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How Do You Get That Lonely

How Do You Get That Lonely?           

Author:   Monte


Rating:   G

Summary:   Murdock helps a friend battle loneliness in the VA.

Warnings:   None.

Disclaimer:   I do not own any of the characters of the A-Team. But I wish I did.

Comments:   Please, they make me happy.




He was sitting with his back pressed against a willow tree.  His feet were drawn up under him and he rested his chin on his bony knees.  When his companion sank to the grass beside him, a soft sigh was the only sign of recognition he gave.  For a few minutes, they both sat in silence, watching the gardener tending the rose bushes.


"So, what's shakin', Muchacho?" Murdock asked.


"I've been thinking.  We have a lot in common, you know?" His eyes dropped to study the dirt beneath his fingernails.  "Yet at the same time, we couldn't be more different."


"How so, Erik?"


Erik plucked a blade of grass and began tearing it into pieces.  "You're less than 2 years younger than me, we both were in Nam about the same time, we both wound up here.  But other than that, we're as different as night and day.  You never married, but you have friends who come visit and get you out of here.  They are your family.  I've been married and I lost my wife years ago.  I have a daughter in high school and a son in college.  She writes about once a month but neither of them have ever come to see their old man.  My boy will be 20 in September, but I haven't seen him since he was 9."


"Are they both still living with your sister?"


Erik nodded.  "Yeah, out by Barstow.  Almost out to Edwards Air Force Base."


"That's not so far away. Have you asked them to come visit?"


He shook his head.  "No one wants to visit the crazy man.  They don't even remember me most of the time.  That's the real difference between us.  You haven't been forgotten."


Murdock moved around to face Erik.  "You're wrong.  Your daughter hasn't forgotten you.  You've read her letters aloud to me.  I know she still loves you."


"For now, perhaps.  But she will be graduating before you know it.  The others have moved on with their lives.  They have left me behind.  In time, she will, too."  Erik sighed in utter hopelessness.  His whisper burned in Murdock's ears.  "Being forgotten is worse than dying.  At least when you die, someone is there to mourn for you.  No one mourns the forgotten.  We might as well just drop off the face of the earth."


"You gotta keep fighting, man.  Don't give into these blues."  Murdock smiled at his friend.  "Maybe I can think of something that will cheer you up.  Can you hang on for me until then?"


Erik nodded.  "I'll try.  You're a good man, Murdock.  Thanks." He glanced around the grounds and noticed a familiar blond man walking toward them, carrying a clipboard.  "Looks like you've got a visitor."


"I'll catch you later, Erik.  Hold down the fort till I get back, will you?"


"Have a good time."  Erik watched as Murdock crossed the lawn toward Face.  As they walked away, he said, "Don't forget about me."


Face glanced over at Murdock as they walked toward B.A.'s van.  "Something on your mind?  You seem a little preoccupied."


"You think maybe we could take a little trip up to Barstow?"


Face raised an eyebrow questioningly.  "What's in Barstow?"


"A link to a friend's sanity, hopefully."  He quickly explained about Erik and his family.  "He's got his good days and he has his bad days.  Although, depending on how you look at it, the days he remembers his family aren't necessarily the good days.  I mean, he remembers his kids but he also remembers that he's been abandoned by them.  I don't know if I can convince either of his kids to see him, but it can't hurt to ask.  I've got a bad feeling if nothing is done for Erik, he'll slip back into the oblivion he's fighting.  There are days when he can't even remember his own name."


As they stepped into the van, he continued, "If it weren't for you guys, I'd be in the same boat as Erik.  I've got to do what I can for him.  Anything to let him know he's not been forgotten.  He needs some reason to hang on."


Back at the VA, an orderly squatted down beside Erik.  "Time to come in for supper, Erik."  When Erik didn't respond, the orderly gently pulled him to his feet and led him toward the cafeteria.  "I heard they're serving fried chicken and corn on the cob tonight.  It should be good."


Erik nodded silently.


The orderly asked, "So, are you looking forward to the movie tonight?"


Erik shook his head.  "Not going."


"What?  You and Murdock are usually the first two in line on movie night.  What's up?"


"That movie reminds me too much of myself.  It's very lonely.  Nothing against Lon Chaney, mind you, it just hits a little too close to home."  Erik paused by the sign announcing the showing of The Phantom of the Opera that night.  "Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have the same name as the main character."


"Tell you what.  If you're up for a little company, we could continue with the ongoing rummy game we started last month.  I've been keeping track of the score and you're about 700 points ahead of me.  Maybe I can close the gap a little."


"Sure.  I'd like that."


The orderly watched Erik walk into the cafeteria.  Silently, he turned away to go about his duties.  He knew tomorrow might find Erik a different man.  Tomorrow, Erik might forget his loneliness.






How Do You Get That Lonely? by Monte



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