I’m sorry. I failed you. I lied to you. How much easier it is to say “be brave” when you still have hope? How much easier it is to cling to your morals before oblivion is upon you, hot breath down your neck? So I did what I told you never to do. I submitted. And here I am. A bruised, broken thing, not dead, but you, my children, my husband will never see me again, will never know I am alive. Not if they have their way. Of course you will hope. Of course you will try. Desperate to believe, you will not give up. I taught you that. I’m sorry. Sometimes I dream you are in my arms again and I am kissing tears from your cheeks. I expect my caretaker to tear this up any day. She hates me. Once I might have tried to reach her. Now she is only a distraction from dreams. Once when she believed me sleeping, I heard her stomping about outside the door. “What makes you so special? What makes you so loved?” I don’t have an answer. I dream instead. But your face is starting to blur. The shade of your hair is muddled. But my captors and my caretaker, how sharp and clear they are. I hold my battered hands up against my dreams of them, clenching tightly until it disappears. You are still looking. I am sure, but I’m not sure I hope. Would you recognize me now? Perhaps I should have died. A spirit cannot fall. A memory cannot be corrupted. And I don’t give a damn anymore. How much easier it is to be brave when you still have hope. And I will sacrifice everything to get you back. How much easier it is to cling to your morals before oblivion is upon you. The past blurs, you blur. But they remain knife-sharp. So be it. One way or another I will see you again. One way or another, I will die here. I’m sorry.