My dear wife, the gentlemen who detain me do not understand why you neglect to send what they ask for my release. Try to appreciate that when they saw us get out of your patron’s car at the embassy, they took us to be valuable. I think they will not bargain as long as I live, so do what you can. Ask your cousin, or someone at the school. Or sell the house if it’s enough. I think they’ll keep me body and soul, but if my price should drop, get proof of life. I’m not the only guest. I hear others pulled from their boxes—or so I judge from what happens to me—and educated as I am educated. I would pity them if my heart had room. Instead they infuriate me. I have to love myself to keep counting the days. I have learned to turn to the wall when I hear two knocks at my door and to wait for the hood and the links of the chain to drape heavy across my collarbones. You cannot imagine how I welcome the change. Outside the box tastes blood like pain but it is not the box. They won’t let me fix what I’ve written. Don’t look at me when you see me, please. And now my shameful question. I see a boy. I think of you when I can picture anything in my mind, of course, and the girls, of course, Francesca and Flor, their names are prayers to the bare lightbulb that spits my light of day. But the boy I never see clearly. I can’t trust him. Is he ours? Whatever you can do, my darling, please, before they take the rest of my history and I’m no longer your husband, whatever they ask.

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