" . . . my father joined the Marines. Then he went off to war.
The war changed him.
I was born when he came home.
Sometimes I think my father has all these scars. On his heart. In his head. All over. It's not such an easy thing to be the son of a man who's been to war. When I was eight, I overheard my mother talking to my Aunt Ophelia on the phone. 'I don't think that the war will ever be over for him.' Later I asked my Aunt Ophelia if that was true. 'Yes,' she said, 'it's true.'
'But why won't the war leave my dad alone?'
'Because your father has a conscience,' she said."
"So that's the way it was. When I was eight, I didn't know anything about war. I didn't even know what a conscience was. All I knew is that sometimes my father was sad. I hated that he was sad. It made me sad too. I didn't like sad.
So I was the son of a man who had Vietnam living inside him."