Chapter 2: The Cost of Living

I guess some people back home in Twinbrook worried after my last post, and I just wanted to let you know that I’m still here.

I don’t have an address right now, but you can forward my mail to the general post at City Hall, and I’ll get back to you eventually, or you can email me. I’ll try to stop by the library at least once a week.

Some of you have asked if I have family I can go to, and the simple answer is no. I do have relatives, but not ones that I know or care to meet. If the letters I found in momma’s portfolio of important papers are true, she’s a Landgraab by blood, if not by family ties. The subtly menacing letter from the Landgraab family’s lawyer suggesting she leave Sunset Valley without drawing attention to any unfavorable questions of genetics seems pretty conclusive. The photocopy of a check for twenty-five thousand simoleons doesn’t hurt, either.

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So I guess that explains why momma never mentioned relatives. If she has family, they either aren’t speaking to her or don’t know where she is. Once, when I was very young, I remember seeing her flipping through a book of old photos- among them, one of two young girls, arms linked and smiling widely into the camera. I always wondered about that image, but I asked her once and she looked sadder than I’ve ever seen. She told me it was from a lifetime ago, and that was that.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to go through their trunks yet other than grabbing momma’s portfolio, the rest of the trunks are in one of those storage units where you pay a dollar for the first month. I’ll figure out what to do with them after that I guess.

I haven’t really said anything about what’s going on, I know.

I’m still trying to figure things out, honestly.

I’ve spent a few muggy summer days wiling away time with fishing, capturing and cataloging wild animals, and volunteering at the winery’s community garden. I think they must not know my age, or maybe they’re just that desperate for help. Either way, they don’t mind if I munch on  the produce as long as most of it gets to the stomping room.

I try to stay busy, because when I don’t, I drown.

The crowds at the winery are insane- they’re famous for the Casa de Legado brand, and visitors are always there at the evening tasting events. It’s easier to just blend into the crowds and disappear- like I said, they either don’t know or don’t care how old I am.

But staying busy only helps for so long, and sometimes I just duck and run for wherever I can find a space to be alone. I wish I knew how long this horrible feeling would last, but I’m starting to think it’s just not going to go away.

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There’s a little campgrounds not far from the winery where I spend some evenings. It’s restful, I guess.

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There’s a species of insect there I’ve never seen before, and sometimes interesting people stop by. Tatyana Burkhart is one of them. We met by accident- I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep- she was just getting ready to leave after hanging out with a friend there. Somehow we started talking…

“Hey, are you camping here?”

“Umm… yeah, just for a day or two,” I mumbled, not willing to admit that the campgrounds were likely home for the forseeable future.

“Oh, awesome! Tatyana Burkhart, I’m doing a piece on the hidden gems of Isla Legado,” she answered, grinning brightly.

“Oh.” My heart sank. Wouldn’t that bring all sorts of visitors? Visits from social workers were a concern, it was why I hadn’t been by our plot of land in a while, even though it was the only place where I felt close to momma and daddy.

“…this place is totally among them, it’s an amazing staycation spot, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” she rolled on, seeming not to have even noticed my tone. Oh well, I thought, I can always move on.

But her questions seemed really sincere, and more about my experience here and why I chose this campground. With a bit of on the fly editing of the facts, I think I gave her good enough answers that won’t draw too much attention.

Plus, she was nice enough to help me with my math homework as thanks. Apparently she majored in mathematics but enjoyed writing more- who knew?

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So… I’m managing. Just one day at a time, I guess.

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