Chapter 17 - Dear Peg
My Darling! I'm coming home! The words keep running through my head: I'm coming home! I'm coming home! It's possible that I will get there before this letter does. The plane I was on has been grounded here on Guam so I have some time. I figure that even if I get there before the letter does, I can read it to you. At least this gives me a chance to gather my thoughts. So much has happened in the past two weeks since I last wrote.
Hawkeye is still in the hospital. I think I told you that we had to keep him unconscious until the ambulance took him. He'd been combative and Sidney thought it would be easier for all of us if Hawkeye just woke up in the hospital, or the 'wackateria' as Hawk has referred to it. I visited him before I left and was going to try and tell him that I was going home. He was so angry and hateful. I've never seen him like that, Peg. I mean we've quarreled and had words but this was different. Sidney says that Hawk is using the anger to keep his memory at bay. He doesn't want to remember what happened on the bus.
I know that he's feeling responsible for the baby's death. It took him a while to accept the fact that he didn't kill Corporal Owens. This one is worse because he thinks that woman smothered the baby because he 'told her to.'
I don't know how Hawkeye's going to take it when he finds out that I've come home. I didn't really have time to say goodbye to anyone. A flight became available so fast that I had time to say goodbye to Colonel Potter and give Margaret a quick hug goodbye. Hawkeye's former bunkmate, Trapper John, was shipped home while Hawk was on R&R two years ago. He never left a note. I know that Hawkeye was very upset. In fact I don't know if he's ever really gotten over it. I didn't have time to leave a note either but I've promised myself that I will write to him as soon as I get home and keep writing. Please, Peg, I'm counting on you to help me keep my promise.
Have I said yet how much I love you? If not, I love you, Peg darling. I can't wait to see you and Erin. The way things look now I'll be home for her 2nd birthday.
The children here have so little, Darling...less than nothing, some of them. I hope our little girl never has to see that kind of poverty. Sometimes I feel like adopting all of them and bringing them home with me. How do you feel about big families? Just kidding.
Back to the events of the last two weeks:
Reports have been coming that the war will end very soon. Both sides seem to be upset by this...at least it seems that way to me because I don't remember in the past two years when I have seen so many casualties. I hate leaving now and leaving the 4077 short a surgeon...well two surgeons counting Hawkeye. (I don't hate it enough to turn down the chance to come home!)
Charles has become an unexpected hero. It was pretty funny. He's been battling dysentery which really isn't funny. Unfortunately it's a common complaint in Korea. Dysentery can be a huge problem right now because a renegade army tank has come to rest in our camp. Upon its arrival, the tank crushed the latrine.
On one of his many trips to the latrine one day a whole group of Chinese musicians surrendered to Charles. There he was in his bathrobe with a gang of Chinese soldiers following him back to camp. He's been spending time teaching them the finer points of Mozart.
I'm glad he's found something that can take his mind off of his trouble. He's been trying for an important position at Boston Mercy Hospital and it looks like he'll be turned down because he's not in a position to make the interview.
For all of his stuffiness which I think is what he uses to not let people too close, Charles is an excellent surgeon. On occasions he can be a lot of fun as well. He has a sharp sense of humor and, I think, cares a lot more than he lets on.
Margaret's dad "Howitzer Al" Houlihan has been trying to find her a glamorous army post. I think she's considering a post in Belgium. It's hard for me to believe that someone as 'tough' as our Major Houlihan would let her father run her life. She's so desperate for his approval. I hope that one day she'll change that...I think she will.
Actually, if the truth be told, I think she would resign her commission in a heartbeat if Hawkeye were to make a recovery and declare his feelings for her. I know she's in love with him. I really think he's in love with her. Two months ago he quit chasing nurses and threw away his nudist magazines. If you know our Hawkeye, you know that's pretty serious. They had started spending more time together and they kind of went public at the picnic, then this tragedy struck.
She's held up pretty well during this time that Hawkeye's been away. She's got that tough major exterior down to a science.
Thanks (or tanks...haha) to the tank in the camp, we've come under some heavy shelling. The other day Father Mulcahy went running out to let the Chinese prisoners out of their enclosure to rescue them. A shell exploded and knocked him for a loop. I checked him and found that he only had a mild concussion. What disturbs me is that he's also experienced hearing loss that seemed to be getting worse by the time I left. He swore me to secrecy because he doesn't want to be sent home. He's devoted to those orphans and doesn't want to leave them. I have to admire a man who loves children.
I love you, Peg. Did I mention that I'm coming home! I'm coming home!
Did I tell you that Klinger has found love in the form of Soon Lee Han, a lovely Korean lady? She's been with us for about a month. She's desperately trying to find her family. Max has been trying to help her. He spends more and more time with her. Potter joked one day how funny it would be if he ends up staying here with her after all of the shenanigans he pulled to get out of here. Actually, Peg, it wouldn't surprise me. The love of a good woman can change a man. I know this to be true.
I can't wait to see you and hold my two ladies in my arms. It won't be long until I-"
"Excuse me, sir, but would you be Captain BJ Hunnicuttt?" an MP was standing in front of his chair.
"Guilty as charged," quipped BJ. "Am I being arrested, Sergeant?"
"No nothing like that, Sir. I hate to inform you, but your orders to go stateside have been rescinded. A MASH unit in Uijongbu is in desperate need of a surgeon..."
BJ sighed, "Say no more, Sergeant."
"Sorry to interrupt what you were doing, sir. But you'll have time to finish your letter on the way to the 4077."
BJ smirked at the sergeant, picked up his duffle bag and crumpled the letter, throwing it in the nearest waste basket.
"Sorry, Peg," he whispered. "Sorry me."