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            Whenever I try to think of my parents the same image always comes to mind, my father is standing near the hearth with a book and he's reading aloud while my mother is sitting nearby doing some needlework.  There's been times when I have seen my three brothers, much younger of course, accompanying them in our drawing room and when I try to join, the dream always fades.  I have awoken heartbroken many times wishing that I could hear my father reading to us again or to feel my mother's arms wrapped around me.

            I barely remember the details when Freddie, my eldest brother, tried to explain to me that our parents had  been lost at sea.  I recall sitting in the library and he was kneeling in front of me, I could see sadness in his eyes, but I could not believe he was telling the truth.  My thirteen year old mind would not accept it.  But once I saw Jonathon in the doorway, eyes red and still crying, that was when it settled upon me.  I ran from the room and went straight to our tree house, falling prostrate on the floor and sobbing. 

            It all became overwhelmingly clear, my family would never be together again.  In honesty it had begun to reconcile with me months ago when Arthur took his new bride, Lucy, on an extended honeymoon, leaving just Jonathon and myself at home with our parents.  But as their twenty-fifth anniversary neared, Father decided to surprise Mother with a yearlong voyage to India.  Freddie agreed to be my guardian while they were away even though Jonathon was seventeen and wholly able to look after me, not that I required much care.  I even argued that Mrs. Fletcher was still my governess and I would have ample looking after, Freddie remained adamant that he and Patience would be staying while our parents were gone.  Gone . . . that is exactly what happened.  The ocean rose up and swallowed them, ship and all, taking away the most important and constant people in my life.

            Freddie remained true to his word, he and Patience moved from their home in Kent back to the family home in Somerset, to be my guardian until I was settled.  Just over a year from the news of our loss, they welcomed a baby girl into the family and I became an aunt.  Arthur and Lucy made no plans to return to England for the foreseeable future.  He sent letters regularly and sometimes a package from wherever their travels took them, but I had not seen my brother since his wedding, months before our parents left.  Speaking of marriage, it was not long before Jonathon set out to take himself a wife.  I was astonished to find out that he was intent on our childhood friend, Emily, my best friend in the world.  I was left in a tizzy with all of the changes going on in my life, yet I felt the same as always.

            As the wedding neared I longed for my family of the past, when Mother and Father were here, where my brothers and I were still running around and playing together . . . when life was at its happiest for me.  But time stands still for no one and soon it was my moment to begin an adventure.  I would come to realize that Mother was correct in two points, good things come in threes and true love is worth waiting for.

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