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Where to begin? There are so many things that I want to, no, that I need to remember. I find that there is a limit to the capacity of the human mind. And I fear I am reaching it. Eighty years of life, thus far, and I’ve already forgotten so much. How long will I continue to live before I lose myself completely?

This is why I have decided to keep these journals. I will start my story from the beginning. What I can recall of it. And continue forever, if necessary. It is my greatest hope that these memories are not completely gone, but instead are compacted, filed away somewhere, and that perhaps I can recall them, if only I had a trigger to do so.

My name is Johnathan. I was born on August 13, 1876. Although that was many years ago, I still look as I did on the day of my wedding, twenty-five years later. It was, quiet possibly, the first, and one of the last, truly happy days in my life.

I may have forgotten the face of my parents, but I could never forget hers, despite the years. Amilia. She was wise beyond her years, though several my junior. It didn’t matter. We had been in love for some time before our wedding day finally arrived. Her father and mine were in joint agreement that we should wed. We couldn’t have agreed more.

The ceremony may have been plain, but Amilia was a vision. She wore her mother’s dress, tailored to fit her slender frame. She looked like an angel as she neared the alter. I took her hand in mine and promised myself to her. I think her smile, in that moment, might be what stays with me clearest. So much love.

We danced too late, and drank to much. We didn’t have the energy to consummate the marriage until the following day. It was worth the wait. Luck was on our side, and our first daughter, Catherine, was conceived just then.

I was home for our first child’s birth. The labor lasted nearly a day. But they both came through it just fine. I had to leave for a business trip just before the birth of our second daughter. Rosaline wasn’t expected for three weeks. But she proved to have a habit of being impatient. When I arrived home, I was greeted with tiny wails.

If I remember nothing else, I hope I keep these.

After that, life became a whirlwind. Time seemed to pass with a blink. Ten blissful years passed without any great upset. I’d have given anything for them to have continued on that way. But life never does. I’d give almost anything to forget what happened next.