AUTHOR'S NOTE: I do not own M*A*S*H or any of the characters within the show.
It had been almost four months since Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt had been sent home from Korea. When he had come home, he and his wife, Peg, had been ecstatic to see each other. As the days had continued on, both had expected to settle into a normal routine. However, a few months later it was clear that what had developed between them was anything but normal. Something was wrong.
"B.J., dinner's ready." Peg said from the kitchen as she put his food on a plate.
"Can you bring it in here?" B.J. called back from the other room. Peg sighed, put their daughter Erin (who was almost 2 ½ now) in her playpen, and went to go bring B.J. his dinner in their bedroom.
"Honey, are you sure you want to eat in here again?" Peg asked as she entered the room hesitantly. B.J. had been eating almost all of his meals in their room for the past couple months. "I hate to think of you eating alone."
"Its fine, Peg." B.J. replied quickly as he grabbed his dinner and sat back down on the bed. He looked closely at the food, almost as if he was avoiding looking at her.
"Ok then." Peg sat down quietly on the bed next to him. "So, how was your day? Did you have any luck finding a job?"
"No." B.J. replied as he started to eat. He had been out of work ever since he had come back from Korea, and although he had been looking for a job, he had not had any luck finding one. "It's no surprise, though. I mean, nobody wants to hire a washed-up surgeon from Korea."
"B.J., you're not a washed up surgeon." Peg said gently. "You're a young doctor with his whole future ahead of him. It'll be ok." Before she could say more, however, she heard Erin fussing in the other room. "I have to go take care of Erin. Are you sure you're ok in here by yourself?"
"I told you, its fine." B.J. answered with an irritated tone.
"Ok." Peg answered. She stepped out of his room, and as she closed their bedroom door, she hung her head. She was about ready to start crying, but remembered that she had to take care of Erin. She fed her, bathed her, and put her to bed, hoping that sometime during that stretch B.J. would come out of his bedroom. But he didn't.
As soon as Erin was asleep, Peg went back into her and B.J.'s room to make sure her husband was ok. She wanted to talk to him, but he was asleep. Not a surprise, really. She looked around their room and spotted an old box of B.J.'s things from Korea. She quietly grabbed the box and stepped out into the living room.
As she sat down on the couch she looked at the box and thought to herself. "Maybe something in here will help me figure out what's been going on with B.J." As she started to look through it, she thought about all that had changed these last six months.
B.J. had been overjoyed for about a month after coming home from Korea. However, that was when problems started coming up. For one thing, he still hadn't been able to find a job at that point, which started to frustrate him. Because of that, Peg had to go out and start working. She would leave Erin with a friend so that B.J. could keep going out and looking for work. But despite the fact that B.J. hardly saw Erin and Peg during the day while they were gone, he had no interest in seeing them when they got home. In fact, what had happened that evening was almost a ritual. Peg would make dinner, and B.J. would eat it in his room while Peg took care of their daughter, hoping he would eventually come out of his room and be with them. But he rarely did.
As she thought about his withdrawal, she pulled out a picture of him with a few of his M*A*S*H buddies in it. Next to him were a tall, dark haired man, a shorter, older gentleman, and a young man wearing a dress. What stood out to her most, though, was her husband's beaming smile in the picture.
"You smiled over there." Peg muttered to herself with a sigh. "Why can't you smile here?"
She continued to think. It wasn't just that he had withdrawn; he had also started having outbursts of anger. He would get irritated over the littlest things, and would sometimes even yell at her. This confused her, because he had never been an angry man before. In fact, his gentle, loving spirit made him a fantastic husband and father, and was one of the many things she loved about him. But that gentleness seemed to have left him sometime while he was in Korea. She wished she could figure out why, but there was no way that she could since B.J. refused to talk about Korea.
The first week that he had returned home, he had mentioned Korea only briefly. "What matters is that I'm here at home, with you. That's what I want to think about." is what he had told her. He had promised her that after he had some time to mentally process everything that went on in Korea he would tell her about it. However, that time never came. In fact, now he rarely even acknowledged that he had been in Korea. He refused to talk about it. Peg gleaned more information from the letters he had sent her while he was overseas than from anything he had told her since he had returned.
As she continued digging through the box, she found an old letter addressed to her from B.J. "Hmm." she thought to herself. "This must be something he wrote in Korea that never got sent in the mail" She opened it up and started to read, hoping for some piece of information that might explain his change in behavior. Most of the letter seemed to be about various events that had happened at the 4077. However, one line stood out to her. A few pages into the letter, B.J. had written a couple of sentences that although had been intended to bring joy, brought sadness instead.
"I've looked back on this letter and discovered that it's been two pages since I told you how much I love you. It's two pages later, and I love you even more."
As Peg looked at those words, tears started to pour down her face. Life had been so crazy these last few months. She had been working hard to take care of Erin, trying to reach B.J., and hold the household together, all while dealing with health problems of her own. The worst part, though, was that she had no support from B.J.
"Two pages since I love you?" Peg said to herself. "More like months." With that, she packed the letter up, set the box back up on the table, laid down on the couch and tried to fall asleep. But all she could do was think about how she would handle tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Because to be honest, she wasn't sure how many more of these days she could take.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hello readers! I know this is a short chapter, but believe me, there is so much more to come. Don't stop reading yet because I am actively working on this story (I already have 10 chapter written that I am in the process of editing, and I have more to write as well). If you are at all interested in the story line, I recommend following the story so that you can see when I post updates. Please post any compliments or constructive criticisms you may have. I love to hear from readers, and I usually respond to whatever your comment is. Also, if you like what you are reading, be sure to check out some of my other works (I have several other M*A*S*H stories and stories in other genres as well). Thank you for reading!