Thurman P. Woodfork


Thurman P. Woodfork: All My Bright Tomorrows
I lie there looking up into the sweaty face of the medic leaning over me. I’m surprised how much he looks like my father. But that can’t be; I never noticed the resemblance before. Besides, he’s only twenty-seven, and I’m twenty.

I remember a particular picture of my father, bare-chested, wearing shower clogs and jungle fatigue pants, taking a short break from his own war. Except that Dad was smiling then, he looked very much like this weary, concerned friend gazing down at me now with so much pain in his eyes.

“Doc?” I must not have spoken as loudly as I thought, because he leans closer, as if to hear me better. “What is it, Buddy,” he asks gently, smiling now. The smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes; the pain and concern remain there. “Am I going to make it?”

“Sure,” he says reassuringly. “You got my personal guarantee.” I close my eyes momentarily, and he says, “Stay awake, Partner; the chopper is almost here.” I know he’s telling the truth about the chopper because I can hear it in the near distance, the sound of its rotor growing steadily louder. I sigh, and he speaks again, still gently reassuring, “Don’t worry, you’re gonna make it; everything’s gonna be fine.”

“I know,” I say, as the medevac chopper sets down close by. It’s suddenly important that I try to make him feel better; it’s probably because of the pain in his eyes. He’s dry-eyed; the tears must be running down inside him. I look up into those eyes once again, and then down at the bloody bandages covering my torso and hiding the mangled mess that’s what’s left of my left hand and lower left arm. I wonder if a one-armed jazz pianist can make it to the big time.

Author’s Note: Dedicated to Bruce “Doc” Melson