The American Dream

Dear Miss Dyer,
          My hands shook when I read your letter today. Thanks to you, my dream of fatherhood is finally within reach. I must say that I love the way you’ve dotted your i’s with hearts. Do you mind if I call you Lola?
          In honor of this momentous occasion, I spent the afternoon on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange, surrounded by a group of women and their babies at a Breast is Best Feed-In. Blankets and playpens litter its famed steps. What an amazing sight. Free speech in action! E Pluribus Unum.

Harold Wilson Jr.

P.S. Of course I love Lady Gaga. Who doesn’t?
P.P.S. You can call me Hank. Everyone else does.

Dear Lola,
          Greetings from the Milky Way, formerly known as the New York Stock Exchange. I’d like to learn as much as I can about lactation so that I can provide the baby with the utmost nutrition, because even in this land of the free and the home of the brave, without our health, we have nothing. Happy to hear that you also enjoy ping pong, but sorry to hear that the name Albert makes you gag. I’ll keep thinking.
          I met a wonderful woman named Sally here today. She is raising her grandson Kyle, and she reminds me of my grandmother Lulu, who used to have us over for a steak dinner every Sunday.
          One Sunday, Grandfather was blowing smoke rings to amuse the children when Grandmother who had just finished saying her usual, "Grass fed is best" glanced lovingly at the slab of beef as if she had raised the cow and killed it herself, instead of buying it on sale at the A and P. 
          Then, at 6:15 p.m. the phone rang. Daddy answered it, and he walked down the stairs, closed the door, and never came back. Mother always said he was nothing but a dreamer.
          Rest assured, I have not inherited my father’s transgressions, and we Wilsons, who have reaped the benefits of breast milk for generations, and can trace our ancestry back to before the Mayflower, are known around town for our good health, longevity, generosity and fiscal responsibility, and I will be sure to pass on these traits to any offspring life sees fit to send my way, either biological, or as the local kids like to say, “from another mother.” America is, after all, a melting pot, is it not?
          My new BFF (breastfeeding friend) Sally, practices adoptive  breastfeeding. You might not know what that is, and don’t be embarrassed, because I didn’t either, but after talking with her, I went right to Target and bought an artificial, fully lactating breast—on sale, no less. A parent can never be too prepared, as you know. The dollar is not what it used to be.


P.S. Just got back from my infant CPR class. I haven’t killed anyone yet, so that bodes well for the future, don’t you think? Thank you for the ultrasound photo. Counting down the days! 

Dear Lola,
          Did you know that today marks the 203rd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth? Did you know that formula is filled with insect legs and other unsavory body parts? Did you know that hospitals and formula companies deliberately sabotage mothers’ breastfeeding efforts by sending them home with formula? You have my word that my child will never taste formula. I’ve already set up an account with the local breast milk bank. Only in America!


Dear Lola,
          Greetings once again from the Milky Way! No, I can’t say that I’ve ever watched Anime, and no, I don’t have a girlfriend, but my BFF Sally and I will be sharing a meal together tonight. She sends her regards.


Dear Lola,
          The social worker called today. Said you had the baby. Said you named him Benjamin after his biological father. Didn’t say anything else.  Good thing I still have the receipt for that artificial breast. As I said before, we Wilsons are fiscally responsible.
          For what it’s worth, on the way back from Target, I saw a group of cows surrounding their calves, some suckling, some chasing their tails, and I wondered how silly they must think we humans are, and what we would do if we saw those cows carrying signs that said “Grass Fed is Best,” or sitting around a table spending money that they don’t have, chasing dreams that won’t come true.


Alexandra N. Kontes’s work has appeared in various online and print journals. You can read more of her work at