My name is Margaret Hampton, and every morning I dictate a letter to my mother. I used to write them myself, on scented floral stationary, but I have been given two months to live and have lost most of my fine motor skills. Or at least my will to use them. At my respectable age, though I politely decline to share it, one might expect the umbilical cord to be severed, but my mother was a wonderful woman— ferociously intelligent, beautiful, driven— and I always find myself better for our conversations.
The place I am in is small, and dreary, and cold. It is meant for recovery, to rehabilitate the broken, but everyone knows I am terminal. There is no life for me on the other side of these doors. The other women in hospice here, for my disease is apparently contracted only by the fairer sex, are not the companions I would have chosen to spend my last days; I find the hopeless indignity with which they greet death to be depressing and contagious. Perhaps they will die before I do, and I will be able to orchestrate my passing without their pointless squabbling and pecking in the background, but the diagnosises here are precise. I have been told I will die on February 3rd, exactly 58 days from now, before the others. I have been here a long time.
Sometimes, I try to remember what it was like before the disease. I have written my mother for many years: it seemed we were always torturously far apart, her busy with this press conference or that meeting, planning and progressing and dazzling the country, and me always alone in my quiet house on the coast of Connecticut, wondering dimly what was on the television that night. I have always been of poor health, though I admit I could have lived my life more fully despite my frailties. Perhaps it was my small, mousish existence, so dwarfed by her success, that kept us so very close. For a long time I lived vicariously through my mother’s letters, printed crisply on White House letterhead, so enthralling.
The day she was assassinated was the day I was no longer able to use the stationary. When I saw the red of her blood, the same shade as her Red Berry Burst lipstick, flood the front of her white suit on News 14, I started trembling and have never ceased. The camera was zoomed in close, enhancing every detail of even the diplomats behind her, as the life in her eye was replaced with a bullet. I do not think they should have aired something so gruesome on national television, but there was no way I could have stopped it. Mother could have, but she will never stop anything again, now.
If she were still alive, I wonder if she could stop my disease. The odd doctors are very quiet when they discuss it, withholding all the information they can. Mother was always very influential with men in suits. They would never get her name wrong, like they do mine. Jennings, they call me, Mary Jennings. I tell them every day my name is Margaret, like my grandmother, Margaret Hampton. I tell them I am Miss Hampton, the daughter of Evelyn Hampton, First Lady of the United States, but they print JENNINGS on my orange hospital gowns regardless. They tell me the Psycopathy poisoning my brain has escalated to the phase of Murder in the first Degree, and that I will never recover, which I have come to accept. Though this place is uncomfortable, I find it temporarily tolerable, just an unfortunate vehicle I must take to my destination. In 58 days I will be with my mother, and that is all I wanted.
this is a short i wrote some time ago. i stumbled upon it again when i was clearing up some harddrive space, and i figured i’d share it today of all days, since it’s got a bit of a morbid tone. i promise not to start flooding your dash with non-bdsm random writing. P:
who could ever love that part of you?
no one cares how badly it hurts to feel it dying.
stop crying like a child waiting for Daddy to make it better.
you’re not worth the time; you’re not worth the effort
swallow that lump in your throat and do something useful