Madge sat down at the edge of the very luxirious bed.
She was in her hotel room at the Capitol, settling in before she could go see her father.
Madge felt excited, but extremely nervous at the same time.
The ‘What ifs’ were still floating around in her head.
It’d been a couple years since the last time Madge had seen her father and she was afraid of what would happen during their reuinion.
Madge looked at her suitcase for a couple of minutes before finally walking toward it and retrieving the small box with the letters inside.
Slowly, she retrieved her most recent letter and sat down back on the edge of the bed.
She ran her fingertips over the edges of the envelop, still trying to figure out if it was real.
Then, Madge opened the envelop and took out the letter. She unfolded the paper and read it again, paying close attention to every single word.
My dearest golden daughter,
To be honest, it feels weird to call you that. And not because I don’t see you as my daughter or don’t love you because that’s not the case, but because I haven’t been a father to you these last couple of years.
I know I abandoned you. I realized that I hurt you. You deserved a better goodbye. Actually, you deserve no goodbyes—no one should ever walk out of your life. You’re too precious to lose, I know from experience.
For the past year I’ve been meaning to write to you, let you know I’m doing better, but…I just couldn’t. Not after the way I just left you.
The guilt was becoming too much to bear, though, and, so, finally I decided to write to you.
Of course, I’m not sure what I should say.
Sorry would be a good place to start, but…I want to apologize in person.
So…I guess that’s what this letter is about…
like love for you to come here. To the Capitol. I would love to see you…
Of course, I understand if you refuse, if you never want to see me.
You have every right to resent me, but I’m just asking for one chance to prove to you that I am sorry for what I did.
Also, ever since I got here I’ve been bragging about your piano skills. I’ve been telling everyone how talented you are. How you’ve been able to compose your own pieces ever since you were ten.
I’ve also been bragging about your beautiful voice. How you can reach high notes and sing pretty much anything you’re asked to.
So many people here are interested in meeting you.
One of the doctors managed to get you a gig.
Remember that reastaurant I took you to, the one where you saw the lady play the piano for the first time?
Yeah, well, the doctor managed to get you a gig there. I must say that they’re really excited to hear you play and sing… If they like you enough, which I’m sure they will, they can give you a job there as a pianist. It could be the beginning of your dreams coming true!
Anyway, just…think about it, okay?
I would really love to see you, Muddie.
Love, your father.
Tears ran down Madge’s cheeks as she stared at the words. It all seemed so real, like it was a dream, but like it wasn’t at the same time.
She only hoped she wouldn’t end up regretting this.
But how could she? She was going to see her father after all this time. It should go perfectly smooth.
But…what if it didn’t? After all, she would be seeing her father after such a long time…
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
All of a sudden, Madge felt her body grow tense with fear.
Panic rushed all through her and she felt her breath caught in her chest.
What if he’d never meant to send that letter? What if he regretted seeing her?
Was he stable enough for her to see him? What would happen the second they saw each other? Would he even recognize her?
What if resentment overtook her?
Madge shook her head.
She couldn’t be thinking this way. Not now. Not when she was about to be on her way to see her father.
Everything will be fine.
Madge stood from the bed, took hold of her purse and out the door she went before she could talk herself out of it.
She practically ran toward the elevator and her hands shook as she pressed the button to the lobby.
She was staying on the 13th floor, which meant she had a little bit of a ride down to the lobby. She used the time to take deep breaths and calm herself.
Panem’s Anthem was lowly playing through the elevator’s speakers and Madge found herself humming along. Sure, she wasn’t a big fan of the Capitol, but she had to admit the Anthem was rather interesting and intense. Kind of reminded her of royalty and power.
Finally, the doors opened and Madge stepped into the lobby.
There were many Capitol citizens walking around, checking in, talking, laughing.
Most had weird skin colors and crazy hair as well as clothing.
Madge tried to avoid making eye contact with any of them.
Honestly, they kind of freaked her out a bit.
Madge exited the hotel and took a deep breath in.
The day was actually a bit cloudy. Madge could smell the approaching storm and she only wished it’d wait until she was back in the hotel.
She debated whether she should walk to the hospital, which was just a few blocks away, or if she should pay for one of those fancy cabs.
She had more than enough money for one, but she wanted to spend as least as she possibly could. Spending money at the Capitol just didn’t seem right for some reason.
Of course, she couldn’t help splurging on clothes when she went shopping with Johanna though.
So, instead of walking, she decided to just get a cab.
Thankfully, not many people were around waiting for one so Madge managed to get one within a few seconds.
She recited the address to the driver and he began to drive.
After only a few minutes, they arrived to the hospital.
Madge paid the driver and got out of the car.
She looked up at the building, her nerves coming back.
This is it. I’m going to see my father. He’s in there. He’s waiting for me. He’s waiting to see me. I want to see him.
Madge smiled faintly as she began to believe everything would go just as planned.
It had to.
Her nerves were still there though and she doubted they’d go away until this was over.
Slowly, Madge made her way to the entrance of the building.
At first, she wasn’t sure were to go to ask for her father, but she saw a few people dressed all in white and some were wearing long white coats. She guessed they were the doctors and nurses, the ones taking care of the patients.
Taking care of her father.
"Excuse me, where can I ask for information about a patient?" Madge asked once she caught up to a nurse.
Surprisingly, the woman looked very normal with long, blonde hair and blue eyes. She didn’t seem older than 25.
Madge smiled sweetly at her, surprised that there were normal looking people in the Capitol.
"Just keep going down this hall and take a right at the end. The hospital’s structure’s pretty weird, we know." The lady said, her voice friendly, but rushed. Then, without any more words, she was gone.
Madge walked forward and turned right at the end of the hall.
Sure enough, there was a big desk right there and a few other nurses were taking calls and sorting through files and such.
Madge approached the desk and immediately one of the nurses turned to her, a questioning look in her eyes.
"Hi, um, I know that there’s a patient by the name of—"
"Undersee?" The lady asked. Madge nodded. "I’m guessing you’re his daughter?" Madge nodded again. "Room 314. Go back to the hallway then go down all the way, take a left, you’ll find the elevators there. Room 314 is on the third floor. Try not to get too caught up in your emotions in front of other patients." And with that, the lady turned her back to Madge, clearing dismissing her.
Madge raised her eyebrows, not at all impressed by the woman’s rude behavior, but it didn’t matter.
She was about to see her father and nothing could bring down her mood.
As Madge began to walk down the hall again she began to feel self conscious and insecure and nervous.
What if he’d already changed his mind?
For a couple of minutes, she contemplated just going back to the hotel and hiding under the covers.
This had been a bad idea.
Her dad would hate her. He hadn’t meant to sent that letter. Someone sent it by mistake.
Madge felt like she was about to cry, but then she bumped into someone in a white coat.
"I’m sorry, Doctor." Madge said quickly, looking down at the ground, feeling embarrassed.
The man didn’t say anything though. Not an ‘It’s okay' or a 'Watch where you’re going.' Nothing at all, which Madge thought was a bit strange.
She looked up and made eye contact with him.
Her world started spinning.
This wasn’t real.
She was dreaming.
He wasn’t here. In front of her.
This wasn’t him.
Couldn’t be him.
But it was him.
The same eyes.
The same face structure.
That faint and vacant look in his eyes.
It was him.
He was here.
Mayor Undersee, her father, stood right before her.
Every muscle in Madge’s body froze and her breath caught in her chest.
It seemed like time had stopped. Like it was just the two of them in the whole wide world. Like everyone and everything had just ceased to exist.
They stared at each other for a few longer seconds, neither believing their eyes.
Finally, her father was the first to speak.
"You…came?" It hadn’t been a statement, it’d been a question. Madge would’ve convinced herself he asked because he’d changed his mind, but the look of sincere surprise proved he hadn’t expected her to agree so easily.
Madge nodded, unable to get actual words out.
Her father took a step toward her and wrapped his arms around her.
Madge returned the hug, though she was a bit hesitant about it.
It was awkward at first and neither felt truly comfortable, but soon Madge was in tears.
The awkward suddenly vanished and the feeling of longing finally settled in.
Madge cried as her father held her.
After all this time Madge was finally back in the safety of her father’s arms.
Her protector, hero, rock, strength, inspiration, keeper was here.
She was here with her father.
Words couldn’t begin to describe everything that was going through her mind.
She was still scared of what would happen, but that didn’t matter now.
Madge was in her daddy’s arms and that was what mattered.
"I thought you’d…you wouldn’t..come. That you’d…you would hate me…" he said, his voice hesitant, but full of emotion.
Madge shook her head and unwillingly pulled away from the hug to look at her father. “I don’t hate you. I love you, daddy. And I’ve missed you so much.” She said, her voice breaking. Her father pulled her into another hug.
"I’ve missed you too, Muddie. You have no idea how much." He said. By the sound of his voice, Madge could tell he was also in tears.
"If you don’t mind, I’m going to ask you to please take this little reunion outside. We don’t want it to disturb any of the other patients." A lady dressed in white said, but her voice was so monotone and she looked so annoyed that Madge couldn’t help but feel a rush of anger shoot through her.
"Yes, sorry." Her father said and led Madge outside before she made a scene or something.
They sat on a bench and stayed silent for a few minutes.
"Dad, I’m really glad you contacted me. It’s…it’s been a while." Madge said, her voice soft as a sad smile made its way to her lips.
Her father nodded. “It has and that’s my fault. I’m sorry.” But before Madge could speak, he continued. “I’ve missed your laugh, Muddie. Hearing you play your piano everyday, seeing you be enthusiastic about the simplest things, debating about everything. I’ve missed you, honey.” He said, then smiled slightly.
Madge smiled back as she felt more tears roll down her cheeks.
Her father had missed her as well. All of a sudden, she didn’t feel so lonely again.
She had him back. Everything would be alright.
"I’ve missed you so much, daddy. I’ve really needed you, but… Anyway, you’re here now. We’re together again. And you look so much better! We’ll go home and everything will be back to normal, you’ll see. I’ll play the piano for you ever—”
"Madge…back home?” Her father frowned as he looked at her.
Madge nodded slightly. “Yes… Back home. Back in District 12. That’s where home is dad, remember?” She asked, wondering if the medication he’d been given had made him forget some things.
Her father shook his head. “I’m not going back there.” He said, his voice firm and final.
Madge frowned. “What do you mean? Dad…that’s home…” she said, trying to get through him. Their whole lives were in 12, she needed her father back in 12 with her. How could they reconnect if he was so many miles away from her?
"That’s not home, Madge. That’s a place of poverty and torture. He said, getting to his feet and pacing back and forth slightly.
He turned to look at her. “That’s why I told you about the gig, Muddie. You could move here to the Capitol, work at that fancy restaurant as a pianist and singer. They’ll pay you great money and you’ll be able to afford a good place to live. Madge,” he sat back down on the bench and looked at her, “you could have a much better life here. Things could go your way, you could become a big star here. Your talents…Madge, they’re rare.”
Madge shook her head. “No, daddy…I…I can’t…”
He seemed to grow a bit angry. “And why is that, Madge? Don’t you want a better life?”
"Dad, this isn’t home. Do you not remember what they did to you? Have you forgotten what they caused?” Madge asked, feeling a shot of adrenaline rush through her as she got to her feet and crossed her arms over her chest.
Her father seemed to debate whether to argue or not, but in the end he also stood and faced his daughter. “Of course I remember, Margaret. I’m the one they tortured. I’m the one they damaged. I’m the one here. Not you. You’re the one who doesn’t know what’s going on. If I’m able to forgive and forget then so should you.”
Madge took a step back. The words hurt her. She wasn’t sure if she deserved them and she wasn’t sure why her father was acting this way, but that didn’t stop the anger from rising.
"What? No witty comeback?" Her father asked, sitting back on the bench and crossing his arms over his chest as if to challenge her.
That was it. Madge was happy to see her father again, but she wasn’t going to be his target to let out whatever anger he felt. “I was affected as much as you. I had to watch them torture you, dad. I had to hear your screams for hours. Not to mention what they did to me." She said, tears running down her face.
She couldn’t stay mad at her father though. She didn’t want to lose him again.
"Daddy, please, let’s go back home.” She begged, her voice soft again.
"I’m not going back there! There’s nothing worth a damn in that place!" Ha said, his anger growing even more.
"Am I not a good enough reason for you to come back? Am I not important enough to overlook the bad? Am I not a motivation to get through your fears, daddy?” Madge asked, her voice full of hope as tears kept running down her cheeks.
She finally had her father back, she didn’t want to lose him. She’d suffered enough already; she deserved something good to happen to her for once.
Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to move to the Capitol. Her father was right, Madge would make good money as a pianist and she had a pretty good singing voice. Madge could make it big time here if she tried. There was no reason not to move to the Cap—
“No. You’re not, Madge.” He sighed then turned to her. “This was a mistake. I—I should’ve never written that letter.”
Madge’s world began to crumble down. This wasn’t true. It wasn’t happening. It wasn’t.
Her daddy hadn’t just said those words.
"You have to leave, Madge." He said, his voice soft but firm. Madge shook her head and took a step closer to him. "Leave! I don’t want you here! This was a mistake!” He shouted, taking a step toward her with every sharp word that escaped his mouth.
Madge stood still, frightened by the man before her.
This wasn’t her father. Couldn’t be.
Her father was a nice, noble, gentle man that cared about her and loved her.
"I’m not ready to be your father again. Get out of here. Get out and take the memories with you." He said as he begun to break down. The anger suddenly left his face and now tears streaked his cheeks. Madge took a step closer, but he held up his hand as if telling her to stay where she was.
"Are you deaf? Leave! Damn it, just leave me alone!” He shouted again.
Doctors and nurses began rushing out onto the patio.
"What happened?" The Doctor asked Madge, but she just stood still, tears running down her cheeks as she watched the nurses try and control her father who was still shouting orders at her.
"Doctor! He’s having an episode!" One of the nurses said.
The doctor looked back at Madge. “He hasn’t had an episode in months. What happened?” He urged, his voice taking an irritated edge.
“Leave! Make her leave!” Her father shouted. The words felt like stabbing wounds right in the heart. It hurt too much to watch this.
She’d been the cause of this episode. He’d been doing alright until she got here.
Madge ran toward the door and pulled it opened. She ran down the hallway and exited the hospital.
She was in tears and sobbing and panting, but she didn’t stop running.
Madge had to get away because her father hated her and she couldn’t live with that.
She was willing to live with every other problem, but not her father’s hate.