4| Our New Reality

You know that moment when life seems to be hitting you hard, and just as you figure out how to roll with the punches, the floor falls out from under your feet? You find yourself falling down into an abyss that you cannot escape from. This is my reality.

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3| Family Tradition and News

It’s been a while. Autumn is nearly done, winter is soon to come. To be honest, it’s hard to tell what’s autumn and what’s winter here in Strangerville…I miss the snow of Granite Falls.

Our kids are growing up. Cayson is distant, has been for a while. I don’t know what to do about that…I am sure he will come to me eventually. Oscar may be a teenager now, but he’s nothing like his older brother. He isn’t afraid to tell us what is going on, and he loves his little sister. Xialla is growing by leaps and bounds too, she’s doing well in school and Scouts, which is great! Really, it is. I just wish the worry in my stomach and tightness in my chest would ease every time she walked out that front door. I am deeply afraid for her safety, especially here in Strangerville.

I am tired more often now.

I find myself feeling my age more and more. Red will often be by me as I nap, and I find more and more grey hairs when I stare in the mirror.

He takes his studies seriously.

Of my three children, I worry the least about Oscar. He has a good head on his shoulders. He’s talking about sports teams, universities…he’s thinking of Britechester. He worries about what he will do with his life, but I keep telling him he has time to decide. University is a place to discover yourself, is it not?

Taking my little girl for some late night fishing.

But enough of that. I am sure you are curious about the ‘Family Tradition’ part of this post, and here it is. I finally decided it’s time for my brood to learn about the Family Tradition. Hope took her kids to the docks, I took mine to the island of strays. Xialla is a bit young to find one herself, so she and I spent our time fishing while her older brothers went and found their strays.

Cayson had some trouble finding a compatible pet while Oscar found Monka right away! Success, another generation of strays!

Despite my worries and troubles, I am very proud of my boys, and what great young men they have become. I hope they pass this tradition onto their kids…I explained it to them, and how Mom did this for us, but ultimately, it is their decision.

Monka seems grateful and happy in her new home.

Xialla is still our little princess, and despite the strange circumstances of her birth, Lyssa considers her a daughter. If only she didn’t have to grow up…

Unfortunately, time never stops, even if that’s all we wish for. Soon my babies will be grown and gone, and Lys and I will just be dust in the ground. With more free time on my hands, I think on the future a lot. Will they be okay without us? What about Blaz and Marin? Does Hope think on the same things that I do? It sucks being an adult, it really does.

Yes, life does go on. Unfortunately, it likes to throw curveballs…Hope came by one night as I was installing the latest firewalls on Oscar’s new computer. Couldn’t be too cautious, right? She was nervous…and worried. I could see the tear stains through her makeup. What was going on?

“Andi…have you seen Marin by chance?”

Marin? What’s wrong with Marin? “No, haven’t seen her or talked with her. Why?”

“I…maybe it’s nothing. A teenager thing maybe. She left home last night, I’m not sure where she is.”

“Well…I can ask some of my conta-“

“No, don’t. She’ll come home, I’m sure of it.” She swallowed with difficulty as tears leaked from her eyes. “She and I haven’t been getting along recently…so it’s probably just that. Maybe she needs some time to be by herself…”

“Will you and Erwin be okay? How’s Panda handling this?” She shook her head.

“Blaz doesn’t know, yet. Erwin is trying to track her social media, you know how he is…I’ve looked all over Del Sol, but there’s nothing so far. She’s off the grid, for now. I’ll be okay. As soon as I find her, I will be fine. Don’t worry.”

I did what I could to comfort her, but I worried. I worried greatly.

I quietly looked into the Marin situation, and Lyssa made sure to keep Cayson in line. His grades were beginning to plummet, and his attitude was slipping. She was able to smile and record, and it was all I could do to not curl up and scream at the world. Why…why was this all happening?

I hid all of this from Xi though. She was too young and innocent. It was my job as her father to protect her, and to keep her spirits up. Red kept patrolling her room, he was such a good boy! I made sure her projects were excellent quality and that she had hugs and a good bedtime story. She wouldn’t be affected by all of this, if I could help it.

Speaking of Cayson…a girl came by the other day. They seemed rather chummy.

Sibling love.

I am grateful to Oscar for helping Xialla with her homework. She still struggles with simple concepts, but she can do his Calculus homework with ease. I suppose it’s how her brain is different from a normal sim’s? She enjoys his company, which is great, because Cayson just kind of coexists with her and that’s it. I worry this hurts her in some way.

It seems like all I do is worry now. It’s been a few days, and I can’t find Marin. The MILITARY cannot find my niece, and not for lack of trying. It’s as if she has disappeared from the face of the earth. My heart is sick for Hope, for our family. I can only pray Marin will come home soon. As for Cayson, I fear the worst is yet to come with him…what am I going to do? What can I do to prevent this happening to my family? Marin…if you are reading this, please come home. We love you, your Mom loves you. Please…come home.

Andi

2.5| Life’s In Shambles

“Mom? Mom…please…”
“Don’t go, PLEASE!” The animals cried with me.
“Eden Brooks…I said I’d come for you soon didn’t I? And here I am…”

The time came. Andi was asleep. Practice has been hard on him. I saw Mom just standing outside, looking out at the Valley. Tears came flooding from my eyes when she saw Death. I remember him from Dixie’s time. Mom…no…please. Mom, please. The words never came out.

“Mom…”

Andi came shambling out behind me while I sobbed. I guess his gut instinct must’ve woken him. He looked like HELL. My heart fragments shattered into a thousand pieces as he stared blankly at our mother’s lifeless body, the Reaper’s Scythe over her like an omen.

“MOM!”
“Andi please…I can’t lose my brother too.”

I saw the moment it hit him. Rage and anger that I had never seen before in my brother came out and lashed at the Reaper. I had to leave. Tears slipped down my cheeks as his angry words did nothing to the hooded deity, his sobs echoing in my ears. She was gone…

Life goes on. We went to school, said nothing to anyone. Andi threw himself into earning Scouting badges. I didn’t tell him that Dixie came for a visit the night Mom passed. I petted her and told her to look after Mom for us. Chores, grades, and worry plagued my mind..

Andi still refused to talk to me. I felt so alone and helpless. Had I lost both my twin and my mother in the same night? Even the animals needed their own time and space. Cosmo slept constantly, growling in his sleep. Zoey tried to comfort Andi. It didn’t help.

I didn’t want to have a party, but Andi didn’t ask me.
I make videos and bring in whatever cash I can. Bills are hard!

Andi and I still aren’t speaking. We got in with a group of kids at school, had a bit of a New Year’s shindig…got into the bar. We just had 1 drink each I swear! Both Dixie and Mom showed up. Mom never seems happy when her ghost is around. Still, I am trying…I really am Mom, I promise.

2.5| Mom…

Our Christmas tree caught on fire.
Mom came and haunted. She wasn’t pleased.
Not even Zoey could make Hope or I smile.
Mom…I promise, we are doing our best…you are the one who left!

Christmas came soon after Mom’s death. I tried to be upbeat for Hope. I really did. She didn’t buy it. I made cookies, got out the decorations…we set the tree on fire with the lights. Everything was chaos and horrible and Mom floated around watching us fail. Life sucks.

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