, a plea from one who knows, from one who’s been there and come back, an old soldier looking back at a dying war.
That would be good. It would be fine to integrate it all to persuade my younger brother and perhaps some others to say no to wrong wars.
Or it would be fine to confirm the old beliefs about war: It’s horrible, but it’s a crucible of men and events and, in the end, it makes more of a man out of you.
But still, none of this seems right.
Now, war ended, all I am left with are simple, unprofound scraps of truth. Men die. Fear hurts and humiliates. It is hard to be brave. It is hard to know what bravery is. Dead human beings are heavy and awkward to carry, things smell different in Vietnam, soldiers are dreamers, drill sergeants are boors, some men thought the war was proper and other didn’t and most didn’t care. Is that the stuff for a morality lesson, even for a theme?
Do dreams offer lessons? Do nightmares have themes, do we awaken and analyze them and live our lives and advise others as a result? Can the foot soldier teach anything important about war, merely for having been there? I think not. He can tell war stories.”
If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home by Tim O’Brien