Chapter 18 -Facing the Fears

Hawkeye pulled his coat collar up around his neck. After he left the nightclub he spent the night walking around the city. He shivered in the cold dampness. It wasn't ideal conditions for a late night stroll.

He knew that Sidney would make sure that Margaret was taken care of. He felt guilty about leaving her at the club the way he had but he'd had enough.

His head was throbbing. He'd had bad headaches off and on since the accident and now he was working on a hangover on top of that. He felt angry and helpless.

He didn't know how to help Margaret. He'd tried to be understanding. He was a doctor but this problem was out of his league. What was it BJ had said before he left the hospital? 'Stand by her. Don't let her shut you out.' How was he supposed to stop her from shutting him out? She'd done just that before he knew what hit him.

Hawkeye looked at his watch. It was three in the morning. He didn't know where to turn. He could go back to the hotel but he didn't feel much like sleeping right now. He thought about calling Sidney but he didn't want to wake his family. It was midnight in California. He wondered if BJ would be awake ringing in the New Year. He continued to walk, deciding it was either too late or too early to call anyone.

"I called the hotel. They called up to the room and there was no answer. They even had someone go up and unlock the room. Hawkeye's not there," said Sidney, hanging up the phone.

It was now six-o'clock in the morning. Rivka was feeding the boys. Margaret had slept on the couch and now sat wrapped in a quilt shivering.

"Here Margaret, have some hot chocolate. I think it will taste better than coffee and has a few more calories as well," said Sidney.

She glared at him. "Go ahead, Margaret and look daggers at me all you want. The fact remains if you don't start eating you're going to die. So shall we talk about what's eating you?"

Margaret turned and looked at the clock. Where was Hawkeye? Was he okay or was he lying in a gutter somewhere? She was worried about him after the things he'd yelled at her last night. He'd been so drunk and angry. She was afraid of what he might do.

He was right, she thought, she had been very selfish. She hadn't taken into consideration that he'd suffered a loss as well. Now she remembered what BJ had said that so puzzled her. 'Don't shut him out.' That's exactly what she had done!

Margaret looked at Sidney and nodded. "Okay, Dr. Freedman. I give up. Let's talk. Yes, I think need to."

"Why do you think you're starving yourself to death, Margaret?"

"I-I wasn't trying to starve myself to death," She stammered. "I haven't been hungry. I think about...things and it feels like my stomach turns inside out."

"What kinds of things are you thinking about that make you feel like, as you say, your stomach is turning inside out?"

"Come on, Sidney. You know what kinds of things. I think about the baby that will never be...the one that died in the accident. And then I think about the babies that will never be because...I..." Margaret tried with a vengeance to hold back the tears.

"Because what, Margaret? I know this is painful but it's important that you put it into words."

"Because I can't have children...ever. Because I don't have...a...a womb."

Margaret didn't see Hawkeye come up the stairs but Sidney did. He motioned for him to come and have a seat next to his wife.

Margaret began to cry, "Sidney...I can't give Hawkeye children. What kind of wife am I?... I-I'm not a-a woman anymore."

"Margaret?" Hawkeye put his arm around her and then turned her face toward his. "Not a woman? Where in the world did you get that idea? Do you think that bearing children is the only thing that makes you a woman? Margaret Pierce! I married you till death do us part. I married you because you're vibrant and alive. I didn't marry you for your uterus. I didn't marry you for how many children you can give me." He held her close and kissed her tenderly.

Sidney sat back and smiled, "Freud couldn't have said it any better."

Margaret laid her head on Hawkeye's chest and sobbed, "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry. I didn't e-even s-stop to t-think about your loss. Everything you said last night was right. I've been so selfish. Oh Hawkeye c-can you ever f-forgive me?"

"I...uh...had a lot of time last night to think about what I said. I owe you an apology, Margaret. I had no right to humiliate you like that in public," he said guiltily. "I'm sorry I embarrassed you, Sidney."

"On the contrary, Hawkeye, it would take more than that from you to embarrass me. Someday I'll write my memoirs and there will be an entire section devoted to Hawkeye Pierce."

"Make sure you get the spelling right...that's P-i-e-r-c-e."

Sidney laughed and said, "I'll make note of that."

Turning back to Margaret and holding her face in both of his hands Hawkeye said, "Mrs. Pierce, you are the most exciting and beautiful woman, emphasis on woman, I've ever known...with or without a uterus. Don't ever forget that." Then he added, "But you do need to put a little meat on 'dem bones.'"

Sidney smiled and said, "Anyone up for breakfast? I have it on good authority that my Rivka makes some of the best waffles you've ever tasted. They melt in your mouth." He turned and grinned at his wife, "That is, if she feels up to making them."

Rivka smiled and said, "I will if someone will hold Jeffrey."

"Give him to me," said Margaret taking the baby in her arms. "I'm starved!"

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