After 16 hours of cutting and stitching in the OR, I was absolutely beat. I felt like I just went to hell and back. I threw my bloody rubber gloves on the floor and sat down in the lockers. My legs felt like lead and my arms were like pudding after I tried to keep them from shaking when I had to amputate a 17 year old kid's arm. My mind wanted to shut down from all this and my body wasn't far from giving in. Hawkeye told me that after two weeks I'll get the hang of it and feel less bad about ruining a child's life. I surely hoped he was right because if I would not toughen up I would hang myself on my third day.
"Hey, Anne…How are you hanging up? Today was really bad; we don't usually get wounds like this." Hawk said as he entered the room.
"I think I'm fine, a bit too tired to really feel anything right now. Let's go to the Swamp, get drunk and then sleep till the war ends, how does that sound?"
"Devine, it sounds perfect to me. Now let's go, I bet today is a good year."
We went to our tent and I crashed on the bed, sighing as my head hit the pillow. I started thinking about all this; I was living in a tent with two guys, doing butcher work in the OR, drinking like an alcoholic and falling in love with the most womanizing man in the camp, Hawkeye Pierce. Maybe the fact that I was crushing on him like a teenager was because the war traumatized me and I was developing a sort of Stockholm syndrome by falling in love with the person most close to me. It was weird that after two days in this dump I met, befriended and crushed on a man, a beautiful, handsome man that is. My train of thought was suddenly broken by a martini glass placed between my hands.
"Are you ok, Anne? You looked like you were in a trance." Hawk said, his eyes showing his worry.
"I am fine, waiting for my drink; someday I hope I'll get used to pouring antifreeze down my throat. "
"Well I think that one day I'll shock my liver by drinking some water. By now I think the poor thing is floating in this thing. Well Anne, cheers!"
"Cheers!" I said feeling the burning liquid slide down my throat.
"What year is it?" BJ said while nearly crawling to his bed.
"I think it's the XXth century but I'm not so sure." I said looking at him.
"Hey, Anne, BJ, are you coming to lunch? I want to see if it's two weeks ago dinner or a weeks ago stake." Hawk said getting up and getting dressed in his uniform.
"Yea, sure, I'm coming. I want to get a cup of mud before I faint. Are you coming, Beej or you want me to bring some mud for you?" I asked the passed out man in the cot. He was fast asleep so I covered him with the puke-green blanket.
"I don't think he's coming, Hawk. He's nearly dead by all this exhaustion."
"Well then, darling. Where would you like to eat? I heard the Ritz restaurant is pretty good." Hawk said taking my hand and leading me to the canteen.
After an impossible to eat lunch and a cup of coffee, also known as mud, we retired to our tent where we both fell asleep in Hawk's cot. I never liked sleeping alone in bed, it made me feel unsafe, but in Hawkeye's arms, even if we were in the middle of a war I felt protected. It was weird how in a hopeless place, relationships grow faster and stronger than anywhere else. BJ was now my best friend and like a brother to me, Colonel Potter was the father figure in my mind and Father Mulcathy was the one I could come at for advice. I had a little family here and I was happy between all the death and shelling I got to actually bond with some amazing people that I could never forget.
When I woke up, the sun had long gone down and the camp was full of people going in and out of the mess tent. BJ was shaving in the tent while singing what sounded like Carmen. Hawkeye was still asleep and his arms were wrapped around my waist, my head against his chest. As I tried to get up, his arms tightened around me and he groaned in his sleep.
"Hey, Sleeping Beauty, time to wake up. Come on, Hawk, a dinner from WWI is waiting for us in the mess tent and then the nice, cold, moldy showers. Hopefully our lovely still can make the quantity of gin that I want." I told the fallen Captain as I got out of bed and into my boots.
"Yea, yea, I'm coming… hope that World War dinner you promised is old enough not to have a taste."
"I'm betting on that. Imagine that, the first time since I came here when food wouldn't taste like Klinger's socks." BJ replied while he laced his boots.
"Hello, Captains, mail's here." Radar said as he got into our tent.
"Is there anything for me, Radar? I was hoping that my folks wrote me something." I said looking at Radar with hope in my eyes.
"Well, let me see, Hawkeye you have two letters, one from your congressman and one from your father, BJ you have two letters, one from Peg and one from your daughter and Frost, you get one letter from your father and one from Roxanne Stevenson, who's that?"
"Oh my Gosh, my little sister wrote to me? How sweet! Please give me the letters before I rip your hand off in desperation." I told the half frightened, half happy corporal.
"Here you go, ma'am. Oh, and I found another one for you, it's from Abigail Kaine."
"That's my best friend. I love her immensely but sometimes I think she has a Major in being a pain in the derriere. I hope she is alright, she cried herself to exhaustion before I left."
"I am sure she's as good as it can get. Now, what did your parents write to you?"
"Well, let me read it first. Oh, that's great news! My family finally moved in the new house. We worked 3 years to build that house and guess what, we have a pool too."
"Great news, Anne, congratulations! What about your Friend, what did she write? I bet it's important if she disturbed you from war for this." Hawk said winking at me.
"Ha, ha, ha! Let's see…Oh, no! She broke up with her boyfriend. I always tell her to look out for men like these. She is a really nice girl but she never knew how to pick them, she chooses way below her."
"Well at least he's gone now. She still hurts but the jerk is gone!" Radar said with compassion in his eyes, God, I love that kid!
"You're perfectly right! Now, BJ what about Peg what did she say? Is everything alright back home?"
"Yes, everything's perfectly fine…" BJ said losing himself in the letter.
That man really loved his wife, hawk told me that when he cheated on her he was devastated and felt awful. Thinking from his side I understood why he did it, in this place you get lonely and in need for consolation and if I would be in Peg's place I would forgive him because being so far away from home and in a war it's more than enough punishment.
"Come on Hawk, Radar, let's leave BJ alone for a while, I think he needs to read that letter alone." I said seeing that tears started lining poor BJ's eyes.
"Yes, sure, darling. You promised me tasteless food that might be so old that my grandpa could've tasted it in his 20's." Hawkeye replied while gently shoving Radar out of the tent.
"Oh, how my heart leaps at that thought…I can't wait to feel the slimy goo we call food slide down my throat without leaving an old vomit-like aftertaste."
*At the mess tent*
The line was long and everyone heard the rumor about the food. When mine and Hawkeye's turn finally arrived, the cook announced that the WWI food was over and that they were now serving three days ago stew. I could have sworn something moved in it as I sat down at the table.
"Well, I don't think this day could get any more miserable." Hawk said while sniffing the food.
"ATTENTION ALL PERSONEL, ATTENTION ALL PERSONEL! INCOMING WOUNDED, I REPEAT, INCOMING WOUNDED…"
"Oh, you just had to open your mouth, didn't you?" I hissed at him as I got up along with him.
Don't you just love war?
Thank you for the amazing reviews! Hopefully, I'll hear from you soon. BTW sorry for the short chapter but, I wrote it in the plane, so it's hard too get imagination when you are almost breathing another man's air.