"You Wouldn't Let Me Love You"
What's happening? Everything seems so...distant. Why? Is my time up or have I lost it? I don't know which is worse. I need to talk to someone. Who? Someone from the 4077th? Someone from work? One of my friends? What friends? I don't have any friends here. And the people I work with don't care. How would one of the people from the 4077th react? Margaret was making herself even more crazy with each question. Life in the States was worse than Korea, she decided. If she told her family, they'd make her life worse than it was. She wished she had someone to talk to that wouldn't act as if she was an idiot. I'll call one of my friends from Korea, maybe they'll understand. The first person who came to her mind was BJ. He'd be willing to listen, and he wouldn't do anything against her wishes. But, the question was, would he remember her? Surely he would. They had spent what felt like an eternity working together in Korea. She had his phone number written down on a piece of paper that was stuck under the phone. She had it from the time he had "stopped by" to visit her. He'd said it was on his way to work, but she knew that where he worked was about an hour away from where she lived. Margaret really had appreciated his visit. They sat and talked for at least three hours. Right before he had left, he handed her a piece of paper with his phone number on it. That was a little more than a year ago. Her hands shaking, she dialed his number.
Maybe, he's not home.
"Hello?" BJ's voice asked.
"Hi, BJ. I finally decided to take you up on your offer and call."
"That's terrific, Margaret. How have you been?"
"Great, well, okay. No, not okay, really rotten."
"Everything is messed up...nothing seems right. I can't sleep. I sometimes close my eyes for a minute and when I open them, wonder why the walls aren't olive green. And I occasionally hear a helicopter and wonder why there's no announcement. It seems as if some part of me is still in Korea, waiting for something. I'm afraid I'm losing it, but there's really no one I can talk to about that. Except you. And Hawkeye." Where had Hawkeye's name come from?
"Something is missing, huh?"
"Yeah...my sanity, maybe?"
"It seems to me that it's someone, not something."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm sorry. I have to go. You'll be getting a phone call in a little while, okay? 'Bye."
Someone was missing? Who? He had said she'd get a phone call later, but he didn't say it'd be from him. I hope that someone who's missing isn't Donald, she thought.
"Donald!" she giggled. "Shh...you don't want to spoil this moment, do you?" he whispered passionately. It seemed like heaven to Margaret. Much better than Frank, for sure. "I hope...you don't mind...one of..oh wow...my other...oh, Margaret!... girlfriends..are coming over to...visit..." he said each time he came up for air. "YOU'RE OTHER GIRLFRIENDS?!?" she exclaimed. Never again would she trust her own husband.
That was a powerful memory. She felt like she had relived it. She hoped it wouldn't happen again.
"Hello?" she asked.
"Margaret?" asked a voice.
"Hawkeye! How'd you know where to find me?"
"I have my ways..." Hawkeye hung up.
How could he have done that?!? It crushed her feelings. Oh, was she tired. She wished she could sleep, but hadn't been able to for a little over a year. So, she turned on the television and watched a soap opera with a really pathetic plot. The lead was so thick. Couldn't he see how much Debby loved him? The other plot was that Jack loved Kerri, but she was in love with Jay; the same guy as Debby. Ding-dong. The doorbell on the show rang.
Ding-dong. Someone rang the doorbell at Margaret's house. She really hoped it was BJ. She needed to talk to someone about what Hawkeye had done. She didn't bother to check who it was; she just threw open the door. "Hi."
"I bet you're surprised."
"Yeah, I'm a little surprised."
"Good. You're supposed to be."
"What brings you to California? I thought you lived in Maine."
"I do. I was visiting BJ and he mentioned you. That's how I found out what you're telephone number is."
"What else did he tell you?" Margaret eyed him suspiciously.
"About what happened since you got back from Korea. One thing, could we go inside? My feet are killin' me, Miss Houlihan."
"Cute, Hawkeye, really cute."
"I know." They walked into her house. "Wow...this place is big. Who lives here other than you?"
"My problems. My worries. My fears."
"It can't be that bad, Margaret."
"You're right...it's worse....there's no place to run, no place to hide from the horrors of life...something is missing."
"Margaret, you need to think about the good things in life."
"There aren't any! I don't know why I'm here! Who cares about me? I can't sleep. I can't think or even concentrate! I should just end it all!"
"MARGARET HOULIHAN! Don't you DARE think of suicide!"
"I wasn't going to kill myself, no.... I was thinking of having someone kill me, that's all."
"Margaret? Are you really this bad, or is this just acting?"
"Oh, Hawkeye...I need someone to help me find myself. Someone who knows me."
"Look no more...I am here...when you need help with anything, at any time, I'll be here. Really, here, I mean."
"You'd stay here for me?" she asked.
"Any time. Do you know why you can't sleep?"
"The same reason I can't do any of the other things. Something seems wrong."
"I gained something in Korea and left it behind, it seems. Friends?"
"Maybe." They were sitting in her bedroom, on her king-sized bed. It had pale blue satin covers on it. It was very inviting. Hawkeye was having a daydream about himself, a certain blonde, and the bed. It was his best fantasy ever. And, his favorite. He then remembered he was here to help Margaret, not sleep with her. But, hey, it might actually help. She'd said she couldn't sleep, didn't she?
"Oh, I'm so tired. I've been saying that forever, but it doesn't help," she complained. Hawkeye pulled her into his lap and rubbed her shoulders. "Oh, Hawkeye. That's just what I needed," she was in heaven. It felt so good to relax again. She was lost in the gentleness of the way he touched her. She was so relaxed, she decided if she tried to fall asleep, she just might be able to. Hawkeye could sense what she was thinking and let go of her shoulders. He slowly got off the bed and Margaret saw him doing so, shot him a questioning look. He looked at his feet, then the bed, and then her in the same way she'd looked at him. She gave him her best "what are you waiting for?" look. He realized she was serious, then. He was at war with himself. He wanted desperately to jump at the chance, but he knew he's end up hurting her, not helping her. "What are you waiting for?" she asked. "Uh...maybe this isn't a good...never mind. I-I dunno if we should. I mean, maybe this isn't the right time," he stammered. "Hawkeye, I never thought I'd here you say that you wouldn't..."
"There's a first for everything."
"And this is the first for this?"
"No. I was just saying there's a first for everything."
A phone conversation with her boyfriend:
"Hi, Margaret. It's Steve. I was wondering, what are you doing tonight?
"Nothing. What did you have in mind?"
"Hmm....you could come over here and we could look through some old medical journals." He really meant what he'd said. He wasn't being sarcastic or anything. It was really getting annoying. He was too much of a brain. Others, seemed to be too thick. She desperately wished for a "normal" date, but not necessarily with Steve. "Look, I'm really sorry, but things aren't working out very well...actually, they stink. We can't go on like this. We should just end this little 'relationship' now. We haven't done anything 'normal.' We've only gone to lectures and read through old text books. That's not my idea of a good time. I'm sorry." She hung up. Third boyfriend in two months. She wished for someone nice and a little different to come along.
"Margaret?" she didn't seem to be totally there. "Huh? Oh. Sorry. Another flashback."
"Yeah. Happens all the time."
"Well, where were we, my dear?" he asked. "Oh, I don't know...ah. Yes. Something about beds or something," she grinned devilishly. "Ah. One thing...I don't have pajamas or anything...." he said. Why did he bother? He knew the answer. "So? Is there something you want me to do about it?" she gave him a stare that plainly said "I cannot believe you are doing this."
"Uh...no problems...never stopped me before." Hawkeye shrugged. "Much better. Well, I'm really thinking about trying to sleep. I'm exhausted. I just wish I could sleep this once..." she said. "Ya never know...." he grinned.
*Around 3:00 A.M.*
Margaret sat bolt upright. She was terrified. Another nightmare about Korea. That's why she never slept. The nightmares seemed so realistic, she couldn't deal with the nightmares. She wake up every half hour or so with them. She didn't get enough sleep that way, so she just stayed awake the rest of the time. Margaret was always fine during the day...well, until nine o'clock or so. That's when she become exhausted, so she always sat on her couch and read or something. Hawkeye felt something moving around. Margaret. How many times can a person wake up at night? he wondered. This time, he opened his eyes and saw her sitting there, facing away from him, he could tell she was jus staring off into space. He put his hand on her shoulder. Lord, she nearly jumped ten feet into the air. "Hey, chill, Margaret. It's just me," Hawkeye said.
"Sorry. I wasn't all here."
"Margaret, you weren't here at all. You were lost in space, completely."
"Definitely so. Listen, there's nothing wrong with that."
"Hawkeye, I'm tougher than this. ...shouldn't let these stupid lil' nightmares scare me."
"I didn't want anyone to know that I was afraid of something so simple and harmless."
"Margaret, we all have fears.You're *only* human, for crying out loud."
"I'm so...lost. I feel so helpless and lonely. And scared."
"It's okay. Just don't cry... I can't stand to see you cry. It makes me feel horrible."
"...not your fault..."
"If you're gonna cry, come here. If I can't keep you from crying, at least let me comfort you." Hawkeye wrapped his arms around her and let her cry into his shoulder. And boy, did she cry. They must've been sitting there for forty-five minutes until she stopped crying. By this time, he was sitting with his back up against the headboard on the bed. My poor back, thought Hawkeye. He hung in there, though. For Margaret. A little while later, they dozed off.
They woke up, voluntarily, this time. "How ya feeling? Better?" asked Hawkeye.
"Yes. Much better."
"Terrific. Ya know what's nice about this hour? In Maine, I sometimes ride my bike to the rocky beach and watch the sunrise. It's beautiful. I'm sure it looks really nice here, too."
"Do you wanna? There's enough time to get there, if we leave in about five minutes. I think it'd be fun."
"The only thing is, you can't take a long time to pick out something to wear."
"What makes you think I do to begin with?"
"You looked really nice yesterday and I just thought..." he trailed off and then shrugged.
"We're wasting precious time. Let's get ready."
"Okay... won't take me long."
Speaking of not taking long, they nearly set a world record for getting ready. She threw open the door to her closet, and grabbed the first thing she saw: faded, ripped jeans and a plain white T-shirt. He grabbed his jeans and T-shirt off the floor and they were ready to go in three minutes. They were starved but didn't have anytime time eat a real breakfast. She just grabbed a granola bar for herself and offered one to Hawkeye, who nearly turned green when he saw it. "I take it you don't like health food?" asked Margaret. "I loathe it with a passion," Hawkeye replied. "Well, you'll probably won't be eating in this house then," she said as they walked out the door and ran to the garage which was on the other side of the yard, which was about the size of a football field. As they ran towards the garage, Hawkeye noticed there weren't any sidewalks. That was new to him. He was used to most of the yard being covered with sidewalks so he and his father would be able to get to and from the house when the snow was piled up. When they had reached the garage, Margaret walked around to the other side of a battered pickup truck and dragged out two bikes. "I don't know why, but I'm surprised you have two bikes here," Hawkeye commented.
"Well, it's only because when BJ would come to visit, we'd sometimes go for a bike ride and he just left his bike here so he wouldn't have to drag it back and forth in his car whenever he came for a visit."
They hopped onto the bikes and rode them through the silent streets of the town. About ten minutes later, Hawkeye saw the ocean. "Wow! This is even prettier the sunrise in Maine!" Margaret smiled and started to pedal faster. "Oh, two can play those games," Hawkeye said sarcastically. He quickened his pace as well.
"Face it, you'll never beat me!" Margaret yelled from about six yards ahead.
"That's what you think!"
"No, I actually know that I'm faster than you."
"Ooh....I'll get you."
"I heard that!"
They continued shouting back and forth until they were almost to the sandy beach. She slowed down for poor Hawkeye to catch up. He was about a block away. No one could ever come close to beating her in any kind of bike competition. Stunt competitions, races, you name it, she won it. Once he'd caught up, they rode at a snail's pace. When they reached the sandy beach, she jumped off the bike and ditched it by a mound of sand. He did the same.
He figured that he shouldn't have bothered putting on his swim trunks since he was almost certain Margaret hadn't put her swimsuit on, but, there was still that little part of him that believed she'd thought of it. She had, though. Hawkeye pulled off his shoes and socks and stuck his foot into the water. It was a lot warmer than the ocean in Maine, he thought. Margaret followed his lead. "You're gonna kill me, but I remembered a swim suit," Hawkeye said.
"I'm not gonna kill you...I have mine on too."
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