Aaaand we’re back in action! Thank you sooo much for sticking around and waiting for my hiatus to be over! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve posted a chapter! Well I’ll be around a lot more often now that I’ve gotten everything transferred over to my new computer. Now enjoy the chapter; I hope you like it. 🙂
WARNING: This chapter is long and contains some mentioning of sensitive subjects that may not be suitable for children or may be too sensitive for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
2 Years Later…
If someone would have told me that seven years after graduating high school that I would be where I am today, I would have never believed them. After I had the abortion, I feared that my life would never be the same. I was right, it wasn’t. It turned into something that I could never imagine it to be. Not that having the abortion was the answer because it wasn’t at all. Not for me anyways. I let the guilt eat at me for so long that I didn’t know how to live. It was Cyler who taught me how to live my life the way a twenty-something year old should live, no matter what. So here I am. Here we are.
Cyler and I got married and had a small ceremony. Since Cyler didn’t have any close family, it was only mine who attended. Shortly after, I left everything and everyone I knew behind; a choice I felt was best for me. It was only a constant reminder of the unbearable thing I did and the horrible person I had became afterwards. My family was sad to see me go, but they understood the pain it was causing to be there. So with heavy hearts, we said our goodbyes and departed ways.
Riverview was an immaculate place. Full of beautiful green land everywhere, fresh fruits and vegetables grew by the mile, and all sorts of farm animals roamed about. We traveled far from Meadow Glenn to be here, and now that we were here, I knew it was the right decision to make.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked Cyler once we arrived to the house.
Cyler let out a deep sigh and let his shoulders slump a little before nodding. “Yeah, let’s go.”
We walked down the extended stoned pathway up to the front door. A beautiful white farm house cascaded the luscious green land before us, giving off an inviting aura to its newcomers. By the way Cyler described the house, I was half expecting it to be in complete shambles beyond our control.
Cyler hesitantly rang the doorbell as well as knocked heavily on the front door so he would be able to hear our arrival. I glanced over at Cyler who looked as though he was trying to keep his breathing at a steady pace. The door suddenly creaked and moaned as it slowly opened and a elderly gentleman appeared. A grin formed on his face when he saw Cyler and he moved his way onto the porch, standing in front of us and taking us all in. I definitely saw the resemblance while looking at those two.
“Hi son,” he said as he proudly looked over his estranged son.
Cyler gulped and said, “Hi, Dad.”
Cyler hadn’t seen his father in years. As he explained it, he had the type of father that liked his work better than his family. So after his parents were tired of arguing about it, his father left, leaving them to fend for themselves.
“I’m so happy you came,” he smiled. Given the circumstances, Cyler forced a small smile onto his pierced lips. He then focused his attention on me. “You must be Adelia! I’m so happy to meet you finally”
“Hi, Mr. Alexander,” I greeted warmly.
“Oh please, call me Bennie! Better yet, call me Dad since we’re all family now!” he beamed. I returned the beam and relished in his kindness. He had a southern charm about him that was refreshing to be around. Cyler stood in silence as he was mentally preparing himself for today.
“And who is this lovely lil’ lady?”
Pointing towards me, his eyes gleamed with even more excitement as he looked upon the beautiful little girl in my arms. “This is your granddaughter, Chance,” I announced.
Bennie happily waved and greeted Chance. She was so sleepy from the trip that she barely acknowledged his presence.
Chance was the perfect mixture of both Cyler and myself with his beautiful deep green eyes and dark brown hair while she and I shared every other feature. Her name was Chance because her very existence gave me more meaning to my life and was my second chance at becoming someone I was destined to be. She was perfect in every way and I was so happy to be her mother.
Bennie kindly invited us in so we could all cool off from the summer’s excessive sunlight. His home was very warm and inviting, but didn’t have a lot of pictures on the walls. The house looked old, but lively and had a lot of character and the same southern charm Bennie held, which was hard to find in Meadow Glenn.
We sat down on one of the couches while Bennie sat in one of the leather arm chairs. We awkwardly exchanged smiles for a moment before Bennie finally spoke again. “I’m so glad y’all came. I know it was a lot to ask of you, son.”
“Well you needed our help, so here we are,” he said indifferently.
“I hope you didn’t leave too much behind. I would hate for y’all to uproot your whole lives just for me,” he said with worrisome.
“It was a welcomed gesture, trust me, ” I told him reassuringly. “I like Meadow Glenn, but it was about time for a change.”
Bennie nodded, as if he understood what I meant by that. “I’ve been back in Riverview for quite some time now. In fact, I grew up in this very house!” he said proudly. Cyler shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Bennie didn’t seem to notice as he continued on about his childhood and how he met Cyler’s mother and how they wound up in Meadow Glenn.
“Dad, I don’t mean to interrupt, but…what’s going on?” he asked, sensing there were far more than what he was told on the phone before we came here.
“What do you mean?” Bennie asked.
“When you called, you said you needed my help on the ranch. I haven’t seen or heard from you in like…forever! How come all of a sudden, you’re asking for my help?”
Bennie looked down uncomfortably and twiddled his thumbs while trying to find the right words to say. “I know, and I’m sorry for that.” He looked up from his thumbs to look at his son and gave a slight smile. “I called you for help because I’m sick.”
“Sick?” Cyler gazed at his father in disbelief. All anger he had towards him looked like it had dissipated at that point. “What do you mean you’re sick?”
Bennie gave him one of his slight smiles again before proceeding. “I have lung cancer. All those darn years of puffing on cigarettes has finally caught up to me,” he said through chuckles. I was glad to see he was taking his illness all in stride, but was saddened to hear about it. Cyler sat quietly as Bennie spoke about the many doctor visits and tests he’s done. “So that’s why I asked you to come here. I know I haven’t been the best father, so I wanted to leave you with something when my time has come.” Cyler frowned in confusion. Reading this, Bennie extended both hands out in the air and smiled. “The house. The ranch. It’s all yours. It’s my way of saying I’m sorry for being a dickhead all these years. Besides, I’m sure you’ll need the room to make more beautiful children like this one over here!” he exclaimed, gesturing towards Chance as she laid quietly on me.
Cyler reluctantly accepted his offer. It was hard for him to imagine his father gone, even though he had been gone out of his life for a long time already. He would finally be parent-less, as his mother had perished years ago when Cyler was a child. Apparent suicide, it had seemed. Cyler doesn’t like to talk about it, but every once in awhile, I’ll catch the pain dancing in his eyes.
Bennie eventually showed us the room we will be staying in until our belongings arrived. We were only able to take several things along the trip while the rest would soon follow in a moving truck. All the furniture we had, we left at our old house while we rented it out to Madeline, who needed a place to live while attending college.
“I know it’s not much,” Bennie stated. “But it’s only until your things arrive. There’s three more rooms upstairs, one of which would be perfect for this lil’ one,” he said, pointing at Chance. “Once everything comes along, we’ll move y’all up to the master bedroom and I’ll take this room here.” We reassured him it would be fine and thanked him for his hospitality.
As the weeks rolled along, we were quickly settling into farm life in Riverview. Cyler helped his father on the ranch daily, getting up with the sun to spread hay for the horses, washing and brushing the horses, and tilling the field for jumping practice. Cyler use to express his desire to work with horses, but never thought it would get to happen. Now that he was here, he re-examined those thoughts and came up with the idea to start his own business selling studs for money and giving horse lessons to children. With Bennie being sick, he would have to hold off on the training part as his attention would mainly be on his family first.
Bennie loved working beside his son on the ranch. By looking at those two working together, you would’ve never thought that Cyler once resented his father nor that his father was even ill.
We fixed up one of the upstairs bedroom for Chance so she could have her own space to play. The room was huge and could fit a few bunk beds, if we ever had anymore girls. In the meantime, it was fit for the only princess in our lives. The walls were once covered with old wallpaper, so we steamed it off and replaced it with fresh purple paint. We polished the metal frame of the bed and refurnished the dresser and desk. We bought the bookcase and toddler bed from home as well as all of her toys.
The other bedroom was left alone for now until we could afford to fix it up. It was to our satisfaction that the master bedroom remained in great condition and we were able to move in as-is. The walls were a beautiful light olive green with cream-colored furnishings. The red chairs were a nice touch to the room, giving off a pop of color to the atmosphere.
The air in Riverview was fresh and crisp, blowing life into your veins with every gust. It was perfect weather for gardening as fall was soon approaching and since Bennie couldn’t do very much squatting or bending over, I volunteered to keep the garden thriving since it kept money flowing in the household for half the year. The other half came from selling studs for breeding purposes.
I didn’t know anything about gardening before I came here, but that all changed when I went to a local bookstore in town and purchased some How-To gardening books. The Garden Channel was a great start to learning the ends and outs of the skill. It wasn’t easy, but it was peaceful. I would often bring Chance outside in her stroller while I did some practicing. She loved being outdoors and would only fuss if she needed a diaper change or was hungry. I could only imagine what it would be like to have this backyard full of children, laughing and playing about.
We spent many of nights indoors playing chess, listening to music or just talking about our fondest memories. Bennie’s favorite thing to do was spending time with Chance, who grew accustomed to her grandfather pretty quickly. The bond they shared was unbreakable, but knowing he would be gone one day broke my heart because I knew Chance wouldn’t be able to understand. Her being so young would hopefully shield her from the pain of losing him.
Cyler would often show signs of sadness or anger periodically when he thought no one was looking. A sudden outburst at the chess table would send the game pieces flying all around the living room or a quick kick to one of Chance’s scattered toys would break the silence in the middle of the night. I begin to worry about him and wondered how much of his father’s illness would take affect on him. I prepared myself for the worse.
Dinnertime was always a toss up in our household. I never knew when I would burn something or actually make an edible meal. Luckily for Chase, all she needed was a bottle or some sort of mashed up food. It didn’t take much to impress Bennie or Cyler though, which was a big relief to me. As I started progressing with the gardening, I took up watching cooking shows on the television and even looked up a few recipes online. With the vegetables growing in as great as they were, whatever I cooked had seemed to improved some.
Cyler’s relationship with his father had improved a lot over the past few weeks as well. Once Cyler found out he was going to lose his father, he decided he didn’t want to harbor such ill feelings towards him anymore. Knowing he was only trying to provide for his family back then, it was hard for him to stay mad at him about that. He still didn’t understand why he left though, and that was still eating away at him.
“Dad, can I ask you something?” he asked one night after dinner while they washed all the dirty dishes in the kitchen.
“Of course, son,” he replied.
“Why did you leave? I mean I know you and Mom argued a lot, but was that why?”
Bennie went on to scrub the last dish in the stack of plates before providing an answer. “It wasn’t my choice, son. I wanted to stay, but your mother didn’t see the point. I was never really home, so I guess I don’t blame her.”
“We struggled, you know?” he said, not really meaning for it to be a question. “She was so prideful, she wouldn’t ask for help from anybody. It wasn’t unusual for us to bounce from home to home from relative to relative.”
Cyler shook his head slowly. His eyes widened with surprise as he looked over at his son. “I’m so sorry, I had no idea. She made it seem like everything was okay with you guys.” Cyler finished washing the plates he had in hand and turned towards his father.
Bennie, seeing him turn to him, turned to him as well and waited to see what Cyler needed to say next. “I’m sorry I stayed mat at you all this time,” he expressed with sadness.
Bennie shook his head and waved his hands fervently to dismiss the thought. “Don’t be! I’m the one who should have looked for you! Your mother kept you away from me, but once you were an adult, I should’ve sought you out right away! I was so afraid you would reject me I guess.” When Cyler didn’t say anything, Cyler continued. “But that’s no excuse anyhow. I’m sorry I didn’t. I’m very sorry. I just wish we had more time now together.”
Cyler hung his head, disappointed that much time was lost between them. “Well, we’re here now together. Let’s just make the best of it.” Cyler nodded in agreement and reached out to give Cyler a hug. Cyler embraced his father for the first time in years and found it hard to let him go.