Memoir of a War Resister—A Novel of the 1960s

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Chapter 46—"Unchained Melody"

The next day I told Marty about the forum. “I broke down reading your letter. When you said that you’d see everyone in two years, I lost it.” I was about ready to lose it again. My eyes filled with tears.

“I’m okay, Becky. I am going to survive this. You can too.”

“I don’t want to survive anymore. I’m tired of surviving.”

“What’s the alternative?” he asked.

“The alternative is that we all jump at the same time, remember 1-2-3- bam and the world changes and the war is over and you’re with me and I can sleep again. I can breathe again. I can live again.”

Marty moved his chair out from under the table in front of him and patted his legs. “Come here.”

I looked over at the guard who was looking the other way.

“Come here,” he said again.

I got up and sat in his lap, putting my head on his chest. He put his arms around me and stroked my hair. “I couldn’t survive without you,” he said. No other words were needed. The guard came over and made some kind of clearing his throat noise.

Marty smiled. “Alex, we could really use a room.”

Alex laughed. “I can see that. Unfortunately, we have no vacancies. I need you to separate.”

When I got to the prison the following week, Alex, the guard, came up to me in the waiting room. “Follow me,” he said.

“Is everything alright?”

“Marty is in the infirmary. You have permission to visit him there.”

“What happened to him? Is he okay?”

“I am not at liberty to say.” We walked down a dirty prison hallway to a door at the end. He opened the door and winked at Marty seated in a chair. “You’ve got fifteen minutes max.”

“Thanks, man.” The door closed.

The next thing I knew, Marty had me in his arms in that dirty filthy prison room with no windows, only two folding chairs and a desk filled with papers. Marty kissed me and I kissed him back. He slid my shirt over my head. He kissed, massaged, touched. Soon we were there, naked, together. He pressed me against the dirty prison wall. Who knew what germs lingered on that wall? I didn’t care. He lifted me up and my legs went around his back. Then he entered me and I was whole again.

We slid down the dirty prison wall with its green paint chipping off and landed on the dirty prison floor filled with more germs. I didn’t care even more. We sat entwined and satisfied.

“How did you manage this?” I asked when I could speak again.

“Well, I learned that if you are nice to people, they’ll be nice back. After you visited last week, Alex said he’d try to work out the room situation for us. Had to be a perfect set of circumstances, the right people doing the right shifts on the right day and here we are.”

We sat silently. A rap on the door “Two minutes.”

He kissed me again and we got dressed.

A light knock again and the door opened. I stayed and he took Marty into the visiting area to wait for me so we could finish our visit sedately in public.

When Alex came back I asked, “You like chocolate chip cookies?”

“The best,” he said.

“I happen to be famous for my cookies. I’ll bring you some next week.” I knew how long to bake cookies so they had that chewy feeling to them.

“Sounds like a bribe.” He smiled at me.

“No, just payment for the best birthday present I ever received.”

“Today’s your birthday?” he asked.

“Close enough. Mine’s the 5th. Marty’s is the 8th.” The cookies wouldn’t be close to payment enough for what Alex did for us.

Marty’s birthday came. No more back rooms. No more green paint peeled walls. Just Marty. That was enough.

U.S. Soldier Body Count: 53,561

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