< eL Diluvio
Published July 18 2023
New York City

First Born

Dear father,

Have you received my latest letter? I ask because I have yet to get a response from you or mother. I am wondering if the post office may have lost it. Do let me know. And I sincerely wish this one does not arrive with the telltale wrinkles of tearful authorship.

You will be happy to know I passed my final physical examination with flying colors. Over 100 pushups, a mile run, and 20 pull-ups all completed within 10 minutes. The doctor here says he is impressed with how quickly I have returned to full strength. Even though I missed the cutoff date to ship out last month, I am confident that I will be deemed fully fit this time around. All that is left is the mental examination.

Remember the fellow from Jacksonville I told you about? The one who arrived with me on the same train and was just as fond of baseball cards as I was? I have heard from the higher ups that he grabbed the light. I cannot wait until it is my turn to grab the light.

When we are not in training, or playing King of The Hill, I spend my time reading and re-reading the book mother mailed me, the Russian one. I have re-read it so many times that I could recite many passages to you from memory. Often when I close my eyes, I can see the imprints of sentences flashing on the back of my eyelids. I particularly enjoy how realistic the ending is, don't you agree? I am learning that most things are not happily ever after. Do not tell mother this.

Thank you for the new sneakers you sent! I know it is all in my head but I truly feel like they are making me faster. I win almost all of the footraces against the boys my age.

I know you would be so proud of me if you saw me now, father. I used to hate that I was the first born, but now I see how it is actually the greatest gift! To have the responsibility to bring honor to the family. Do you ever miss your older brother? You never spoke about him. I overheard you once with mother, but I could not stay around long enough to eavesdrop because Holden kept tugging at me to go back to bed. Do you think he will miss me? He might be too young to fully grasp all this. Either way, I trust that in due time you will make him aware—the way that grandfather always tells stories of Uncle Leo.

Anyways I ought to get going, as it is dinner time. A few days ago the boys at my table sang me happy birthday and put a little candle on the slice of pumpkin pie we had. 16 years old! How I have loved the years I have lived so far.

After dinner we have assembly class before our night run and shower. Today they are blindfolding us for the first time.

Only a few more letters from me left (hopefully).

In solidarity and strength,