"So what do I say to her?" Hawkeye thought as he prepared for her to come that evening. He knew she would show. His main problem for the night was getting rid of both of their security blankets, so that they could actually carry on a heart-to-heart conversation. He felt he was ready. Now for the big question: was she? Physically, they were able to say a lot. Just the thought of her made his heart beat faster. She was beautiful and even more so with age. They would make a great couple, if they never had to speak to one another. Hawkeye laughed to himself at the thought of that. He had never been attracted to a woman in quite the same way as he was with her.
He remembered all of the times at the 4077th that he had tried to sneak in a kiss or a hug, or anything just to be close to her. If she realized what he was doing, she would always object. He remembered the time he gave her a kiss for Christmas with Frank Burns standing right there. That was one of his best memories. He was always trying to find a clear-cut way into her heart, and when a way practically landed in his lap, he was the one who turned away. He never understood completely what made him do that. He had known all along that he loved her - her touch, her perfume, the way she talked, the way she walked.
There was then a knock on the door. "Come in," he shouted.
There she was. He could not believe it was really her. He stepped towards her, put his arms out to hold her, and then noticed an icy look on her face, and that her arms were folded across her chest. He sensed trouble. An alarm went off in his head, and he knew something was up. He stopped in his tracks, and said, "Hi. I'm really glad you came." Honesty. That was the way to go. No walls, no jokes, just the truth.
"Are you?" Margaret asked a little more sarcastically than she had hoped.
"What?" Hawkeye was visibly taken aback by her tone, posture, everything. "Sure, I miss buses and trains, and even airplanes at times, but I never miss sarcasm when I haven't done a damn thing to deserve it!"
He had just about had it with her - for good this time. It seemed like every approach he used with her failed. She always acted like she wanted the opposite. If he was joking around, she wanted absolute seriousness. Whatever he gave, she always seemed to demand more.
"I'm sorry, Margaret. I think I made a mistake. Maybe I shouldn't have invited you here. I don't really know what I was thinking. I guess I was overwhelmed from seeing you again," he walked over the window and looked out. He didn't know what else to say. He was done fighting with her.
She sat down on the edge of the bed, even more confused now. She stared at him, slowly realizing the mistake she appeared to be making. "Oh, my God," she said quietly. What an idiot she had been! Could she admit it to him? She had felt such jealousy toward the unknown woman he was holding and joking with.
He turned away from the window to look at her. God, she was so beautiful and he loved her. He decided to give it another try.
"Care for a drink? As you know, I am very well known for my martinis. Speaking of martinis, you know who might be in these here parts tomorrow?" he was now attempting to lighten up the mood a little. Something had changed for her in the last few minutes. He wasn't sure what, but he knew he didn't want to lose this precious moment.
"Hmm... It has to be either Trapper or BJ," Margaret was also relieved to be on neutral ground once again.
"Trapper John himself will be here sometime tomorrow," Hawkeye informed her, secretly hoping it would be OK with her. He hoped Margaret wouldn't distance herself again. Trapper had never been her favorite person.
"How long has it been since you've seen him?"
"It feels like forever. You have seen him more recently than I have," Hawkeye said with a twinkle in his eye.
"I have? I haven't seen him since the day that Frank Burns gave him his orders to go home."
"If you recall, I was on R&R and missed him by ten lousy minutes at Kimpo. He is in town this weekend for part of the convention, so I invited him out for dinner and drinks. Good old Trapper John. He now works at Children's Hospital as a surgeon. It is good work for him, since he has always had a soft spot in his heart for kids. Two of my bunkies could easily be nominated for 'Father' and 'Husband' of the year. Me, you ask? I will be lucky if I get married before I die, much less have children."
Margaret leaned toward him when she heard the word marriage. "I don't think I ever realized that you even wanted to be married. Not with the amount of times I felt I needed to put a leash on you and my nursing staff."
Hawkeye smiled. He had enjoyed the company of several of the nurses at the 4077th. He wined and dined them, even the visiting nurses. Toward the end of the war, he began to realize that whoever he was with didn't measure up to the one woman he truly wanted.
"Oh, what the hell," he thought. "Here goes nothing."
"Marriage...I always thought it was for someone else. I was always too busy being a surgeon. I also didn't want to be tied down. I couldn't commit to anyone, including you, Margaret. After we spent our first night together, I began thinking about commitment. Because I eventually realized that there was someone I committed to during that time of my life," Hawkeye stopped, wanting to gauge her reaction before he continued on.
"Who?" she asked softly, not wanting him to stop.
"You," he walked over to the windows again. This was difficult to say, not knowing how she was going to react. Would she stay or walk out? "I love you. After seeing you again, I have realized I never want to be separated from you again."
The Hawkeye she knew in Korea never would have been this honest. She was taken aback. His confession suddenly terrified her. It removed the comfort zone between them. Suddenly, it no longer felt safe to be there. She thought to herself, "Then why am I here? I knew this was coming."
He turned to face her, uncertain of the response that awaited him.
"I need time to digest this. I don't know. I guess I should have expected this..." and with that said, she ran out of his room and down the hall. She ran and ran, hearing him call out her name. She didn't stop until she found the bar and had ordered herself a scotch. "Feel nothing. No pain. You don't really care about him. Don't listen. He'll only hurt you in the end," she repeated over and over to herself. A few more drinks and she'd feel nothing, just as her life had been for three years. She felt no pain, but the pain that followed her around was enormous.