“I don’t know what to say to her. Anything I try is clearly not helping. This is difficult for me because I’ve never lost anyone or been through something like this. But you have Jin. Please, talk to her.”
Jin stopped what he was doing and accentuated this loud frustrated sigh. “There isn’t anything……she doesn’t want….” He shook his head and went back to his work. “Just leave her alone. She will get better in time.”
“Time? Time is not going to fix this Jin and she is not getting better! She is getting worse. Why can’t you just talk to her?”
“Because I can’t. Why can’t you just leave her alone? Not every problem needs to be picked at relentlessly the way you do.”
“So you won’t help me then,” Sun asked.
“Fine! Go stick your head in the sand and leave it up to me as usual.”
“Oh c’mon,” Jin called after Sun.
“No. I don’t want to hear it Jin. Do what you always do and cling to your lack of communication skills that have worked so well for you in this life.”
“What does that mean?” Jin yelled across the basement.
“Nothing Jin. Just something I will get over in the blessed band-aid of time.”
So this is what my home life had been reduced to; me crying in my room while Sun and Jin argued over ways to make me “better”, as they put it. How on Simworld, did they think they were going to make THIS better?
Could they turn back time?
Keep Jilly from getting in the truck that day?
Could they bring her back from the dead, restore her life and mine as it once was?
Not seeing any yes answers to these questions. Are you?
After it happened, Sun spent two weeks walking on eggshells around me , while Jin just stared at me from across the room when he thought I wasn’t looking. Which was fine with me since I wanted everyone to just leave me alone. Then I guess my incessant crying must have gotten on their nerves, for I started hearing words like depression and medication.
I promptly told them exactly what would happen if they tried shoving pills down my throat. Needless to say, Jin was not impressed with my comprehensive, articulate imagination. I could always tell when Jin was disconcerted with my behaviour, for out would come the big words in his lectures. He always liked to lord his superiority over me by showing off his grand education and intelligence. Unfortunately, my challenge only put Jin into a mood where he was less worried about my feelings and more concerned with fixing my issue. However, in choosing his approach, he forgot to take into account, that I always got more and more articulate as my emotions rose.
He chose to tell me that it had been over two weeks since Jilly’s death and it was time I stop crying and get on with my life. It’s what Jilly would have wanted for me.
“Oh really. So now you know my best friend better than I do and what she would want. Well guess what? There is no way Jilly would want me to forget her in just two weeks–“
“I didn’t say forget her!”
“And who wrote the rule book on death anyway? Show me where it says one can only mourn for two weeks, then Must Get On With It!”
“Jade, don’t be so dramatic.”
“Dramatic? Oh really?” I laughed sarcastically. “Fine, how about some reality then. I think mom and dad would be so disappointed in you right now. I mean, you got to have the perfect childhood, living with two parents who loved so much that our father willed himself to die, the moment his wife’s heart gave out. Should he have just Gotten Over It?”
The blood drained from Jin’s face, but I wasn’t done yet.
“Apparently you learned nothing about love from your parents, which to be honest, makes me feel really, really sorry for Sun. But don’t you worry Jin. If you happen to die first, I will be sure to tell Sun that she can cry for two weeks, but after that she was free to just Get On With it and forget you!”
Then I turned, stormed out of my room while flinging the glass patio door against the wall. There was no way I was staying in that house a moment longer. I ran as hard as my legs would go, up the hill to the lighthouse where I stopped at the cliff edge and promptly burst into tears. I didn’t mean to be so cruel but I somehow couldn’t help myself and I worried that Jin wouldn’t forgive me. I worried that I would always feel this way. And I wondered, how one could cry so much and yet still produce tears. My eyes burned like they were on fire and I splashed some cool water from the little pond to ease the sting.
I needed a break, from them, that house. Just looking at my computer was too much to bear. The babies cried and I cried. Sun and Jin fought and I cried. I stared at the pic of Jilly and I cried. I was crying in my sleep as well, dreaming of Jilly and Leo. Sometimes I watched the accident from above as I envisioned it from what Jin told me. Other times I was Jilly, seeing the accident coming and then dying; either in the truck, or on the grass after I was flung out the windshield; feeling each excruciating stab of the glass pieces as I passed through.
Jilly! Oh Jilly! Did you suffer before you died? Or did you just wake up in the world beyond never knowing what happened to you? Did you see the car coming? Did you scream Leo’s name?
It was all such torture and I was bereft how to get out from underneath it all.
I stayed at the lighthouse, alone, painting my emotions onto canvas and staring at rolling waves of blue continuous water. Days and nights passed by. My tears had lessened. I felt empty inside, void of emotion till I stood in front of the easel. There, I scored and stabbed paint onto innocent white canvas, forging a painting that screamed anger and resentment.
One or two of those paintings were thrown from the balcony in utterly frustration or screams of rage. I felt there was something in me desperate to be painted. The cork to unplug my body filled with raw emotions. Once I had painted whatever that was, the cork would pop, spilling everything negative within me, and I would begin to feel better. Yet I couldn’t grasp the concept of what it was.
I walked away from every painting session with a pounding head and aching jaw from gritting my teeth in resentment of everyone and everything.
Then, a light at the end of the tunnel. I woke one morning, to my laptop on the ground just outside the lighthouse door. On top was a note written by Sun:
I understand that you want to be alone right now. But perhaps, could you check out this website I have marked down for you? If you can’t talk to us, maybe this will help.
Love Jin and Mama
S.A.I.D. A website to help sims with drinking issues, those who had been convicted of D.U.I’s (driving under the influence) and help for the families who lost their loved ones. Each week, they featured a story from a family who had been touched by juice. I spent hours reading through the site, glued to my spot on the ground. Their stories, while all different, were so very much the same and the loss they felt touched me greatly.
When I felt ready I set up a profile of my own, desperate to reach out to others, anyone if only to feel better. Then I had to write my story, which I did leaving out Jilly’s name, pouring out all the anger, all the loss and fear brewing in my chest.
I signed my letter as J.J. (Jade and Jilly), for I felt I was speaking for both of us, feeling for both of us. If Jilly could talk, tell us how sad she was in the loss of her life, my sorrow would be a pittance in comparison.
When I stood, a sharp pain struck my lower back and I massaged the area till the pain turned to a minor ache. I had been sitting on the ground for close to 4 hours reading everything I could absorb from the site. I hadn’t realized so much time had passed, until that sharp pain. I took a deep breath which helped with the pain but I noticed something else as well. My chest didn’t feel so burdened as it had before. I was still sad, more than sad…..was there even a word for what I felt, how sad I truly was? But breathing was definitely easier
Later that night, I sat by the pond with my foot in the waterfall watching the stars in the sky. It felt peaceful, and I looked to the stars.
“I MISS YOU JILLY! More than you could possibly know. But I’m so angry too. Why did you have to leave me?” Tears began to run down my face and I swallowed around the lump in my throat. “I’m all alone and I don’t know how to be in this world without you.”
I stared at the sky like I was looking for an answer that never came. Eventually, I crawled into my sleeping bag and managed to sleep through the night free of all nightmares and terrors.
The next morning I was sitting at the table reading one of my father’s books when the open laptop beside me “dinged”. Up popped a message box in the bottom right corner of my screen.
My heart was beating in my chest and my body felt all weak. I don’t know if it was the fact a stranger was trying to talk to me, or that he was an 18 year old guy. I mean, Jin kept me so isolated, that the only guy I had ever talked to was Travis and except for the day he took the puppies, all we ever did was write to each other. Okay, this was just writing too, right? So do I respond? Not respond?
I paced around the lighthouse grass for a couple of hours thinking about what to do. In the end it came down to this, even Sun wanted to me to talk about how I felt but talking to her wouldn’t make me feel better, simply because she didn’t know. This guy did, or maybe did.
Soooo, I answered him back which began a chatting relationship and I began to feel better, little by little. Alex told me that since his family died, his father had become very protective of him; always kept track of his where abouts, never let him spend time with his friends unless he took them to their destination. His dad gave him a cell, but he wasn’t allowed a texting plan nor a long distance plan, so we couldn’t talk on the phone, even though he so badly wanted to. Lastly, his father closely monitored his computer usage. He was allowed a Sim Book page, but could only have family and his best friend Zach on his friend list. His father had password protected the messaging so he couldn’t use it. Its really sucked he said, but until he turned 20 or finished university, these were his father’s rules.
His father didn’t know about the messaging app on S.A.I.D and to keep that from happening I was not to message him in case his father saw it pop up. All this meant we talked on his time, but I didn’t care. I was so happy to have another sim to talk to, limited or not!
I did check out his Sim Book page.
It wasn’t public, however I did get to see a few pics of his sister and his best friend Zach. Alex was so gorgeous, I wondered why he didn’t have a girlfriend. How did one go about asking the gender preference anyway?
He did tell me about where he lived, in this little town up North where summer only lasted about 9 weeks of the year and the rest of the year, it was cold and dreary. The light of the sun was very dull and depressing which he never questioned, until they took a trip to Sunlit Tides. There it was so bright, it was almost blinding he said, and you could feel the sun soaking into your skin, warming you to your soul. He complained about it to his parents when they returned but all they had to say was, “This is our life, here. It’s a good place to live.” In his mind, he couldn’t understand why anyone would want to live here, when there were places like Sunlit Tides.
His sister’s name was Tangerine….like how odd is that? Her mother gave her the name because of the tone of her hair, which did look a light orange. And like her name, everything in her life had to be tangerine in colour.
Alex told me that as a child, he hated that is mother made him take his baby sister everywhere he went, that he never had time for just his friends. One by one they drifted off, but his best friend Zach never once complained. As a teen, Alex didn’t mind as much and his sister became one of his closest friends. You can definitely tell in all the pictures he sent me.
Tangerine was 14 here, he said.
This was a summer day, he said and look at the dull sky. Luckily, the local pond was a bit like a hot spring, not hot but warm enough to swim. In this boring town with nothing to do, it’s usually very busy.
“We don’t even have a bowling alley or a movie rental store. Just a crappy movie theater with worn out seats and stale popcorn. Why stale? Cause no one ever goes to the movie theatre! LOL”
Sounded better than what I had. At this point, we had been talking for weeks now and I was starting to feel really comfortable with him. He didn’t pressure me for information and I had been careful not to say too much, but I didn’t want him to lose interest either. Little by little I told him about my life. How living on an island alone as a family was so boring. About the family and feeling I never fit in. A brother for a father, who acted as both flipping back and forth till I had whiplash. His wife who started out as my mother, until she became a mother herself to quads, then I felt in the way and an extra stressor she didn’t need. Her mother, who felt responsible in the beginning to declare herself as grand-mere but never truly thought of herself that way, and had completely ignored me since her REAL grandchildren had arrived.
Surrounded by sims and yet I felt so alone. Jilly was my only lifeline, someone I could call my own with no obligations or strings attached. She could have easily stopped writing to me, ignored my Skype calls at any time. She was a true and loyal friend. What does one do when a part of your heart is ripped away? How does one cope? It wasn’t like I had the ability to, over time make new friends.
Alex and I talked about all of this and more. He responded by saying he hoped I thought of him as a friend, for he thought of me that way. No one else understood what he was going through the way I did. He lost a sister and a best friend and in essence, I had lost the same.
We became very close, as one does sharing your heart, your joys and disappointments, sometimes talking most of the day if his father was out. There were nights, we talked until I fell asleep.
Then, one day Alex came on and said, “I was at school in math class today and I found myself thinking about you instead of the math equations. I was looking around the class at all the girls and I started wondering what you look like. I was kinda thinking it wasn’t fair you know what I look like and I don’t you what you look like. Soooooo, how about sending me a picture?”
O.M.G.! I started freaking out and not for the reasons I should have been as Jin had taught me. I was thinking, a boy wanted my picture! An 18 year old gorgeous boy wants my picture! O.M.G, O.M.G, O.M.G.!!!!! Visions of what I should wear and how I would arrange my hair started flashing through my mind. I was so busy thinking about this whole thing when I heard the familiar ding of messaging.
“Oh, sorry. Yes I can do that. No problem. Just give me time to find one.”
“Okay. I will wait. Don’t take too long, this mystery is killing me!”
Well I made him wait. It had to be just right. I wanted to look sweet but sexy all at the same time. I did my nails and my hair, then touched up my make up. I didn’t want anyone to see me taking the pic, so I waited till the house went dark, moved to the other side of the pond below the height of the bushes and set up my tri-pod there. Snapped a few pics before sending him this one.
Almost immediately, the computer dinged.
“WOW! (bunch of emoji’s followed) You are super gorgeous! Funny though, I pictured you as a blond. I love blondes. So what, you’re Chinese? I can’t really tell. Oh man I can’t believe just how beautiful you are. This is a stupid thing to admit out loud, but I am going to be dreaming about you tonight. Just Wow!”
Then another ding came a few minutes later. “Here is one for you. It’s just Zach and I in the backyard cooling off in the sprinkler. This was one of our rare sunny summer days. Tangerine took the pic and was laughing at us, which is why Zach is pointing at her. Goodnight J.J.”
My heart soared! I was giddy with excitement and deep down I knew I would be dreaming about him too. This was the moment my sorta, kinda boyfriend began.
Guess I got my gender preference question answered, huh?