I woke around five in the morning to find Jo fast asleep beside me. Despite not having to be at work for another four hours, I could not find it within me to get back to sleep. I had woken from a terrifyingly vivid dream in which Ben had decided to run away, and I couldn’t find him no matter where I looked. I had felt so hopeless in the dream, and it was a horrible feeling to have, even in a dream. I rose out of bed, careful not to wake Jo, and tiptoed down the short hall to Ben’s room. I creaked the door open and saw his sleeping form inside his race car bed. His small chest rose and fell peacefully. I let out a small sigh of relief, as if I was scared I wouldn’t find him in his bed.
Ben was just over four years old. I had given birth to him just under nine months after graduating from Stable College. That summer, I had an internship at a small publication company. I stayed with the company after that. It was a great place to work. I adored my coworkers and my boss, it was an interesting job, I was reading and editing, doing what I loved, and I made enough money to support both me and Ben. Though, when Ben came along, I did find it significantly harder to go to work and make enough money. Soon after that, however, I started dating Jo. That came about rather unexpectedly. But after Jack had left me and the baby to work abroad for his family’s company, Jo was very supportive and him and I came to be very close friends. I guess it would only take a little time until we started dating. And he was so supportive and loving with Ben. After Jack left, I hit rock bottom emotionally. He promised he would be back within a few months, and that everything was going to work out perfectly. He never came back.