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The following chapter is narrated by Melinda. Pictures will be up by tomorrow as I messed up when creating this post.
"It's funny how fast life passes you by. One minute you're a freshly graduated student, the next you have a growing family and your largest worries become everyday practical stuff. Like work, bills and grocery shopping. And your kids of course, how they can make you worry like you've never worried before.
Perhaps "funny" is not the right choice of a word in this context. The word I would use to describe life progression would be something more like... scary, or even terrifying. Like when you wake up from a nightmare, all sweaty and with tears streaming down your face. I would say I prefer nightmares over life; you are at least able to wake up from your nightmares, no matter how frequent or frightening they are.
I should not complain about life though, even though it may seem unfair at times. I grew up with my grandparents in a large house in Appaloosa Plains, a very lush and cozy little community far from the big city. I had everything a young girl could ask for; love, friends, horses, dogs and cats, and my very own bedroom, overstuffed with plushies, Barbie dolls and animated movies. I had everything but the one thing I wanted the most... parents.
I lost my mother and father on my sixth birthday. I had been spending the summer with my horses, at my grandparents place. My parents were on their way to pick me up and bring me back home to Sunset Valley as I was about to start school, when a deer jumped out on the road in front of the car. The impact was inevitable, and death was immediate to my mother. My father survived the collision, but did not make it to the hospital in time.
The only thing I've got left from my parents are glimpses of memories. Like how my mom always failed with the candles on my birthday cakes, or how my dad always forgot where he had put the newspaper. I also remember when my grandmother, Anastasia Stardust, had to break the news about my parents passing to me... how I cried endlessly for days and days, how I could barely eat nor sleep.
My grandparents decided on letting me stay with them in Appaloosa Plains, I did have my horses and quite a few friends there after all. As the years progressed, I started to accept the fact that my parents were forever gone, and I was able to move on with my life. I even called Anastasia 'mom' from time to time. My grandfather, Benjamin Stardust, was my idol, and I worshipped him like little girls worship their fathers. Anastasia and Benjamin became the parents I had once lost.
But Anastasia and Benjamin were old even before I was born. When I was 14, Ben got diagnosed with unusually agressive Alzheimer's. Not even six months later, he could no longer remember who I was, and by the time I had turned 15 he had also forgotten about Anastasia. Only a few nights later, he fell into an eternal sleep. The doctors told us, after Ben's autopsy, that the final cause of death was a stroke.
Anastasia died from natural causes; old age and a tired heart. You could say I lost my parents twice. I was 18 by the time, and theoretically capable of taking care of myself. I was lucky to have met my husband, Marcus Stardust, prior to the even of my grandmother's passing, as I was not at all prepared to 'grow up overnight'. Marcus, a few years older than me, got to make all the life-changing decisions that later brought us to Bridgeport in hope for a better life. There were no jobs for us in Appaloosa, and we couldn't possibly bring forth enough money to pay the bills for my grandparents big house. So we sold it, we sold it all, to start over with our lives in the city.
But why am I telling you all this, you may ask. I want to give you a deeper understanding behind my reasoning when I found out about my pregnancy. Why I would possibly want to abort my child. A part of me didn't want to, obviously, because if it did I wouldn't have my gorgeous son in my life right now. I am just so scared. Scared of what would happen to my only child if me and Marcus suddenly died. Benjamin Alexander would have no future at all, as neither me nor Marcus have got any other family left, and no money to provide him a dignified future. Ben Jr. would end up in the arms of some old, cold-hearted social worker, before getting shipped like a piece of furniture between foster families. I was lucky enough to have my grandparents. Benjamin is not."