The Boxer

by PlsLouise

Dear Dad,

It's late at night here and I really should be trying to get some shut-eye, but I can't. The last few days have been eventful and left me thinking more than what's healthy for a guy my age. So I thought I'd bend your ear for a while.

See, everyone here at the 4077th recently found themselves taking care of an orphaned Korean boy--or we thought he was orphaned--a great little kid named Kim. Out the middle of this lousy war emerged a bright spot of light, all innocence and delight, who, without even trying, began to steal our hearts. Most of all, Trapper's.

I know I've told you a lot about Trapper, Dad. About how behind the shrewdness of a surgeon and determination of a boxer, is a real softie. But there's other times, like when things have gone bad with a patient, or if news of the war seems hopeless, that I see how things affect him probably more strongly than the most of us. I don't know how to explain it . . . but when you live, eat, work and play with a guy you get to know him pretty damned well. While we're all going to go home with scars of one sort or another, sometimes I worry Trapper's will be deeper.

In the short time Kim was with us, while we were waiting for word of family members or, failing that, to get him safely to an orphanage, Trapper fell in love with the little guy. And when it became pretty apparent Kim was orphaned, Trapper got it into his head to adopt him and send him home to his own family. I don't think his main motive was to do something right in this gigantic wrong we're experiencing, to be a hero where one was needed. Nothing like that. First and foremost, he was just plain stuck on the kid. And when his wife sent her blessings for the plan Trapper was over the moon. Beside himself. It was hilarious watching him.

To make a long story short, in fact bring it to a screeching halt, Kim's mother was found. That's good, right? Sure it is, we all know it is. But when she turned up this afternoon, out of the blue, and whisked her son away we were torn between being happy for her and miserable for Trapper. Okay, I'll admit, it was a lot more of the latter.

Trap's been pretty quiet since we got back and I hardly know what to say myself. (Yeah, me--the one you claim was telling knock-knock jokes as he emerged from the womb.) The few useless platitudes I came up with he returned with his own . . . and they all fell short. Like I said, useless. It seems the only really acknowledged support I could give him was a squeeze on the shoulder to go with a drink.

Until this war is over I know we're all going to worry about little Kim. He's wandered into that big valley they talk about in the Bible more than once already. I know it sounds selfish, Dad, even callous, but part of me wishes he was on a plane to the States right now. Away from the bullets and bombs and chaos. To a safe future and a father who thinks the world of him.

Trapper finally nodded off a while ago. If he dreams at all, I hope it's still of what we're capable of, not what we do. Tomorrow, after my shift, I'm going to drag him out to hit a few balls. He probably won't feel like it and, frankly, neither will I. If all we end up doing is just taking a walk, up to nothing else, we'll do it together. If he wants to talk, that's okay--if he doesn't, that's okay too.

Well, I guess that's it for now. Take care, Dad. Sorry if this letter sounds depressing. It's just I can't sleep and I knew you'd listen.

Love, Hawkeye

The End