Dear Father,

Life is very difficult for us since you left for war. The twins are constantly asking for you, and it breaks mother's heart to have to tell them that you will be gone for a while longer. School is very hard since Mr. Gary is in the war as well. Our substitute is a woman, and while she's every bit as good of a teacher as Mr. Gary, the boys give her the hardest time. I feel bad for her, knowing that her husband was probably drafted into the war as well. But, in spite of everything, I am going to be the brave little trooper you told me to be. I try and help mother when it appears she is going to collapse from the stress. I help the twins with their chores as well. The funniest thing happened only yesterday. I was helping Marigold wash the windows and she called me mother! Isn't that just something! I know you would have laughed if you had been there. And I know I've only spoken about how mother and the twins miss you, but the truth is, father, I miss you too. It was so hard for me to accept the fact that you wouldn't be home to see me turn thirteen. To not have a father home is the worst form of torture. I don't believe you know how difficult it is to walk down the street and see a little girl barely older than the twins laugh and hug her father, because she's lucky enough to have a father that wasn't sucked into the draft. I know I sound terribly bitter, but it's the truth, and you always said that the truth was the key to freedom. But I still don't believe you know how much I miss you, father, so I'll say it again: I miss you. I hope you don't think I'm being weak, especially since I'm supposed to be the 'man' of the house now. I just wanted to let you know that regardless of the outcome of the war, you will always have a special place in my heart. A place that no one on earth could ever take, even if mother remarried if (heaven forbid) something happened to you. And, in case this is my last letter, I'm sorry for every time I've ever made you angry or sad or disappointed. It was, more than likely, childish of me. I should go now, since mother says we should all go to bed early now. I love you, father!

Sincerely,

Jasmine


To my first born,

Jasmine I am so proud of you! Not only are you taking care of your own responsibilities, but you're helping your mother and the twins with theirs. I know exactly how you feel. My father died when I was very young, remember? It hurt terribly to see other children with their fathers and wonder why I couldn't be them. But you know what, God blessed me with a wonderful family: a loving mother, two wonderful brothers, a devoted wife, and three beautiful children. The government has committed a terrible crime by not allowing me to be with you all, but I am forced to take it into stride. And so are you, Jasmine. Do not allow those boys at your school to continue harassing you substitute teacher. It's cruel and she probably has a husband in the war as well. And if they don't listen to you, I give you my express permission to tell their mothers and let them deal with it, for I'm certain at least one of those boys has a father fighting in this terrible war. And, to answer your unasked question, I do not think you are being weak for admitting you miss your father. Weakness is what the government is showing, by allowing men to risk their lives for a war they probably don't fully understand. And since I can't promise you that nothing will happen to me, I will say that I miss you more than you could possibly know. The first thing I pray for before I go to sleep at night (if I go to sleep at night) is that you, the twins, and your mother are safe, not starving, and able to live your lives as normally as possible. You showed me in your letter that God has answered my prayer to the fullest, and I thank Him for it. Try not to worry about me, alright Jasmine? You have too much to concern yourself with as it is without wondering whether or not I'm comfortable. And, to answer the question I know will follow this letter, no, I am not comfortable. Army life is bleak and dismal, and the action is depressing and sickening. I do not say these things to upset you, Jasmine, merely to inform you. Believe me, you are far better off in Virginia than I am here. But above all, I want to let you know that I love you too, and you need not apologise for the past; what's doine is done. I have a mission in an hour, so this is it for now. Send my best to your mother.

Love,

Father