The young and the wild
Shortly after twilight Dianne looked out the kitchen window of their ground-floor apartment and saw Kye talking with Olaf Jensen, the building caretaker's overgrown son. Like most Vietnamese, Kye was as lean as a whip but with surprisingly large bones, and tall for a fourteen year old, Mark had said. He would probably fill out nicely now that he'd be getting the proper nourishment, but at the moment he looked like a gaunt little boy beside the muscular teenager of Swedish heritage he was laughing and talking with, displaying that enthusiastic carefreeness which had been constantly a part of him the entire three days he'd been with her.
The observing, curvaceous young wife of two years absently brushed at her wealth of straight, long blonde hair, sweeping it behind her shoulders on either side as she let her sultry green-eyes play over the friendly scene the two made sitting side by side, facing the smoldering incinerator where Olaf was burning trash for his father. It pleased her that Kye had made a friend so quickly, though she readily understood how and why he would with his young, irrepressible personality. His spirited, toothsome smile seemed almost perpetual, and she doubted that his energy had ever run-down in his whole teenage life. But probably what impressed her most was the innocence in his flashing dark-eyes, after all the horror he had seen and been through, losing his entire family at the age of seven and spending four years as an orphan in an American Mission School, then running away to become a little ruffian, or whatever, in the Saigon streets for the past three years.
That their new ward wasn't drenched in total bitterness was an amazement to Air Force Captain Mark Keller's stunningly lovely wife. Yet even had he been, the love for him he had immediately kindled inside her would hardly have been less; though she couldn't imagine how he could pull at her heart-strings more than he already had.
Actually, she supposed she was being unnecessarily safeguarding with this peeking out the window or door at him every few minutes, but she couldn't help herself. He was still just a boy in a foreign country to her, and Mark's "… Now don't worry about him, honey, he's very capable of looking after himself…" hardly cut any ice. What he'd been forced to do to survive on the streets of Saigon was to be a far cry from his new life in the peaceful San Diego suburb of La Berdina, California. It would take a little time, but she intended that he would know a different sort of life now, one overflowing with love and kindness.
Sergeant, Kye's big German shepherd dog, a fierce appearing, heavy-shouldered animal with an astonishing docile nature, strolled into the scope of her windowed scene to seat himself before his young master, his massive animal-presence bringing to mind the whole story as Mark had unfolded it to her three days before on his return from Viet Nam.
It had been Sergeant's barking in the hold of the plane which had made Mark order an investigation, turning up their pair of stowaways, and both suffering from lack of proper air-pressure. All the same, her handsome thirty year old husband had told her, Kye was grinning, and obviously proud that he had done what he had said he would the day before… not let Mark go back to the United States without him!
Dianne had yet to learn the particulars of how Mark and Kye had become such fast friends. Her pilot husband, even after eleven months in Viet Nam, had had only a few hours to spend with her, and though both of them were frantic to pass them in a more intimate manner, Kye and Sergeant's presence had made that impossible, along with any lengthy private discussions. Mark had gotten special permission to house the boy and dog in his own home while military authorities and immigration people were deciding what was to be done with them. Fortunately, Sergeant had undergone myriad shots and didn't have to be impounded, Kye producing the animal's papers before the commanding officer at March Air Force Base.
"The truth is, that damned dog is better off than I am," Mark had said with his famous (to Dianne) grin. "Here, I've got to go back to the base to get separated and these two wild hunyaks work their way right into the population."
Dianne had been so over-joyed to see him that if he'd said "peanuts" or whatever, she could have laughed herself silly. She'd hugged and clung to him, hardly noticing the strange boy and his dog during those first few minutes. Mark was home! Safe and sound! Home with her and almost for good!
"It'll take another week or so, baby… processing and all that," he'd said, holding her on his lap in his favorite chair while Kye stood by with a great smile lighting his handsome, young face, his breath-taking German shepherd mimicking him with open jaws and beautifully erect ears. "No longer than that… and it'll only be a matter of minutes if I can catch a flight to cover that hundred miles down here to La Berdina before we're together for good!"