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The Advantage of Perspective

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Dear Roy,

Thank you so much for the lovely gift you sent for Sara's birthday. Wherever did you find the miniature pair of coveralls? In her favorite colour, with her name embroidered on the back no less! She absolutely loves them! Not only does she wear them everywhere, including to bed, but we have a hell of a time getting her to take them off at all. I swear she would wear them in the bathtub if we let her – which we won't despite all the crying and pouting – though Granny suggested that it would certainly solve the problem of laundering them as well. Sara looks completely adorable in them, as you will see when I develop the pictures. I am including the thank you note she wrote, along with the picture she drew of herself wearing them. I'm sure you'll note that her seven-year-old handwriting and drawing skills far surpass Edward's, even now.

Election Day is fast approaching, and I suppose you must be feeling a little stressed. I just thought I'd let you know that as far as I can see, you have nothing to worry about. Everyone out here in the boondocks declares, quite smugly in fact, that you're 'a shoo-in'. We listened to the Presidential Candidates' debate last night on the radio with a few of our neighbours, and everyone agreed that you won it hands down. The other candidates couldn't touch you on the issues, and their attempts to drag you down using your war record backfired when you accepted responsibility for your actions so honestly, and without reservation. With the polls indicating that this will be a landslide victory, I suspect that your opponents may be getting desperate. I do hope you will be careful. We all know from bitter experience how desperate men and women will sometime resort to desperate measures.

That said, the family and I are looking forward to a trip to Central in the near future, to attend your official inauguration as Amestris' first honestly elected Führer in over a century. Since they were too young to remember your last meeting, Maes and Sara are particularly excited to see you, though not because of your lofty position. They want to meet the voice they hear on the radio; the leader who made this country safe for all; the dear, close friend of our family; and most importantly, the man who always remembers their birthdays – their wonderful uncle Roy.

Edward will be home soon, as I'm sure you already know. I got a telephone call from him yesterday when he arrived in South City, going on and on about what he discovered on one of the tropical islands south of Aeurgo in the Narrow Sea. I'll leave it to him to tell you all about it. He told me that he plans to head directly to Central so he can be there for you on Election Day, but I think he needs to be there for himself as well. As much as he enjoys seeing the world, it is quite obvious that extended time away is hard on him these days. Ever since that day you showed up in Dublith to confess your feelings, he seems to find it increasingly difficult to remain at large for long periods. He tries to play it very cool, but it's quite obvious he misses you terribly. From the sound of it, I think he will be staying in Central for a while. He said he needs to organize his research data to prepare a proper abstract, still using Hunter Thompson as his pen name of course. The lengths to which he'll go to stay out of the public eye never cease to amaze me. And the fact that he will put up with public appearances for your sake is quite telling, isn't it?

Sorry to cut this letter relatively short, but we are all heading into town this afternoon, and I want to make sure it gets into the weekly mailbag. A circus has come to Resembool, and I hear they have some truly amazing acts – a fire eater, a trick rider, an Eastern man who sleeps on a bed of nails, and of course a troop of clowns. Maes and Sara are so excited they are almost bouncing off the walls in anticipation. I plan to take plenty of pictures, and will be sure to send a few your way with my next letter.

As for this one, I have only one photograph to share. I found it the other day while looking through a box of old letters. I'm not sure where it came from, but I'm fairly certain that it was taken by Maes Hughes, as he is the only member of your old command absent from this candid shot of daily life at the office. As you can see, everyone else is there, Brother and I included, all of you looking so painfully young and not just a little desperate, myself inscrutable in the armour. I always get a strange feeling when I see pictures of that cold steel body of mine, remembering what it was like to live with only sight and sound, all other sensations absent; a bleak existence. My memories are always coupled with great relief and gratitude that my brother was able to restore me to flesh. At the time I sensed that my transformation had not just been in body. My soul had been transformed with my salvation as well, and I thought it an experience quite outside normal human existence. I have come to realize, however, that every single human soul undergoes change to varying degree, sometimes in a single instant of perfect clarity, sometimes over time, always as an ongoing process natural to conscious, living beings. We are inevitably altered by our experiences and the new perspective they provide; it's part of being human. I am pleased not to be the only one saved from an insulated existence contained in cold, unfeeling armour, as are you I imagine. I am also profoundly grateful that my brother at last has a place in this world where he feels he belongs, in the form of someone with whom he can share his life. Thanks to you, I can finally say that our quest to regain what we lost has successfully ended. The next one, of course, has already begun: the rest of our lives.

Please say hello to Edward for us when he gets home. I do hope that after a few days you will be able to pry yourselves apart long enough for him to come visit us here in Resembool. We miss him, too.

Yours truly, with deep affection,

Alphonse.