Monday, September 23, 2019

Microstory 1196: Braeden Jeffries

Braeden Ray grew up in a dangerous household, to parents who never wanted to have children, and made little effort to adapt their lives to account for him. When his grandmother passed, they figured he was old enough to take care of himself, so they still didn’t really take care of him. A horrible accident led to a happy ending, where Braeden’s nextdoor neighbors decided to take him in. It was a long and difficult process, but since the Rays were clearly unfit as parents, and the Jeffries showed how good of parents they were, the courts finally decided to make it happen. They were able to adopt Braeden as their son, making him their biological son, Andar’s brother. Braeden continued to struggle in his life, for there were many simple lessons no one had ever taken the time to teach him. He was patient and open-minded, however, as long as others showed him the same respect. He fell one grade behind in school, but since they had moved to Kansas City, none of his peers had to know that. His teachers were even all willing to lie about his age to protect him, which Braeden would only come to appreciate fully when he was an adult. According to his new family, once the court process was over, they would never have to see the Rays again, but if there was one thing they taught Braeden during his short time with them, it was how to lie. What Braeden didn’t tell anyone—not even Andar—was that he did confront his birth parents when he was older. It was the ultimate test of his growth and maturity as a person. He didn’t get angry or threaten them. He remained calm and articulate. He felt like he needed them to hear it from him how horrible they were, and how much harder his life was because of it, even now that he was with a good family. His origins were always going to be part of his past, and would always inform his later decisions, even when he didn’t actively realize it. The biggest thing he worried about was what could go wrong if something like this happened again. Even though they were awful parents, the Rays did indeed love each other, and there was too much of a risk that they would end up having more children, if only accidentally. Braeden could not let this happen. He couldn’t let them ruin someone else’s life; especially since this hypothetical sibling would not be afforded the same opportunity he was given those years ago. He warned them of vague retaliation should they ever make the mistake of making him a brother or sister, but after he left, he felt like it wasn’t enough. The only way to be sure that history wouldn’t repeat itself would be to take drastic measures. He went right back, and personally paid for his birth father’s vasectomy, and his mother’s minilaparotomy. It was an unusual thing to do, but Braeden strongly believed it was profoundly necessary. The Rays were actually grateful for this, so it wasn’t like he forced them against their will, and they never attempted to reverse it later. This truly was the last time Braeden would see these two in person, though he did keep an eye on them from a distance, to make sure they didn’t do anything against his rules, which went beyond this one requirement. He returned home, focused on his career, and made a pretty big name for himself in his chosen industry.

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