Authors note: I wrote this short story for an English sac. I actually got a really low mark on this essay because I supposedly didn't address the prompt properly. This really pissed me off because I was really proud of this story. So I decided to post in anyway.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Quiet America (which I am very happy about because I found it extremely boring).
For any conflict we encounter, there is also a conflict within ourselves.
It has been five years. Five years since the death of Pyle. I killed him. I may not have been the person that drove the knife into his chest, but I am the reason it happened.
It has been five years and I still do not know if what I did was right or wrong. Good or evil.
It is the question that keeps me awake every night. When I do sleep, I dream of Pyle. No matter how many times I tell myself I had made the right decision the guilt does not leave me, it gets worse.
When I look a Phuong I can't help but think she should be with that young man. Then I remember what happened to him. What I did to him. What right do I have to share her bed? I didn't win her heart. I murdered the competition, I only 'won' by default. She deserves better.
What right did I have to decide the life of Alden Pyle was irrelevant? It angered me when Pyle wrote the bombing victims off as 'war causalities.' So why did I do the same to him?
What right did I have to decide that Pyle life was not as important as the other people in Vietnam? It was not my choice to make. Yet I made it when I arranged Pyle's assassination.
Pyle was my friend and I arranged his murder. What kind of friend does that? What kind of person does that make me?
Poor ignorant, close minded Pyle, so blinded by his ideologies he couldn't see the truth. Was that really why I killed him? I asked myself all the time, or was it jealously. I know that if I had allowed the boy to live, more innocents would have died. But does that really justify murder?
I sometimes wonder if this is how a soldier feels after returning home from war. Do they regent the lives they stole? Do they have trouble sleeping at night? Are they also plagued by the thoughts of right and wrong? How do they go on with their lives?
I wish someone could tell me how. I wish someone could tell me how to keep going. How do you defeat the guilt? That eats away at your soul.
How do you remove the cries inside your head? The ones that yell and scram at you until they drive you mad.
Every second of every day they howl.
'He was your friend,'
'If Phuong knew the truth she would leave.'
They take on different voice. Sometimes it's my parents. Other times they are Helen's. There are even times when they belong to people i meet on the street. It hurts the most when the take on the voices of Pyle and Phoung.
The voices are only there to disguise who the thoughts really belong to.
They are mine.
Most importantly I wish someone could tell me how to forgive myself.
Only then will my internal struggle stop.