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Basic Trait - Part 3
Before I could say anything back he kissed me, and not one of those sweet kisses goodbye I had been used to over the past few years. But he kissed me like he had when we had just fallen in love. I realized later on that I had never found out what was really wrong with my Lucas that day, but it grew worse and worse as the years went on. That night we created what we would soon know as the beginning to our downfall. Nine months later, in the late fall of 1836, Daniel and David, our new twin boys, were born.
Lucas’ endless work schedule continued to separate him from the children, slowly building a disconnect that would never be fixed. Weeks went on, the children went to school, I tended the gardens and took care of our house, and Lucas went to work and it seemed like he never came back. On one of those rare nights after a tough week of work and a quick pep talk, Lucas would turn into the man that I fell in love with and sweep me off my feet yet again. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized he was never going to be that man again.
Years of this went on, and the repetition with our lives made me feel so empty. I wouldn’t have ever complained though, for I was living for others now, not just myself. Lucas had continued pushing the children away and I away, he claimed it was because of work, that I should stop worrying, and that everything he was doing was benefiting us as a family. But I knew that something really was wrong, something in him had changed. When he returned home one evening, he surprised me beyond belief. He had always been a respectful man who, even though had troubles speaking his true feelings, he always found a way to put them into something positive. He was changing right before my eyes into the man I hated most. I knew now that our love had changed and was over forever.
“Hey there, pretty lady. How’s it going home on the ranch these days?” He said as he bellowed through the doorway, gusts of alcohol on his breath.
“Honey, I think it’s time for bed.” His huge body stumbled into my arms. “You have had enough of an evening.” I tried to not breathe in that horrid smell as I helped him up the stairs. I returned downstairs for my bread and milk, hoping that would calm down his drunken self. When I came back upstairs he was already passed out in our bed, there was no room for me to sleep. Throughout our marriage, we had always slept together, that was the first night that we didn’t sleep in the same bed, and little did I know that I would never want to again.
In two weeks’ time, our whole world changed. Lucas had been offered a job that would take him out at sea for months on end, he accepted without hesitation knowing that this was an adventure he could not skip out on, and with an such increased income, only a crazy person would turn down. Even if it weren’t for the money, I know he wouldn’t have refused it, Lucas felt trapped as if he couldn’t explore as much as he wanted. Our adventures from when we were a young couple had stopped very soon after our first children were born, they were our new adventures now. But nothing was even enough for Lucas, he always wanted more and more than he already had. A few years ago he would say that he was the luckiest man on earth to have a stable job that he enjoyed and a supporting family with a loving wife and beautiful kids waiting for him back at home, but he would never see it that way again.
James had moved out at the age of nineteen and was happily married three years later; he and Ben had grown up right before my eyes. Rebecca Morse and James had been inseparable since they were little; their marriage was a long time coming. She was a lovely girl, lively with her red hair and pale skin, she was a simple beauty and James adored her. Rebecca and Charlotte grew close, going downtown together for Sunday shopping trips and having lunch by the lake to tell stories of their childhood. Charlotte herself had become a young women, her light brown hair had turned darker as she grew up and was always twisted into two braids framing her face. The contrast against her bright eyes was endearing, she caught the eye of many men in her 16th year but was stubbornly independent, and focused more on her schoolwork of becoming a nurse.
Sarah Swift had captured Benjamin’s heart without even trying. She was unmistakably the most striking girl in Sharon, many had tried to win her over with gifts of luxury and flattery, but she was the type of girl that saw right through those kinds of things. Her innocence was reflected in her light skin and hair; wild curls framed her delicate face while her deep eyes made you want to look twice. She and Benjamin met one day in the market, he had accompanied James and Rebecca that afternoon while they shopped for the necessities needed when living together.
“Would you mind making yourself useful if you are just going to stand there and gawk at me?” Sarah sneered to Benjamin while she reached for a pot on the top shelf.
“Oh, of course ma’am, pardon me.” He hesitated as she stared at him in concern, half heartedly wondering if she had actually hurt his feelings with her uncouth comment. He reached for the top shelf before she would string up the words to apologize in her usual arrogant fashion.
“Here you go ma’am, I hope I was of help to you.” He smiled nervously, his eyes darting to the floor and back up to her, his uncertainty was what she found most appealing.
“Would you mind grabbing that one too?” She pointed to a painted bowl on the same shelf and smiled; he blushed and nodded in response, taking hold of the bowl with ease before passing it into her fragile hands.
“I must be going now ma’am, good day.” As he turned away toward the door she requested him back at once, he pivoted in surprise and a slight confidence had washed over him.
“Why must you call me ma’am? I do not see you calling these other girls by that name, please call me Sarah.” He smiled and nodded, she continued. “And you are Benjamin Johnson, brother of James? I recall meeting him once before, with his wife Rebecca, what a beauty. ” But all Benjamin could thing about was how this beauty before him knew his name!
“Yes, I came with them into this market you see, but they are leaving soon so I must go, I’m sorry ma’am, maybe we will meet again soon.” Benjamin said sadly.
“Or, I can just come with you!” She hopped off the stool she was leaning on, grabbed his arm and started towards the door, forgetting the pot and bowl he had gotten for her a few minutes before. “And it’s not ma’am, it’s Sarah.”
I remember dinner with all of us that night, James, with Rebecca by his side, beaming at Benjamin for making such use of himself that afternoon, Lucas proud of his second son for finally bringing home a young lady, and me starring at Sarah’s beauty and pondering the way she and Ben had already connected in so little time, it reminded me of Lucas and I but I soon shuttered at the thought. Within a months’ time Sarah had fallen head over heels for Ben, she was at our house most of the days in the week for dinner or just to spend time with Charlotte and Clara, who were already growing into their adolescent years. They got married soon after, moving away from home and starting their own lives together just like James and Rebecca had done a few years before. Charlotte was seventeen and growing up way to fast in my book, she had completed classes focusing in literature and taught her younger brothers to read her old simple books. She soon moved out as well to live with James and Rebecca to be closer to her specialized classes.
Home was lonely when it was just Clara, Daniel, David and I. With the older children off on their own and Lucas far away hard at work, I was idle more than I had intended to be. I wondered about Lucas a lot, he wrote me letters when he could; they got shorter and shorter and never mentioned the children in them. I always asked James and Ben if they had received anything but no one had heard from him. My first letter to him was filled with joy, I wanted to surprise him with this wonderful news I had discovered in his absence.