12/03/1981 – Journal Entry One
It has been a good year so far and I am thankful that it isn’t as cold as it normally is here in Memphis this time of year. I walked a lot today. The life of the homeless seems to be walking sometimes. It was nice to see the holiday lights and decorations on the store windows lining Poplar Avenue. A kind white man gave me an early Christmas gift today, and although it was not food I could not have been happier to have received this new red journal. The pages are so clean and fresh… it almost seems a shame to write on them.
I have decided to record my thoughts and what has happened throughout my day. I think I will try and keep this diary updated as it seems to provided some comfort in knowing my life might not be lost when my light is gone.
My name is Herald King. I am homeless, but my home is still within my heart. I am a veteran that served this country proudly and I still love this land… even though this nation has seemed to have forgotten me. That is a sad statement to make, but it is the only theory I can accept. I was a school teacher before the Korean War and never considered that the reserves would be called to go overseas. I was a younger man then, full of ideologies and principles, so I actually was willing to go fight originally. That quickly changed as the reasons for our presence there became unclear.
I took a near hit by a mortar shell while in a firefight near Seoul and was quickly sent home to heal. I had no clue you could be discharged so fast, but two days after returning stateside I was given my papers and “thanked” for my service. I thought things would return to normal, but as with anything in life the unexpected happens. I really can’t recall what happened or in what order. I do know that the result of the those events was that I lost my wife due to my anger issues, I was let go from my job teaching because of flashbacks from the war that no one believed, and the house of cards came down when the very government I served allowed the bank to lock me out of my own home. What was a thirty year domino effect felt more like one giant slap in the face.
It is cold at night in Memphis, TN. People think that it is always hot down south. While that is technically true most of the time in all actuality the humidity in the air is like breathing in ice sometimes. I don’t know why I stay here in this city. I have walked to the bridge connecting West Memphis and Arkansas and stared at the distant shore for hours, but I could not “will” my feet to continue across it. There is something that keeps me here, a hand resting upon my soul or some unfinished business. The feeling is a burden and yet at night… when I am sleeping alone, it is sometimes a comfort to know I might yet still be needed.
I truly hope that one day someone might read this journal and see it for what I hope it shall become. A window into my life and perhaps a last faint whisper in the dark before I depart forever.
This is my blog book I am offering to the readers of my blog. The whole story can be found at the following link http://shatteredsmoke.com/category/the-lost-journals/ I hope you enjoy the story. All content is owned and copyrighted. You may re-blog, pingback, or share the contents but please give credit to the author and this website. Thank you, -OM
Page 4 OM 12/26/2013
I like the way you draw hesitation into crossing the bridge.
Thank you and thanks for giving it a read!
Empathetic and moving.
Thank you for the read and the feedback!