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Rated: E · Fiction · Family · #2104139
No dialog >700 words, prompt: gratitude, Word count: 369, 1st Place
There were no words suitable for my gratitude. How can one find the words that adequately convey the concept of love?

I was eight years old when the Madsen's adopted me. I knew I was way past the prime age of adoption, as this was common knowledge for orphans, but these folks chose me. My two brothers and three sisters were scattered into foster homes or worse, but I was embraced by these people.

It was not the fact that I had my own room decorated in my favorite shade of pink. It was because I eventually grew to feel safe under the blankets that warmed me at night. It was not the bounty of food on the table, but the lack of hunger pains. I could go on and on, but I think you understand.

I thrived in this home of love. I finished high school, went on to college, started a successful business, married and had children of my own. Yet my siblings were either dead from violence, in prison, homeless or drug and alcohol abusers barely scraping out an existence. I honestly believed I would have been a statistic as well, had they not saved me.

My mother, Beverly Madsen, passed away last month and my father, Victor, was only slightly aware of her loss. After sixty years of marriage, I am unsure if his dementia was a curse or a blessing.

Silently, we sat on the bench he built with his young hands. Those older hands now struggled to tear apart bread for the gulls gathered at our feet. A gentle breeze from the ocean glided across my face as delicate and soft as my mother's cheek when she whispered sweetly in my ear. I smiled at the thought.

They gave themselves to me as a needy child and I am thankful I am able to return that gift to them in their time of need, instead of abandoning them as adult orphans.

With bread crumbs on his lap, he looked over at me. I extended my hand to him. He smiled briefly and then wrapped his gnarled hand in mine. We stood and made our way back to the house where it all began.
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