Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/695442-Coming-Home-to-Ventura
by Shaara
Rated: ASR · Short Story · War · #695442
A wounded soldier finds home a lot different after his term in Kuwait.
Writer's Block Daily Prompt Contest "Invalid ItemWrite a story about a Vet who comes home to a different world. Category: under 500 words.


Coming Home to Ventura 497 words


         I guess it wouldn’t have been such a shock if I’d come back with my regiment, but a stay in the hospital made my return extra late. To make a long story short, it was a little over four years before I returned to Ventura, California, my home.

         I was walking down the street, crossing in the crosswalk, when an SUV almost hit my leg. The young girl driving, a pretty, blue-eyed blond gave me the finger as her tires left a layer on the road. I’d say that things had changed a bit since I’d been gone.

         Home was a lot different too. My sis was grown up and gone off to college. Billy, my baby brother, was a smart-assed jerk with a ring in his eyebrow and tongue and a mouth that needed boiling in sugar water.

         My high school sweetheart was married with two kids. She sure hadn’t wasted much time getting hitched after my shipping out to Kuwait. All my friends seemed old and settled. And me, I felt like I was still eighteen, wanting to pick up where I’d left off; only things were different, and I’d gotten spun off somehow.

         I shifted my leg. It was aching again, although it shouldn’t be since it was gone. I limped for a second, and then stopped and fixed myself so I could fake the stiffness better. A car honked at me, although I wasn’t in the road. I looked up and prepared for the jeer I expected. It didn’t come. Instead I saw an old friend of my sister’s, and she was waving with a smile broader than my mother’s on seeing me return.

         The girl had a pretty smile. The rest of her wasn’t bad either. I waved back, and she parked. It would have been rude not to have stopped and talked, wouldn’t it?

         Christy, she said her name was. I hardly remembered her. I sure didn’t remember her looking like she did! We had a burger and fries and then dinner and a movie. Funny how a fire can spark from one ember. We kept on meeting, and the dates became a regular thing.

         Christy worked at the telephone company. She managed to get me a job there. It didn’t matter that I only had one leg. Didn’t seem to need two for the work they had me doing -- computer work -- more or less what I’d done in the army. I fell into it like an old, comfortable chair.

         I still can’t get used to some of the things I see around Ventura – the multiple body piercings, the phones attached to every ear, the foul-mouth of my baby brother. But with Christy around, none of the changes bother me as much. Why, we’re even going dancing tonight. I’ll report back about how that goes with just one leg, but if I know Christy, I don’t imagine it will make much difference. Christy has that way of making everything all right.


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