Margaret Houlihan walked into the living room and sat on the sofa. She saw a photo, placed behind some others sitting on the table beside the sofa. She picked it up and smiled at the man in the picture. It was her old friend Hawkeye Pierce. She loved remembering him, when she did she thought of his, what some people may call roundabout humour, and his smile. She loved his smile.
She was in such a concentrated state of mind she barely registered the noise of the oven timer buzzing at her. When it repeated the sound she realised and placed the photo back on the table. Margaret got up and went into the kitchen. She walked over to the oven and opened the door, to find her cake which she had been baking, slightly blackened. She placed the cake on the cooling rack, it wasn't that burnt and it would pass. At least it was better than anything she ever ate in Korea. Burning the food there may have just given it flavour.
A little while later Margaret was cleaning up her chest of drawers in her bedroom. She sat on the floor and searched through the drawers throwing out anything that didn't need to be kept any longer. She found an old pair of earrings. She and her best friend Lorraine Anderson had made them, the two girls had stolen some of their father's medals and melted them down to make earrings. Margaret smiled as she recalled this memory, she wished sometimes that she could still be that girl who melted down the medals.
Deciding to keep the earrings Margaret placed them into a small pink box she found sitting in the drawer and put the box down beside her. Reaching back into the drawer Margaret found a bunch of old photos, some of them were stuck together so she carefully pulled them apart. Picking the top photo she saw it was of her, she was dressed in a black dress of Japanese style and design. Looking at the photo she remembered the night she wore it, it was Halloween in Korea. She remembered that night, the 4077th MASH where she had been stationed during her time in Korea was supposed to be having a Halloween party that night but had been interrupted by wounded, which was unfortunately a frequent occurence for the doctors and nurses of the 4077th.
Margaret put the photo down next to her and looked at the next one. It was of herself and Hawkeye. Looking at the photo brought back many memories. Hawkeye was one of Margaret's greatest memories of Korea. During the three long seemingly ceaseless years in the war torn country he had been there for her whenever she needed him. Many times she would be hurt and lonely and she just needed someone to lean on. Hawkeye was this person, even to this day he meant a great deal to her. She wondered what he was doing these days, whether he was still in Crabapple Cove or whether he had moved on. She didn't know.
Over the years they had kept in touch but gradually they drifted apart. It was a case of two friends of war realising peace is a hard time to have the friends you had during war. The war had brought them together, without it why did they need each other? During the war the basis of their deep seated friendship had mainly been based on sorrow and fear. Happiness was something of a rare commodity in war time so having happiness in peace time was hard for such a friendship. Perhaps this was the reason they had drifted apart. Margaret wasn't sure.
She wondered if their friendship would have been the same if they had met in peace time. Then she thought she probably wouldn't have given a man like Hawkeye Pierce the time of day if they had met in peace time. She was glad they met when and where they did as it was the springboard for their relationship.
The next photo Margaret pulled out was of her and Sherman Potter. That man had been a saving grace for Margaret, in a different way to Hawkeye of course, to her he had been like the father she had always wanted but never had. He had probably passed away by now. "Such a dear sweet man." Margaret said, looking at the ex-Colonel.
The next photo was of the entire 4077th gang. These people had meant so much to Margaret. Especially Hawkeye. Each of them meant something to her in their own unique way. Hawkeye for his special and unique friendship, Sherman for his fatherly influence and advice, BJ Hunnicutt for his friendship and support, Max Klinger for his willingness to give to others. Although Max Klinger had not been a great friend of Margaret's during the war she had always had a soft spot for the Lebanese ex-Sergeant. Also there was Charles Emerson Winchester, the man who could say something that was probably meaningful yet no one could understand it. His high class was something Margaret respected although she didn't always like it. The next person was Father Francis Mulcahy, a kind and gentle priest who could with one swoop of his hand knock out even the toughest opponent. Next was Radar O'Reilly a remarkable young man he had the ability to hear things before they happened which was very useful to the 4077th when wounded soldiers would be carried in on choppers to the MASH unit.
These people were her past. A past she would quite likely never forget. And she didn't particularly want to either.
Margaret led a nice life, although she had never married she was of the mindset that women didn't always need men to make them feel complete. Although she missed the one man she would have gladly married, but it probably would have been too hard and they would probably end up hating each other because of how their friendship worked. It was about supporting one another when they were down, and it had flourished during war time, but it would have struggled during peace. Because of its nature not because she or Hawkeye didn't want it to.
Margaret placed the photos back in the drawer. They would stay there until another time when she would clean out the drawer and recall her past again.
It was a time in her life never forgotten, always remembered and cherished, despite the hardships she was glad she had the opportunity to meet those wonderful people who are kept in a special place in her heart.
Margaret got up and walked to the door. She closed it. Remembering, never forgetting the memories.
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