"I think that sounds like a good idea, son." Daniel nodded, sitting down beside his heart broken son. Then he added gently. "But I wouldn't be too quick to forget." Hawkeye smiled and reached over to give his father a warm embrace.
The ocean breeze blew all around Hawkeye as he stood on the beach and watched the sun setting. He always loved watching the sun set over the water. The way the streaks dipped into the ocean was absolutely breathtaking. When he was in Korea he use to close his eyes and imagine that he was standing on this exact spot watching the daily miracle that enchanted him so.
After the glowing fireball disappeared into its nightly watery bed he turned with a sigh and headed back home.
Just as he was about to climb the sandy dunes that separated the shore from the road he noticed a lone figure wandering along the beach right at the water's edge. There was something about the walker that made him stop and watch in awe. From the way the wind was making the person's hair and clothes blow Hawkeye quickly discerned that his unexpected companion was a woman. Unable to take his eyes off of her he started back along the beach towards the newcomer. In the dimming light it was getting harder and harder to make out her face, but still there was something familiar about her movements. All of a sudden it hit him causing him to cry out joyfully. "Margaret!"
The woman looked at him and cried excitedly. "Hawkeye!"
Moments later they were in each other's arms, having quickly closed the gap between them.
"Oh, Margaret!" He cried happily as he pressed kisses against her wind blown hair. "Oh, Margaret I've missed you! I've missed you so much!" He started placing kisses on her forehead, then her cheeks, then her lips. "I love you, Margaret! I love you very much!" He kissed her long and lovingly, letting all his pent-up feelings spill out into the kiss. Margaret responded wrapping her arms tightly around his neck as she eagerly kissed him back.
When the couple finally came up for air Hawkeye pulled back slightly so that he could look at the face that he'd been dreaming of since he'd left Korea. "Oh, Margaret, I can't believe it's you!" He said excitedly as he looked into her eyes in the dim light. "What are you doing here?"
He asked, a broad smile over his face.
"I came to help them." Margaret replied seriously.
"Help them?" Hawkeye repeated, a puzzled expression quickly appearing on his face. "Help who?"
"Them." Margaret replied as she turned in his arms and gestured to the beach behind them.
Hawkeye looked up and noticed that the beach was suddenly covered with hundreds of wounded soldiers. His eyes widened as the are around them became illuminated by hundreds of lamps and flashlights.
"We have to help them." Margaret urged him eagerly.
Hawkeye focused his gaze back on her face and in the brighter light noticed an open gash on her forehead. There was blood trickling down her cheek and dripping off her chin. Quickly he reached up and covered the wound with his hand but moments later blood began to seep around his fingers and run down his arm. He removed his hand as if it was being burned, his eyes widening in fear. He looked at Margaret and then at his hand which was now covered with a bloody surgical glove. Looking down he noticed that he was also wearing a bloody gown.
"We have to help them." Margaret repeated as she stepped away from him.
"Margaret wait!" Hawkeye exclaimed as he took a step towards her.
"I'm sorry, Hawk." She said softly as she continued to inch away. "But we have to help them." With that she turned and ran into the outlining darkness.
"Margaret!" Hawkeye screamed anxiously as he peered into the darkness she had just entered. "Margaret come back! Margaret, I LOVE YOU!!"
Hawkeye's eyes flew open and his heart raced as he quickly sat up in his bed, completely confused as to where he was. "Margaret?" He called softly into the darkness. "Margaret are you there?" He reached out and touched the empty pillow beside him before dropping his face in his hands and weeping bitterly.
The next day at the hospital Hawkeye kept his eye open for his friend. Around noontime he spotted him heading for the hospital's cafeteria for lunch.
"Brad!" Hawkeye called after him and quickened his pace to catch his friend.
"Afternoon, Hawk." Brad greeted as he waited for the other doctor to catch up. "How are things today?"
"Fine." Hawkeye smiled when he reached him. "Listen, I'm sorry about being so abrupt about escorting Carrie's cousin to that banquet. I didn't mean to sound so harsh about it I've just been going through a tough time lately." His eyes clouded over slightly as he thought again of the woman he'd so recently lost when he'd come home from Korea.
"Are you okay?" Brad asked with concern as he noted the look in his friend's eyes.
"Yeah, I'm okay." Hawkeye assured him, though his tone was full of emotion.
"Do you care to talk about it?" Brad pressed, looking at his friend anxiously.
"There's not really much to tell." The other man said, looking down at his hands for a moment. After a brief hesitation he let out a heart-wrenching sigh and explained. "While I was in Korea I met the most incredible woman I've ever seen, fell in love with her, and then lost her when the war ended."
"Oh, Hawkeye, I had no idea." Brad's eyes turned sympathetic, as he finally understood the reason behind his friend's sorrowful moods. "Was she Korean?"
Hawkeye shook his head. "No, she was a nurse in my unit, Head Nurse actually, and the best nurse I have ever had the privilege of scrubbing with. She's smart, beautiful, full of life...and opinions." Brad smiled at the comment as Hawkeye's expression turned wistful. "Oh, how we hated each other when we first met. We couldn't say more than two words to each other without fighting." He paused for a minute as he remembered the spark in her eye when she was angry. "But then we became friends..."
"And then you fell in love." Brad added, a small smile on his face.
"Well, I fell in love with her." Hawkeye replied. "But, I don't know if she returned the feeling."
"Do you mean you never told her you loved her?" Brad exclaimed in surprise. Hawkeye shook his head, his eyes sad. "Why not?"
"Because I was afraid to, I was afraid that if she didn't feel the same that I would lose her as a friend." Hawkeye sighed deeply and added. "But a lot of good that did, I ended up loosing her anyway. After the war ended she went her way and I went mine."
"Have you ever tried to contact her?" Brad asked gently, his heart twisting for his friend.
"I wouldn't know where to begin." Hawkeye replied, his eyes brimming with tears again.
"How about her hometown?" Brad suggested thoughtfully. "Where's she from?"
"She doesn't have a hometown." Hawkeye replied. "She grew up in the army and moved from pillar to post with her family. I don't even know where her family is now."
"Maybe Carrie's cousin can help." Brad replied. "She grew up in the army too. Maybe she can find out where your friend is."
"Maybe." Hawkeye replied dully, not wanting to get his hopes up. "Speaking of Carrie's cousin. I was going to tell you that I'll take her to that banquet if you still want me to."
"Really?" Brad exclaimed, a large smile breaking over his face.
"Really." Hawkeye nodded in confirmation.
"That's great!" Brad exclaimed. "Hey, you never know, maybe she'll be able to help you locate the love of your life."
"Maybe." The other man replied sorrowfully. "You never know I guess."
"Why don't we grab a bite to eat." Brad exclaimed, grabbing his friend's arm and leading him towards the cafeteria. "We can work out the plans while we gag on the food."
Hawkeye chuckled slightly and said. "You want to gag on food you should have seen what they served us in Korea..."
Hawkeye sighed as he lazily pushed the porch swing back and forth. The winter air was chilly causing him to pull his coat tighter around him. He had been hoping that the fresh air and the cold would help him think clearer. His mind had been in complete turmoil since he had told Brad he'd escort Carrie's cousin to the banquet the following evening.
What have I gotten myself into? He silently moaned. I must be crazy to agree to a blind date. I'm not ready to see anyone. I don't want to see anyone.
Not true. His heart told him. You are ready to see someone. But you just don't know where that someone is at the moment.
I just have to get her out of my mind. His brain told his heart. I have to go on with my life and forget that I ever met what's-her-name.
You mean Major Margaret Houlihan. His heart replied. The woman who's been in all your thoughts and dreams since you left Korea.
She has not. His brain denied eagerly.
She has so. His heart firmly remarked. Every night you dream of her, every minute you think of her. Face it, you need her.