The Tenth of August, The year is unknown As is my existence, time to reflect, dream or even mourn is but a blink. Duty, duty….always calling, distracting –all good things considering the reality I would have to face otherwise. Now, I am hell-bent on continuing this conversation for my mind requires a reprieve before I go mad. So, where were we? Ah, yes. Our imaginary tearoom pondering the subject of said conversation. Let us imagine we are discussing our children as if they are simply at school rather than the reality fate has chosen for them. I have three daughters. The youngest is five, the eldest is fourteen and in the middle is my ten-year-old. My eldest, Arya, is a sight to behold. Beauty has graced this child since the day of her birth. She grew quickly in mind and body –too quickly in my opinion, yet her sharp wit enabled her to prosper simply by willpower –a gift we all wish for. My middle, Anne, has enough energy for a village. It is a rare moment to find her standing still. My baby…my god, my baby is gone. They’re all gone. Not a day passes that I don’t long to join them. But, as I’ve noted, my job here is not quite complete. I take a sip of tea. The temperature is just right. Earl Grey. A fine choice indeed. I believe I detect a hint of jasmine as well. The night before last, I had the misfortune of injuring myself. I thought little of it at the time but now I see it has begun to redden and swell. Two indications of bad things to come. As my task is not complete, I cannot welcome the infection as I would otherwise. I must go in search of medicine. A most dangerous and often fatal task (as many who’ve preceded me, including my dear wife –a story for another time, can attest). The warmth of my cup sooths my arthritic fingers as I twist the fine china, clinking the handle on my wedding band with every revolution. The fireplace cracks, waking the sleeping bloodhound from dreams of rabbits and whistlepigs. Preparations for travel must be made. Should I survive, you may hear from me again.