Did you know that your stories have begun to invade upon my daydreams? At quiet times like this when I am idle and almost sleeping, I will think of them. Especially Brod, and her father Yankel, who was not her father, but became so similar to one. I will think about how they comforted each other about their lives, which were so disjointed, yet paralleled. Then I will think how I will never see Father write, "you are Alex, you Shapka," because even if somehow it is not a not-truth, Father would never permit it to be stated, on paper, on the ceiling, or from his mouth. But love is not love if it cannot be on paper, the ceiling, or in the air. You must understand this, Jonathan.

He had violenced me. All I thought was "everything for Little Igor." No matter what, he must not be in pain. He must not know such things.

What I do for my miniature brother's admiration are things that bring me only elusive contentment. I do not know of much of the world outside of Ukraine, but it is apparent, even if only in certain moments, and under certain light, that we are attempting to fool ourselves into happiness. The discothèques, the rapid cars, the cappuccinos – it is all a trick, and it is only these illusions into which we may be somewhere that is not where we are. Most of the life which I relate to Little Igor and already related to you on our journey and in our early letters is merely what I was attempting to trick myself into believing. Maybe it is because I am not so premium with imagining as you are, Jonathan, that I must image an absurd, beautiful present, while you must imagine an absurd, beautiful past, and me nor you can name every reason for this. This is permissible.

If you want to know what happened, this is what happened. Father was drunk, which was not so unusual. But he was not so very drunk that I could escape my house without his discernment. "Shapka," he uttered, vodka on his breath, "You should not be so ungrateful." I was silent. I would not listen to anything more. I turned around, and began to stride towards the door, but grabbed my hand.

"Do not dub me that," I uttered.


I uttered it before I could waver. "I will take care of Mother and Little Igor."

"What?" he repeated, becoming even more wrathful.

I compulsed myself to declare what I have always feared to, and always deserved to.

"You can go away and never return. It will not even make you less of a father." Now his anger had risen, and I should have known better, but I was angry, too.

"I will kill you!" he shouted, and he cast me down to the floor. His eyes were full of madness, and I could not look into them.

"I will kill you," I uttered. He shook me.

"Say it to my face, not to the floor."

"You are not my father." It was severe and wrathful.

Perhaps his anger had retreated then, for he slowly liberated his grip on my shoulders and stared in shock. Perhaps it was merely cultivating to something I had not witnessed previous. I heard his footsteps fade away as I fell into an unconsciousness.

My dreams were interspersed with nightmares. There was Trachimbrod, and there was Jonathan, and Grandfather, and Father, and I do not know what has been written by The Collector, and what has been written by me, and what is real and what is not real. When I awoke, Father had departed, and it was morning.

I located Grandfather in the bathtub perhaps half an hour after I awoke. I did not perceive the blood at first, because I did not want it to be real. Mother was walking towards the bathroom, and stopped at the door.

"Alexi-stop-speening-me?" I could not look up as I explicated. We stood in silence for a short duration that seemed unequivocally long, and then we carried out all the arrangements that one in this situation is to perform. Afterwards, we retrieved Little Igor so that we could vacate our house with him, so he wouldn't see Grandfather's slit wrists, which had ceased to bleed, but were still quite apparent and frightening.

He was sitting, eating cereal which he presumably had poured milk on himself, as a small amount was splashed over the table. He discerned that something was amiss immediately. I told you he was a genius.

"Little Igor …" Mother uttered quietly. It was a story that Mother and I had cognated so that Little Igor would not have to know. Or, perhaps, not have to know just yet.

My life will continue, regardless of all that has occurred. I must not reveal excessively of my melancholiness, for I do not want to make Mother and Little Igor any more so than they had already become.

We dispensed dirt on his grave today, which was proximal to the monument at Trachimbrod, in memory of Herschel, and all the others. I felt so much like you should have been there, too, and known the peace on the field that day. As I have said previously, with writing, we have second chances. Perhaps Grandfather will meet them in death, and Herschel will forgive. I think this would make a first-rate story. I should be the one to write it, if it is to be written of at all.