I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’m quitting my job. I get it, I need to pay my dues and I’m willing to work hard. And one thing leads to another. But if this place is just a stepping-stone, I feel like all I’m going to be left with is a pile of rocks if I stay here. Because that’s what the older guys in the office seem to be carrying around: piles of rocks. They sort of stare straight ahead and go through the motions with that weight on their shoulders.
And I don’t want that to be me.
This is already 1995… a whole new millennium is almost here and I want to do something that matters, something that helps people and makes them feel something.
And I know you don’t think I can do it.
I know because you’ve warned me about being an old man in a young man’s game. I know because every year in my birthday card you write something about how it’s not too late to be a surgeon. Or a pilot. You’re not too big, you have good eyes, you’d be a great pilot. That’s what you wrote last year.
I think kids usually go one way or the other; either they fall under their parents’ shadow, or they run as far as they can away from it. I admire you and the sacrifices you’ve made to build this life for our family. And I want to follow the plan that you have laid out for me.
But I’ve got this dream, and it’s not the dream that you have for me.
And I know in your heart that you only want what’s best for me. You want me to be happy and successful and not end up on the side of the road somewhere with an open guitar case and a broken song. Or living in my old room.
But I’m not going to be in a cockpit. Or next to an operating table.
I’m going to be on the radio.
In anticipation of the Veterans’ Day release of the last book in the trilogy, Alex is telling the story of For The Sender through letters sent back in time. ‘For The Sender: Love Letters from Vietnam’ features letters sent into the past to an American soldier serving in Vietnam.