"Good evening everyone and welcome," Cindy warmly announced. "I dedicate my first song to all the GI's in the audience."
The band started playing "Hey, good looking." When her eyes settled on Radar, Cindy hesitated on the note. Continuing the song, she turned to smile in Radar's direction a few times. As the band drew the song to a close, Cindy stood on the right side of the stage looking directly at Radar.
Radar's eyes never left the stage. His eyes met Cindy's many times. Several songs later Hawkeye whispered a plan in Trapper's ear. When Cindy had finished singing "My Blue Heaven" she announced that the band would be taking a short break.
"Radar, we're gonna head on out," Trapper said.
"Yeah, we wanted to stop at the...uh..the newsstand on the way back to the hotel. I need to pick up this month's issue of Nudes Illustrated."
"We'll see ya later...or in the morning or something at the hotel."
Confused, Radar furrowed his brow slightly and responded, "Um..okay."
As they departed the other band members headed for the bar and Cindy walked toward Radar.
"Hello," she said, smiling, "I didn't expect to see you here."
It took Radar a minute to regain his composure. "I...I didn't expect to see you here either. You look great. You sounded great too."
"Thank you," she replied, blushing slightly. "May I join you?"
She sat in what had been Hawkeye's chair, the closest to Radar. "I stopped here after my USO troupe finished our performance at the 8063rd. The rest of them returned to the States, but I decided to stop here after I heard about it from many soldiers. I like singing for the soldiers. It makes me feel like I'm doing my small part for the war effort."
"Yeah. You really raised the spirits of the people at the 4077th with your performances...especially mine." Cindy blushed.
"There you go again, carried away..." Cindy said with a bright smile. "So what brings you to Tokyo?"
"Oh, I was just..the three of us...well, just some time on leave."
"That's nice. The way you work, I'm sure you deserve it."
"Thanks, I try."
Radar gazed into Cindy's brown eyes and again saw what he wanted to see. His eyes traced over her face and body as his mind's eye had done so many times before. Turning her attention from the band relaxing at the bar, Cindy discovered Radar staring in her direction.
"What?" she asked.
"Hm?" Radar said, shaking his head a bit and trying again to regain his composure. "Oh, nothing."
Then Radar came to a troubling realization. Something in her eyes finally gave it away, finally made him face what he had tried to deny. Perhaps being away from her for a few days and returning like this gave him a fresh perspective. Bits of conversations and scenes came forth like a flood of memories and there was a common element to it all.
This wasn't what she wanted. He wasn't what she wanted. In the back of his mind, this unpleasant truth had been sitting, waiting for the light of day. Somehow it had been present in the way she acted. It was evident in what she said sometimes. It was evident in what she didn't say sometimes too. Radar's facial expression radically changed from the epitome of contentment to the face of someone suffering a great loss.
He thought back to one afternoon that they had spent having a picnic. They found a quiet spot in a grassy field just outside of the camp. Radar wore his regular fatigues but without the woolen cap. Cindy wore a white blouse with a cherry red skirt. The sky was as clear as glass and there was a light breeze to cool the air. Songbirds chirped and sang in the nearby trees.
"What a beautiful day," Cindy declared, looking around at the serene surroundings.
"Almost as beautiful as you," Radar meekly said.
"Who, me?" Cindy said playfully.
"There's no one else around here I love more."
"Aw..." Cindy blushed, "don't get carried away now."
Radar reached his hand out on the blanket to touch Cindy's. She glanced down for a moment and then looked up, smiling at him.
"I don't know about that," Radar returned playfully. "I am glad I got to spend some more time with you. I mean it's a shame the 8063rd had to bug out and all, but still."
"The past few days have been fun."
It felt like it all just happened yesterday. In truth it had been just four days since their picnic. Even so, it was one of Radar's happiest memories, one he would always treasure. But even then the painful truth had been trying to surface. Radar was too content, too happy to realize it then. As clear as Radar's foresight often was, his hindsight at the moment was even more agonizingly clear. He remembered several of Cindy's passing comments which now spoke volumes to him.
Cindy and Radar both looked toward the stage as the band started to tune up again. They played the first few notes of a familiar song. "Listen, Walter, I'll just be singing a few more songs, then I'll stop by again."
"Um..." Radar began. He felt as though he had been thrust into darkness, heart and mind. Searching for the right words to say, he realized he would have to settle for a lie. "I should really get back to my room soon. You see...we're leaving early in the morning and I can't be late getting back to camp. Sorry."
"Oh, that's alright, I understand."
The silence between them lasted forever. Their eyes seemed to be drawn to the table as though it were a magnet. Finally Radar's eyes rose, as did Cindy's; yet, neither said a word. Somehow they both knew what was happening.
"Well, I'll be returning to the States in a few days. Good luck at the MASH unit."
Radar gave Cindy one last hug. She walked the wooden stairs to the stage and took her spot at the mic. Resigned to the truth, Radar got up, slid his chair into place and headed for the door. "Unforgettable, that's what you are..." The notes echoed in Radar's mind which, for the first time in awhile, was clear.
As he walked toward the door he told himself not to turn around and look back. He only paused for a moment and that was to remove his glasses briefly because there was something in his eyes. Clearing his eyes partially, he proceeded out the door. He walked out of her life forever.