"Antithesis"

 

 

by Jimaine

 

 

Pairing: Hawkeye/Trapper. Hawk's POV

Rating: PG

Archive: I'd like to book a tent at mash-slash! Non-smoking, king-size cot and with en suite

latrine and still. And a weekend residence at T'Len's & Lady Charena's place.

Summary: Hawkeye-ish ramblings about contrasts, olives and faith.

Disclaimer: None of this is my own. MASH and the characters belong to 20th Century Fox and

the bible stuff belongs to a bunch of other guys who lived and died long before the idea of

copyright crossed anybody's mind.

 

Unlike those chroniclers of long ago, I'm not profiting from my works of fiction, and I apologize if

I sound a bit too flip on matters of religion and faith. Don't take it personally, please.

 

 

Black and white, love and hate, war and peace.

Life is governed by comparisons and contradictions, and ours especially so.

Good things are only good because we have the bad things to distinguish them from. And even

bad things can be good when something worse comes along.

Happens on a daily basis, sure as someone calling 'Choppers!'

Like everything in life, 'good' is defined not by what it is but by what it is *not*. Something is

'good' because of its differences from similar concepts such as 'all right' or 'so-so'.

 

No one but a stranger called Peace could take the cross of war off our shoulders, but no one else

wants the job. There's blood dripping from the heavy wooden beams that bend our backs,

reduce us to stooping puppets in khaki and our steps to a slow shuffle.

The nurses who sponge our sweaty faces and supply us with instant orange juice can bring only

minimal relief.

 

Horrible Friday (Good only in name) is slowly progressing towards 'tolerable', and as the sun

sets, I can rest my scalpel and take off my crown of shell-fragments to retreat into the garden of

Gethsemane aka The Swamp. There, as we always do at the end of a 48-hour day (imagine the

paper that could be saved if the Army printed calendars with only three and a half days per

week, none of them holidays) we descend into silent introspection.

We need this silence after the pained moans and screams and the occasional shell rattling the

anything-but-gilded cage the war keeps us in.

 

More importantly, I need you, the peace I can find only in you and nowhere else, each kiss a

shadow of meaning to me. I've gotten used to feeling all confused and comforted at the same

time. Love...a constant opposite of itself, just like my hatred for this war is the exact opposite of

my love for you.

 

Are you ever afraid of death, I wonder, or are you already way past that, having gone straight to

the 'too afraid of being afraid' stage?

Myself, I'm filing it away for never-contemplation as I hold out my glass for a refill. That's one

cup that never passes me by.

 

Could be a little cooler, though.

 

"Tell ya what, Trap, the heat is driving me crazy." No reaction from you.

After today's session, it obviously takes more than weather-talk to get your attention. "Yesterday

at the officer's club I almost offered the barkeeper my head for a banana daiquiri. It's simply

inhuman to make people pull 36-hour shifts at yo-yo temperatures." Still no reaction. I'm not

kidding about the weather, though.

 

A week ago, it still was snowing and we were bribing the rats to crawl into our cots and keep our

feet warm at night, and now it's a toasty, humid almost-30-degrees celsius. We're marinating in

our own sweat while pickling the inside with moonshine.

 

Without you, the summers in this place would be winters, every little thing turned into its direct

opposite just by the lack of you. Who knows, I might be drinking water, be celibate and read

'Stars and Stripes' instead of 'The Joys of Nudity' if you didn't keep the martinis coming,

complete with a seductive smile. Liquid love as opposed to the solidity of you. Lost in thought,

I'm stirring the clear liquid with the olive...huh...never noticed how much we have in common with

olives. They, too, look like draftees.

 

"Hey, Trapper, what came first, the Army or the olive?"

 

Now, the riposte comes immediately, "Got a little too close to the ether on your last patient?"

 

Ever so efficient, the Army manages to invade every layer of a life that's already lacking

dimension, the Army's present everywhere, even in the beverage we consume to forget that we're

part of it. "Someone should invent olives of a more cheerful color", I state gravely. "Maybe

yellow."

Yes, a sunny, buttercup yellow like that bathrobe you're wearing. A garment irrationally different

from all the non-colors surrounding us.

 

My brilliant idea goes uncommented by you. Oh well...

 

Difference is all there is to life. Yesterday differs from today, today from tomorrow, but there are

no fixed boundaries barring change and separating virtue from vice, white from black. We can

categorize, classify, separate and differentiate all we want, it's of no use. In the end, colored lines

on a map and physical barriers don't count, they fade and dissolve.

And in this place they don't even develop.

 

I only hear you the second time. "Hey, Hawk! Your olive's drying out. Another?"

 

"Does MacArthur smoke?" You make all virtue seem bizarre, white seeping into black, creating

gray.

 

What we have together is defined by everything around us that's not us. Gray is non-existent until

there's you. You're gray. My gray area.

 

Here in our Calvary.

 

For us surgeons, there's only life and death. That's the one and only boundary we recognize and it

can be crossed only in one direction. One hundred and fifty-three people came through here

today on this 'Good' Friday, their lives pouring through our hands, and thirty slipped between our

fingers, beyond help.

For us, yes. And what about God?

Thirty today, thirty tomorrow...and the day after tomorrow. Each death a nail driven through my

palms and feet.

Thirty, like the thirty pieces of silver Judas betrayed Jesus for.

Thirty lives.

Jesus makes thirty-one.

 

I envy Father Mulcahy the comfort of his faith (I imagine that like every priest in every war there

ever was and will be, he is feeling the strain of the secular world most acutely these days) for it

gives him one more option aside from life and death: resurrection.

 

Come Monday, what about these thirty who died today?

 

This question needs answering, so I put down the glass and rise.

 

"You leaving? I thought we had plans for tonight."

 

The aches of the body will have to wait till later, right now I need some triage for my soul. Well,

the remnants of it anyway, the few pieces that I haven't yet lost in patients or alcohol or you.

"I won't be long, Trap", I promise and reach out to ruffle your blond curls before leaving the tent

quietly.

 

Yeah, I'll be back in my gray area soon, my comfort zone between night and day, dreams and

reality. As for the rest of the world - let them misunderstand, let them mistake black for white, let

the gray blind them for another night.

 

 

 

FINIS