Another Rainy Day in Korea
"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day." The opening line of Jane Eyre kept running through my mind as I sat in my tent listening to the patter of the rain on the roof. It was another rainy day in Korea, just like many that had come before and many that would come after. The weather matched my mood perfectly.
I had just spent eight hours in surgery next to an unbearably whiny Frank. I knew my engagement had hurt him, but it'd been months and he'd had plenty of time to adjust. And yet there he was, complaining in my ear and insulting my professionalism. If I really had been as unprofessional as he accused I would've dropped everything right there and punched him in the face. It seemed to be the only thing to shut him up these days. How in the world could I have ever respected him? His surgical skills were subpar and his love making left a lot to be desired. At least he had learned not to show up at my tent unannounced. My tent had become my sanctuary and I revelled in the solitude.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Speak of the devil, I thought with a groan. To my surprise, it was actually Hawkeye at the door.
"What do you want?" I asked, annoyed that anyone had interrupted my few quiet moments alone.
"Here." He handed me a package.
"I'm delivering the mail today."
"No, you're not. I already got mine from Radar. Why are you out in this rain?"
I really had no idea what he was doing. And why did he look so solemn?
"It's from your parents."
"Both of them?" Mother and Dad had been divorced for years. I didn't think they had seen each other since they separated.
"In a way."
"What the hell is going on Hawkeye? What aren't you telling me?"
"I think you better open it first."
"Fine." I grabbed the package roughly out of his hands. My heart skipped a beat when I read the word 'hospital' on the return address.
"Maybe I should go," he said, turning away.
"No, come inside. If this is what I think it is, I'll need the company."
We both walked inside and sat down. I stared at the package in my hand.
"I don't think it'll explode," he joked.
"No, but I might."
"Good point." I took a deep breath and tore open the box. There was a note on top in my mother's handwriting:
I hate to send you something like this with no warning, but there wasn't time.
He said he wanted you to have this. I know in his own harsh way he loved you.
I'll try to call soon. I miss you, sweetie.
All my love,
I sat there, not daring to look inside the box. What in the world would he have left me? With my luck it would turn out to be army boots or something else practical.
"I can't believe it."
"Are you ok?"
"Not really." I shared the note from my mother with him.
"I'm so sorry." He sat beside me on the bed.
I looked down at the package. I finished unwrapping it and gasped. It was a beautiful jewlery box that I had never seen before. I lifted the lid and a sweet melody started to play. My eyes filled up with tears. It was one of the loveliest things I had ever seen. There was another note inside. I passed it to Hawkeye because I could barely read through my tears.
"This belonged to your grandmother. I had planned to give it as a wedding present, but things don't always go as planned, do they? From Dad."
It was the most loving thing he had ever done for me and now he was gone.
"He wasn't a great dad, you know."
"So you've mentioned."
"But he's the only one I had. I just wish I knew if he was proud of me."
"I'm sure he was. Besides, no one gives gifts like this to people they're ashamed of."
"Thanks." I smiled softly. "I'm glad you're the one who delivered it. I wasn't in the mood to deal with Frank today."
"You're welcome, Major." He stood up. "Well, you probably want to be alone right now."
"If you don't mind." I walked him to the door. "Thanks again." I stood up on my tiptoes and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
He smiled. "I'll see you later."
Then he turned around and walked back into the rain.