Chapter 24: Benji Ross
1850 – Dorchester County, Maryland, America
I got back only a short time after Kesha had our baby, a boy. He was the most perfect baby I’d ever seen. My heart filled with love as tears ran down my face. How was I going to leave this little man? We named him John.
Kesha was so relieved to see me, she sobbed. “I didn’t think you’d be back, I thought you was gone.”
“Hush wife, you just get some sleep now,” I said, taking the wrapped babe into my arms. “I’ll hold this little guy while you rest.”
“You won’t go nowhere, Benji, you promise?” Her eyes searched mine for deception. I shook my head, “Trader ain’t comin’ until the day after Christmas, you got plenty of time.” I nodded and looked at my son tryin’ to sort out what I could do. The night was filled with little John wakin’ and wantin’ to feed and me lookin’ out the door wonderin’ if I had the time to catch my sister and brothers. Every time Kesha woke, she’d smile and sigh. “Praise God you’re still here,” she’d say.
Sometime towards mornin’ I dozed off. I woke with a start and could see the line of the horizon begin to brighten. Kesha and the baby were sound asleep. “I’m sorry,” I whispered, “I’m so terribly sorry.” Then I left without makin’ a noise.
As soon as I was a little distance from the farm, I broke into a run and ran like the devil himself was on my heels. The sun poked along the ridge and I prayed I could still catch up with the others.