"PTSD, Another gift from Vietnam"

PARADOX:

Ghosts of the past, treading on the brink of reality and dreams. They allow brief glimpses of a face, a smile, a laugh or an agonizing cry for help. Their voices are as real as the pain that engulfs them. Their memories rip through our subconscious as we relive the experience and grasp for the vanishing hand. We reach, and just when hand touches hand it fades into nothingness and we feel a deep sense of emptiness and grieve at our loss.

The dark corridors of the mind harbor these restless spirits. Door after door opens and we go through one only to find another. Endless and ever present only to find another as they stretch forth to infinity and back into the timeless past with their haunting memories. We pray that these spirits could be exorcised yet not wanting complete release, for the finality would be to great to bear. These wandering souls longing to be remembered. If we forget... they perish.

No-one can explain away the reality of these restless dreams. We lay in the safety of our own beds, walls surrounding us as our loved ones cling to us in the night. In the silence we hear the explosions and feel the heat of the napalm, we struggle to breath and we claw our way through the thick mist of darkness. In this land everything is warped as though looking into the strange distortions of a circus funhouse mirror. Shapes are twisted and the mind thrown into illusion; the more one moves the more distorted the figure gets. The tragic outcome of this gross picture is that it is reality that captures us in the looking glass not fiction. We awake in pools of sweat, our eyes blurred as we search the confines of our room, heart pounding in panic. Rage wells up inside us as the parade of misery marches on even while we are conscious. There is no escape from the ghostlike images, They remain eternal in their youth. We grow old and weary with age. It truly is a paradox.

Who are these ghosts... and who is keeping who alive?

Copyright Richard D. Preston