Chi' and I were drafted to do the job. We became translators! We didn't understand or speak English that well, but we knew enough to explain what needed to be done or what the doctors and nurses wanted. It was quite an exhilarated feeling to be able to help even though the task was very small.
We were then known as Vietnamese/English translators in the hospital. If anyone needed help, we were called to interpret. One day, while Chi' was undergoing medical examinations and tests for the upcoming surgery of his eyes, I was summoned to the top floor where Guy resided. Apparently, Guy refused to take any kind of drugs for his condition, and screamed uncontrollably in Vietnamese.
When I arrived to the top floor, my first notice was the many metal bar doors dividing the rooms of each patient, and the reception desk. I had not reached the nurse when I heard a loud voice "kill her, kill her, she is bad", and the banging on the metal bar to my right side. The scream and the noise of the metal shaking, stiffened me right on the spot.
I just stood there, looking at this white rough looking man behind the bar door, and wondered why he got so angry at the sight of my being. He reached his hands through the metal bars and wanted desperately to grab me. The expression of fear, hatred, and violent on his face scared me to the point of shivering. He continued to scream "she is bad, she is bad, kill her" and frantically ran around his room in a crazy manner looking for things to throw at me.
When a nurse came to my rescue, she gently told me that he was a Vietnam veteran. He associated all Asian looking people as Viet-Cong (communist). She said she would bring Guy to my floor instead and I would never have to set foot on this floor again.
I went back to my room and was not sure how to dissolve his image in my mind...
(Listed in Teenager Years series)