It was another day in the Swamp during the ongoing war. I awoke to BJ being beside me, staring at a picture of Peg and Erin. I stared at him a little longer than I probably should’ve, but I just couldn't take my eyes off of him.
“Everything okay, Hawkeye?”
“Oh, yeah. Why?”
“I could feel your eyes on me. Are you sure that you’re alright?”
“I am. No worries.”
I could never tell him exactly how much I adore him, how badly I want to be more than just friends. His laugh, the way his nose crinkles when he laughs, everything about him drives me wild. I know that we could never be together that way, and if we did, someone would find out and throw us out of service. Not that I want to be here, but I can’t afford to get kicked out of the only thing paying the bills. Besides, what would my father say? How would he feel if he knew that I was in love with a man, who was a fellow captain, and not some nurse? I couldn’t do that to him. Aside from myself, BJ has Peg Not to mention their two kids, and the life that they have built together. Seeing him miss his family makes me really put things into perspective. I can’t be a homewrecker, and I can’t admit my feelings. I should just get away from all of this, and head to work. That should be easier than dealing with all of this emotional junk, while the one man that I want is completely spoken for, and then some.
I headed into the operating room, preparing for the worst. To my surprise, everyone had almost fully recovered. I was then led into the x-ray room by Margaret who noticed that I had been distracted.
“Everything okay, Captain Pierce?”
“Margaret, please don’t call me that.”
“Okay. Is everything okay, Hawkeye?”
“That’s better. However, I don’t think I am.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“I’m in love with BJ.”
She didn’t say anything, she just stared at me in shock. I was starting to feel more anxious as she grew quiet.
“I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting that so early. Does he know?”
“He can’t know. He’s happy with his wife and kids. Imagine if he were to find out. He would never talk to me after that. I can’t go through another person leaving without saying ‘goodbye’ again. Remember when I told Trapper?”
“I remember. I’m sorry he had to leave, Hawkeye. Just try and tell him. He might feel the same way.”
“I don’t think so. Every time he talks about his life that’s far away, he gets this gleam in his eyes that he never has when I’m around.”
“You don’t know what we see when you’re not around.”
“Oh really? And that would be?”
“Every time you’re not here, be it because you’re in Seoul or that time you went to Tokyo all by yourself, he looked like a lost puppy who didn’t know what to do. And do you remember that time you almost worked yourself to death?”
“Do you remember how he caught you when you just about fell?”
“He’s just a friend, Margaret. That’s just how he shows that he cares.”
“He never does any of that with us. Not even with the Colonel.”
I decided to sit down to process everything. I just didn’t know what to say. It can’t be that he cares, and it can’t be that he truly likes me in the way that I do with him. It’s just not possible. Just then, the colonel walked in, and inspected everything.
“Everything looks good on your end here, Hawkeye.”
“Thank you, Colonel.”
“Of course. Now, why do you look like you got kicked by a horse?”
“No reason, Colonel.”
“Really? I’d say otherwise. A nurse?”
“Oh! A doctor? Major perhaps?”
“Not a major.”
“WHAT?! I mean, no.”
“Sure Hawkeye. Klinger told me everything. You’re forgetting the fact that he can hear everything.”
I couldn’t say anything. Not that I would want to, but this is just unorthodox. A man in the military can’t be in love with another military man. They always leave, and never speak to one another after the war is over. I’ve been told beforehand.
“You’re awfully quiet there, Hawkeye.”
“I’m sorry colonel, it's just that, well, it’s BJ.”
“Ah, infatuation. I remember thinking that way of Mildred when I first saw her. Why don’t you tell him how you feel?”
“I couldn’t do that. Mind you he’s married.”
“Is he happy, though?”
“He seems like it. I just can’t can’t tell.”
“Seeing and being are two different things, Pierce. Mind you, just because you seem fine on the outside doesn’t mean that you truly are. You should know.”
“What if he is?”
“And what if he isn’t?”
“No ‘but’s’, Hawkeye. You go back into that tent of yours, and ask BJ if he’s truly happy, and I don’t want to see you back here until you do. That’s a direct order.”
I couldn’t argue with a direct order. Those could get me thrown out, and I need to be here. I found BJ sitting next to the still. I had to ask him, but I couldn’t form the right thoughts. My mind was going a million miles a minute. Until he finally spoke.
“Oh, uh, hey BJ.”
How could I tell this man that I wanted to be with him without saying those words?
“Missing your dad?”
“Yes, but also no. Are you happy?”
“Happy to be here? No.”
“Happy to be away from my wife and kids? No.”
“Happy to be in the Korean heat? No.”
“BJ! Are you happy in your marriage?”
I heard the words come out of my mouth, and I shuddered. It wasn’t a good feeling.
“Happy in my marriage?”
“Y’know, with Peg. Look, I didn’t-”
“Shut it, Hawkeye.”
“That’s a stupid question. Of course I’m happy in my marriage. What type of question even is that?”
“I-I didn’t mean anything, I was just, well, curious. That’s all.”
“Curious? Curious?! The only people who are ‘curious’ when someone is in a relationship, and or marriage, are those who want to ruin them!”
“It was a genuine question, BJ…”
“Sure it was, Hawkeye.”
I decided to leave. There wasn’t any point in trying to reason with him. Especially if he’s going to be like this. I decided that it was best to report back to the colonel and tell him everything that had happened. He’d know what to say.
“Pierce! Oh no. Come here.”
It was like the Colonel could read my face.
“Are you okay, Pierce?”
I cried. The Colonel pulled me into a hug, which he never really did before.
“Tell me what happened, Hawkeye.”
“It was awful! He wouldn’t let me get a word in, and when I did, he exploded on me! Am I the bad guy?”
“Of course not. Did he talk over you?”
“Then he’s in the wrong. Had he had just listened to you, I'm sure this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I am. Besides, anyone would be happy to have you in their lives. Here, there’s $20, go to Rosie’s and have a nice time.”
“Colonel, a martini is only $2.”
“Doesn’t matter. Once you’re done there, go to the supply closet. It’ll be empty for you, there should be a cot already there. If not, there’s one tucked away in there somewhere.”
“Thanks, Colonel. What’ll I do if BJ wants to talk?”
“Give him five minutes. If he doesn’t make a good point in five minutes, ignore him. Don’t let him ruin your outing.”
“What if you guys need me?”
“We can manage with no problems. Now go and have fun. Remember what I said, though.”
“Of course, sir.”
I followed the colonel’s advice and went to Rosie’s. To my surprise, it was relatively empty. Except for the lady of the hour and Igor. I guess everyone else had better things to do.
“What can I get you, Hawkeye?”
“A very, very dry martini.”
“Of course, sir.”
I hunched over the bar, and played with my hands while I waited. Unfortunately, BJ entered.
Did he forget what happened earlier? I know very damn well that I didn’t make any of that up.
“Oh, come on-”
“Look, you really hurt me, you fuck. I couldn’t even get a word in without you blowing up at me. Fuck you, BJ.”
“Oh Hawkeye, don’t be that way.”
“You have five minutes to give me an actual reason to forgive you.”
“Okay, number one, I’ve had people try and come between my marriage before.”
“Uh huh. Another reason. You have four minutes remaining.”
I was so thankful that my martini was done.
“Number two, I was caught off guard.”
“Number three, I really like you, but I don’t think it would work.”
“Sure, and I’m supposed to believe that?”
“Hawkeye, I'm married.”
“Like that ever stopped anybody before.”
“I’m not Trapper!”
“Of course you’re not! Trapper actually gave a fuck about my feelings! He took time to understand me! He actually wanted me!”
“I never said that!”
“Go fuck yourself, BJ. Who makes you happier?”
“This is ridiculous! You make me happy in the sense of a college roommate, Peg’s my wife!”
“That just answered my question.”
I went silent, and ordered as many martini’s as I could while feeling BJ’s eyes on me.
“If you keep drinking like that, you’re going to wind up dead.”
“So be it! We all end up the same way anyway.”
“I won’t sit here and watch you drink yourself to death!”
“That’s fine! You can stand.”
“You are such an asshole, Hawkeye.”
“At least I’m not yours! Any man, or woman, would be fucking grateful to have me!”
“Sure they would. Hawkeye. A drunkard like yourself is a real catch.”
“I don’t need to hear any of this.”
I paid for my drinks, and walked out the door. It started raining, and I was without anything to keep me warm. Just then, Klinger came out to see if I was okay.
“Everything okay, Hawkeye?”
“Not one bit.”
“Let me help you.”
“Lead the way.”
I let Klinger guide me since he was better at it when I was too drunk to stand.
“Some bad night, huh?”
“It surely is.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“I couldn’t bother you with my problems.”
“Either you talk, or I’ll model some lingerie in order to make you talk”
“Don’t wear the white or pink lingerie with the strawberries on it. Wear that black negligee that I love.”
“You’ve never seen me in that, sir. Also, they’re not strawberries, they’re cherries.”
“My mistake, Klinger. Forgive me?”
“With a cute face like that? How could I not forgive you? Now, I’m not going to pressure you into telling me all of your problems, but when you’re ready to talk, I’m here.”
I saw Klinger head to the door, but something in me told me to stop him.
“I-I wanna talk.”
“I’m all ears.”
I told him about the whole BJ fiasco that I had gotten myself involved in. I asked him what his opinion was.
“Honestly, you didn’t deserve any of that. It’s not your fault that you’re in love with a married man. You can’t control that. BJ just needs to wake up and realize that love, or lust, isn’t just handed to you. Given your emotional bond to BJ, I’m just shocked that this didn’t happen sooner. As for the bar scene, I would’ve just thrown my drink in his face, but that’s just me. Never settle for less than what you're worth, Hawkeye. It doesn’t work out well if you do.”
“Thanks, Klinger. I mean that.”
“Of course, Hawkeye. Now, how about I take you to bed?”
“You’re the first person to offer me that.”
“Haha, very funny.”
Klinger grabbed the cot for me, set out a pillow with a blanket, and even tucked me into bed.
“Thank you, Klinger.”
“Of course, Hawkeye. I’ll be in the next room. Yell if you need anything.”
“I will. Thank you.”
Klinger kissed the top of my head. It was very platonic.
The next morning came, and I felt like sheer hell.
“How’re you feeling, Hawkeye?”
It was Klinger.
“I feel like hell.”
“Here, I brought you a glass of water and a couple of aspirins. This should help with the dehydration problems, and the headache.”
“What are you, my nurse?”
“Are you going to pay me?”
“For you, I’ll do it for free.”
“Now, the Colonel’s gonna come in and check on you. Would you like me to leave any certain notes?”
“Just tell him not to raise his voice too much.”
“Of course, sir. See you soon, sir.”
“See you soon, Klinger.”
After what felt like an eternity, Colonel Potter came in.
“How are you feeling?”
“Slightly better than before. Still have a nagging headache, though.”
“I understand. You’re taking the day off.”
“What about the wounded?”
“We’ll manage. Hunnicutt does want to see you, though. Should I send Klinger in here once that happens?”
“Please do. He seems to be on my side here.”
“So is Major Houlihan, Major Winchester, Father Mulcahy, and myself. Klinger told us about everything over breakfast. We even sat away from BJ.”
“We're on your side until the end. Besides, BJ could’ve had a civilized conversation, but he apparently didn't want to.”
“Thank you, Colonel.”
“Of course, Pierce. BJ wants to talk to you, though.”
Just like that, it rained harder.
Colonel Potter left, and in walked BJ.
“Can we talk?”
“Do we have to?”
“I’d like to.”
“I feel bad about last night.”
“Is this an apology?”
“It’s a bad apology.”
“Hear me out.”
“I didn’t mean to make you feel the way that you did, it’s just, I wasn’t expecting it.”
“You didn’t have to yell at me, or be snippy. You could’ve just given me a simple ‘no’ and move on. But no, you didn’t want that. Good day, BJ.”
BJ left without saying another word. I decided to lay back down and take it easy. I called for Klinger, who came in sooner than I anticipated, and dimmed the lights for me.
“Anything else, sir? Actual food perhaps?”
“That would be nice.”
“Coming right up.”
Klinger left and got me a hot meal. I’m not sure where he found apple cinnamon oatmeal from, but honestly, I don’t really care. It was nice. I listened to the sounds of the rain as I ate, and didn’t think about anything for the rest of the day today. I know tomorrow I’ll have to face BJ again, but for now, that can wait. I’m happy where I’m at.