Growing up life was good, simple. I took it for granted.
Why not right? I had a stay at home mom, and two older brothers. I was the baby and my family treated me as such.
My dad was an electrician for a machine repair company only 10 miles from Laurelhurst, our suburban home stay. We were never rich but we never hurt for cash either. I never wore thrift store clothing, I never had to eat the same food two days in a row, overall life was good. I know it now, but then I didn’t have a clue. Then, life was normal, I never knew things any other way. I was young like that.
I attended public school like most kids did in Laurelhurst, graduated top of my class and was the first in my family to get accepted to Harvard University. Yes, I was going to do my first year pre-med. I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I was ambitious, filled with goals and dreams.
It’s amazing how life seems to be going so great, those sleepless nights finally paying off. Because I can tell you, that when you’re flying high you feel invincible. I did, and it was the best feeling I ever had.
My brothers attended Washington State, not far from home. Ridge finished his degree in accounting, and Freddy was already a working electrical engineer for a local company. Both my brothers married young. Freddy divorced Celeste a year after they’d tied the knot. He kept insisting she was insane and mom agreed. Freddy had never been happier than the day he signed those papers.
My eldest brother Ridge was six years into his marriage and a proud father of twin girls, Alison and Stacy. With a wife that practically took out his socks when he got home from work, Ridge felt like he was king.
He hardly ever came home but mom and dad didn’t really mind. They believed that no news meant good news. I think they were just tired of having such a noisy house and wanted the peace. My parents liked their quiet time.
And me? I was a soon to be student of Harvard. Life was looking up for me, and with my parents who actually considered this and my two brothers who were more than thrilled, I had enough money to pay for the books I needed. Which was the only thing my scholarship wasn’t covering.
The world felt touchable and mine for the taking. I was ready to spread my wings and leave my mark on my country. And before I knew it I was in New York City attending Harvard University.
The first year went on by faster than I thought. I didn’t make it home until Christmas. My short breaks went on by studying for extra credits and working at the Sleeve, an upper class five star restaurant in New York City. I was too exhausted to do anything else. With no personal life, I was a nineteen year old Harvard student with no boyfriend and zero friends. I wasn’t refined enough for the rich kids, not smart enough for the geeks and not serious enough to hang with the other scholarship kids. It was unacceptable to just be me, I guess. Which was the main reason I got the job and focused on my studies.
I believed that if I kept my head on my goals the time would fly. The thing is I wasn’t paying attention to other stuff, my mind was focused on my work. That was my first mistake. My mom always told me that multi tasking was important, and looking back I should’ve listened, but I didn’t. Before I knew it I was on my second year and that was when I got sidetracked.
It was one of those days, where the wind was just wilder than the previous day’s. No certainty of what the day would bring. I always found the air much more cleaner and refreshing to smell on campus than the stuffy scent of Central New York city. I loved spending time on the grounds while I immersed my brain into the complexity of human anatomy. And that day was no different, a bit of wind didn’t deter me in the slightest.
I had two free periods before I had to attend a Chemistry class. I was wearing my signature Harvard outfit, which consisted of chino pants and a white button down shirt, completed with a pair of flat nude pumps.
My first day at Harvard I arrived in my normal clothes, a baggy black Levi jeans, black t-shirt paired off with Neon green and pink D&G sneakers. Around my head was my signature shocking blue headphones. I was there for all but ten minutes before I learnt that they didn’t like my loose jeans and tank tops I normally wore. If that wasn’t ‘message’ enough, the next day my bio professor kindly asked me to dress more ‘conservative’. She even let me out early so I could purchase some ‘serious clothing’. Now it was a year later and I barely recognized myself.
My maroon framed glasses was the only sign on my body that told people I actually liked color, but you didn’t hear me complaining. I had a plan, goals. I was going to be a kick ass Doctor. Never mind if I lost a little bit of myself along the way. Who the hell cared if I lost weight and became a shell of the person I was. So fucking what, if I was god damn miserable. I had goals damnit.
But let me tell you the thing about goals, they meant nothing, abso-fucking-lutely nothing if you weren’t paying attention to the obstacles, because there were always obstacles. Mine came in a six foot, two hundred pound male named Landon Bennet. He was gorgeous, perfect teeth, perfect hair and a laugh that had me making many mistakes in my life. I met him on my second day of my second year at Harvard.
When I think on how cliché it sounds, saying he was so perfect, so gorgeous, I think of how young and naïve I was back then. I think of how stupid I was. He was a junior partner at a law firm, six years older than me and my biology professor’s brother.
He charmed me within a week, took my virginity in a month and snatched my heart in three. I was a goner for a handsome face and a dazzling smile and in just a year I was Mrs Hannah Bennet.
In my third year of med school my days were spent on Campus and hospitals while my nights split into attending Galas or Charity events always ending under Landon. I failed my third year and Landon insisted that I didn’t need to work, that I should stay at home. Studying wasn’t important, I was a kept woman. And like the good wife I was I agreed.
That was the second mistake I made. I should’ve never left Harvard. My parents were devastated. And my brothers? they didn’t even talk to me. That was when I made my third mistake, I cut my family out. I forgot about them, ignored them and eventually they forgot about me too.
Looking back I think it was on the third year of our marriage that Landon changed. He wanted a son, I couldn’t give it to him. I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t fall pregnant. The doctors insisted I was fine, Landon was fine, we were both young fertile people. We had a great sex life, we never used protection, I couldn’t understand it. That should’ve been my first sign but remember I said I wasn’t paying attention. At this stage in my life I had one goal, pleasing my husband and that was having a baby.
Unfortunately my husband didn’t feel as pleased with me as I thought. I found this out on our fourth year of marriage, when a woman walked up to our door with a baby in her arms claiming it was Landon’s son. It was Landon’s son. My husband was cheating on me. Of course he blamed the entire thing on me. Accusing all of this on me, he said it was my fault because I couldn’t fall pregnant, I couldn’t give him a son.
After that day I stopped being the good wife, I stopped caring for my husband. Because you see that day I had a secret of my own, I was pregnant.
I filed for divorce three weeks later. Landon didn’t contest it, he was too wrapped up being a new dad. And I was glad. If he knew I was carrying his kid I don’t think he would’ve let me go. Then again would he really have cared? He let me go without a fight the first time. I don’t think adding a baby after he already had one would’ve changed his mind.
So there I was, a pregnant twenty four year old divorced, Medschool drop out.
There was no place to stay, nothing to fall back on. Not like I could’ve gone home. I had burned those bridges for a man who couldn’t keep it in his pants and practically replaced me with an older woman. I had little to no money in my bank account because when I was getting married I didn’t stop to think about the anti-nuptial contract I signed because I was too naïve. And let’s just say Landon wasn’t feeling very generous after I destroyed his house. Technically I didn’t blame the guy, I did over do it. Throwing a piano out of his window was bound to piss him off. At the time that was the goal, now I was wishing I didn’t. Especially since I was going to have to tell him in nine months time that we actually made a baby together. I wasn’t a bad person. Any man no matter how much of an asshole he was, deserved to know his kid, well at least be given the chance. I was hoping Landon wouldn’t want that chance.
So pregnant, homeless, and six suitcases full of clothes, shoes and underwear that wouldn’t fit me in five months time, it was very light to say my options were limited. I didn’t know much about what I was going to do, but like always I had a plan, and this time I was finally paying attention. I was going to move to a small place, where nobody knew Landon Bennet, the famous Mercantile Attorney. I wanted a place where I could just live. Somewhere safe for my baby, cheap for my pocket and far from New York City.
A small town. The good thing about America was that we had that in spades. There were small towns everywhere. Less people, quiet places, perfect for me, safe for my baby.
Choosing a place was the easy part, but getting a job proved tricky. I travelled to Texas and stopped in town after town. I applied for different jobs and when I didn’t get it I moved on.
By the time I finally found my new home I had sold my jewelry, and pawned five pairs of jimmy choo shoes. I had around three hundred dollars in my bank account from living wisely and was eighteen weeks pregnant with my daughter, Jocelyn May Evans the second.
I was also the newest medical secretary for the Med life hospital in a small town called Kanla. My income would be good enough to rent a small apartment on the outer part of the residential area and support my baby. It was going to be tight, but we’d get by.
That was my goal. I was paying attention and thinking about the bigger picture. I was finally multi tasking, because I didn’t have choice. I, Hannah Evans was a single, pregnant woman in a new town.
It was scary starting a life on my own and then bringing a child into the mix. But pray and behold, after fifteen hours of labor pains and an emergency c-section later on July 15th Jocelyn May Evans the second was born.
I was a mother and for the first time in years I didn’t feel lost, I didn’t feel unwanted, I wasn’t alone anymore. I was a mother of a healthy baby girl. It was then that I decided that the only goal I would ever have was to be the best mother I could be and lord did I try.
Coming this August
River’s keeper – Available for Pre-Order now