Thursday, February 23, 2017

Arc en Ciel, a story


She sang at the Arc en Ciel in Saigon and Peggy was in love with her.

That was in ‘66. I could have been there a couple years later, had things gone only a little differently. Some of my friends were and some never came back.

I’ve seen her in the snapshots, a Chinese lounge singer, her paper-thin body sheathed in silk, makeup disguising a very normal heart-shaped face. The face of a girl playing the part of a woman.

Lots of people fell in love in Nam. Young men fell in love, and the danger and the loneliness made love all the more urgent. There was not much danger for Peggy, working in an office in Saigon, compiling and cataloging data day after day, but how could she not be lonely? She was far from her home, her friends, back in Ohio.

She wrote back to us, her family, and sent photos. None were of Kathy, nor of her husband’s band. We saw only street pictures or snaps of her coworkers at the compound.  Why include photos of a little singer from Hong Kong who would hold her hand while the men talked?

In ‘67, Peggy was home again and the war went on without her. What became of Kathy, I can not say, for Peggy never mentioned her. She went back to being the solitary ‘bachelor girl.’ And how could she not be lonely?

But I have the photos and letters she kept in a shoe box and know of Kathy now.

Stephen Brooke ©2017

This very short tale contains a certain amount of truth. How much, I will not be telling. It also exists as notes toward a future novel.

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