You're Not Broken

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Authors: Gemma Hart
and then take the money and go,” he advised.
     
                  Kat shook her head. Go where?
     
                  But Mr. Rilkes had been right. Offers began cropping up overnight throughout the town for their buildings and businesses. Some gave in and took the money and left. But many didn’t. Many were proud of their small town and wanted to stick it out. They believed if just given the right opportunity, they could turn Peytonville around.
     
                  So many came to Kat for small loans to keep their businesses afloat while they tried to ward off the big city buyers. Banks wouldn’t give them any money when they could see the looming shadows of their new owners coming in. And they knew Kat had some money after Uncle Doughy’s death.
     
                  And Kat, who loved the town as much as her family, could turn away no one. So the small fortune Doughy had amassed for them slowly dwindled over the two years as they worked to keep the town afloat.
     
                  Malcolm refused to think more about college when their livelihood was on the line. It broke Kat’s heart to see Malcolm push back his education even further but she was secretly grateful to have his support.
     
                  And then Dillon relapsed.
     
                  It was as if the universe wanted to see just how sturdy Kat’s back really was. Would one more crisis finally break it?
     
                  Dillon, the baby of the family, was immediately rushed to the hospital where he received treatment as an inpatient for three months before being moved up as an outpatient.
     
                  Sick and thin, he took one class a week at the local college just to give him something to do besides sitting at home all day. He was bright and independent but Kat could see even his stalwart will slowly breaking down as he endured another round of chemotherapy.
     
                  Kat looked up at the wall. It was four in the morning. “Guys, we really should get some sleep,” she said, trying to avoid all the tough questions for the night. “You guys shouldn’t have even been up. Especially Dill.”
     
                  Malcolm put out a hand to help his brother off the couch. Kat’s heart ached to see the twenty year old’s knees quake as he tried to gain his balance.
     
                  “Dill was the one putting up a racket the whole night to wait for you,” Malcolm said, putting an arm around his brother. “He finally wrestled me downstairs to wait up.” He grinned and knuckled Dill on the head.
     
                  Dillon snorted, his thin frame not enough to wrestle a feather. But he grinned up at his big brother, clearly glad to have him for company.
     
                  The two marched upstairs. Once Kat heard their door shut, she headed over to the kitchen to pour herself a healthy glass of wine, which she carried upstairs to her room. For months now, she’d needed a good glass or three of wine before she could fall into a fitful sleep. During the day, she could hide the stress of fighting every day but at night, it all unraveled like yarn.
     
                  Once inside, she took a long gulp before sitting down at her small vanity desk. Pulling open the tiny drawer beneath it, she pulled out an old manila envelope.
     
                  Taking in a deep breath, she opened it and dumped the contents out. Well worn and well read letters from another lifetime ago poured out across the small desk.
     
                  Kat picked the first one up. Some of the ink from the front of the envelope had smeared off over the years.
     
                  She hadn’t read or opened these letters in a long time. She had learned to put this part of her history behind her. After all , she had told herself countless times, it had only been

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