I pressed my forehead against the cool glass of the window, staring out as Bridgeport passed me by. My stomach was in knots as the cabbie took me to the train station but I was also so excited.
Okay, so more nervous than excited. I was scared, unable to keep my mind off of everything that could go wrong. What’s the worst that could happen? I thought to myself. I could wind up coming back to my parents. But that would never happen. I didn’t want anything to do with them and knew they didn’t want anything to do with me. Even before I finished with my teenaged years, I was making plans for this big move.
My father was always yelling at me, and his favorite name for me was ‘trash’. He was often making fun of me, or else prompting me to join a sports team. His other annoyance was my lack of a steady girlfriend. Even when I did go to the prom with my friend, Louisa, he just told me it was a pity date. “No woman will ever want you!” he was always yelling.
Every day after school I’d stand in front of our apartment building and stare at the highway. I longed to just go away, far away. My parents would never miss me. They didn’t even like me, they didn’t like any kid. “Just grow up already and do something with your life,” my father would snarl. One day I accidentally let slip that my dream was to have a big family and he just laughed at me.
“You?” he had demanded that day. “You’ll never amount to anything.”
My free time was spent in the bathroom, the only place with a lock. I would turn the shower on and then cry for a long time, hoping neither of my parents would hear me.
And that was my life. Miserable, alone, being attacked by my father. And my mother?
“Oh, it’s you. Hi.” She often used that as a greeting, as if she forgot she even had a kid. She was always busy sucking up to the CEO of the corporation she worked for. She never got anywhere, though, which often put her in an angrier mood than she normally was.
The day of my graduation was the best day of my life. Well, so far. I wore my robes and hat with pride, having a huge smile on my face as I was given my certificate and the little award… that was a surprise. Everyone in my class got one of those “Most Likely” thingies but I had never even thought about what I might get. When the principal handed it to me, I stared at the words in shock. Most Likely To Have A Big Family.
I clutched it in my hands all the way home, my smile even bigger. A big family was my dream. I loved kids. I really loved kids, and sometimes spent my free time babysitting. But that was all behind me now. Now I was off to the train station, and from there–my new home. Sunset Valley. A place I had read about in brochures and magazines. It was at a beach and was warm enough all year round that there were always blooming flowers and green grass. Sometimes it was chilly, according to the brochures, but it rarely snowed even on the coldest night of winter.
The train ride there was long but that cheered me up. The longer the better because that meant being far! However my stop came up and I got off the train. It was early morning, since I had traveled most the night to get here… but where was here?
I walked over to the map and squinted my eyes. Sunset Valley was still a couple miles away. No train ran into the place which was fine with me. It was a nice day so I decided to walk. Soon I arrived at the top of a hill and I stared down at the Valley. My new home, I thought taking in a deep breath. I could smell the sea even from where I was standing.
It was getting kinda warm but I ran down the hill anyway, laughing and enjoying myself. My heart felt like it was going to burst with joy as I finally arrived in the town. I slowed now, walking down the streets and looking around. I had to get to City Hall where, for the past couple months, I had exchanged a few conversations with an employee who would sell me the deed to my own plot of land. It only cost two hundred simoleons which was fine by me, since I only had five thousand with me and I knew I’d have to put walls up.
As I walked by a huge park in the middle of the town I began whistling a little tune.
I decided that I would be spending plenty of time in this park! The flowers were gorgeous and I could see kids playing on the playground. I beamed at the sound of those voices and by the time I got to City Hall, I couldn’t get any happier.
I stared at the doors for several minutes, a bit scared to go in. Don’t be silly, I thought as I pushed the door open and went inside. It wasn’t too busy and I saw several people just standing around chatting. Several of them greeted me and introduced themselves. They all knew who I was. It seems that Sunset Valley was one of those places. Everyone knew everything.
Katie Harris, the woman in charge of land deeds, laughed when I mentioned it. “Oh honey, this place is just full of gossip. If you do anything, before the next clock chime you can bet half the town already knows!”
My smile froze on my face. “Sounds a bit like Bridgeport.”
Mrs. Harris rolled her eyes. “Nah, don’t worry. Sunset Valley is nothing like that fancy high-rise place! We may not be as sleepy as Riverview, but we’re not quite as bustling as Twinbrook.”
I let out a slight sigh of relief. “Good.”
“You’re from there, aren’t you? Bridgeport, I mean.”
“Yes,” I said. Then I hesitated. “But this is my home now.”
“Good for you!” she laughed. “Good for you. Now, just sign here…”
I was walking a bit fast to the address of my new land. I didn’t have the deed in my pocket since Mrs. Harris explained everything was done electronically here. All I had was a scrap of paper with an address. It was by the grocery store, behind a bistro…
I stared at the empty spot for quite some time. There were little markers indicating the edge of my property and I frowned very slightly. 10×10 sounded a lot bigger than it really was. “It’s fine,” I said out loud and crossed the street, surveying my new hou–er, land. There was a newspaper near my mailbox and a note on top.
Welcome to Sunset Valley–here’s a three month subscription to our only newspaper!
I looked around, wondering who did that for me but finally I shrugged and set my backpack down before moving the mailbox and the trash can. I didn’t want them right by the road, not sure about hooligans in this place.
All I had with me was a few clothes, my graduation certificate, my award, and a sleeping bag which I quickly put on the ground.
A bug landed on my arm and I swatted it, feeling a bit uncomfortable. I had never gone camping. The sleeping bag had belonged to an ex-friend who had lent it to me for a camping trip with our class which had never happened. The owner of the bag then moved away and I couldn’t get in contact with him, so I put the sleeping bag in our storage figuring it would remain there forever. But after making the decision to leave home I had dug it up, figuring I wouldn’t be able to afford a bed for some time.
And here I was, standing in what would probably be my living room. No walls, no roof… no alarm. I was a coward, a big coward (something my father always delighted in reminding me of) and the thought of sleeping in the open just plain terrified me. However, it was something I’d just have to get used to. I looked down at the sleeping bag then up at the sky. I smiled a bit, shaking off my fears. It would be scary, but it would be very much so worth it.
Here’s to a new life!