Chapter 16: Moving Forward

My birthday was today… but I didn’t feel like celebrating.  No one did.  So I let the sparkles hit quietly, on my own.  I’m an adult now.  I don’t feel much different, not in body anyway.  In my heart, maybe.  I miss my parents, more than I thought was possible.

But life does go on.  Losing mom and dad has been difficult.  No one ever gets over a loss, not truly.  But we do move on.  And we’re moving on as best we can.  I know I cherish my time with my wife more than I ever have before.

We’ve taken in another dog.  She’s a sweet animal and according to the adoption center, she’s a purebred Rottweiler.  Aurora has been awfully quiet since she lost her grandparents; we were hoping this would help her a little.  She did name the dear girl.  She called her Megara.

Megara has been welcomed to the family very enthusiastically by our Hercules.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see another generation of our dogs in the near future.

Aurora’s class went to the town Mausoleum, to learn some of the town history through the families that settled it.  She seemed to enjoy it.

It’s taken a long while and it took a lot of convincing from my wife, but she and I have finally taken our place in the master bedroom.  “Draco,” she murmured quietly, one hand on my cheek.  “I know you miss them.  I do too.  You know I loved them just as much as you did.  They-they were here for me more than my own family.”  She smiled sadly.  “But it’s time.  Soon enough, Aurora’s going to bring home someone and the downstairs will be hers.”

My wife was right… It was difficult, but we moved our bedroom upstairs, into the room that my parents had shared.  At first, I wanted to keep it the same, but my wife was once again right: they would want us to make it our own.  So we did.  Our old room was turned into a cozy little library/study of sorts.

Life goes on, but we never forget those we have loved and lost.

The weather has turned cold once more, though the snow hasn’t started quite yet.  The grass is frosted, though.  It was early morning and no one else was up yet.  I’d left my wife sleeping comfortably in our bed.  I stepped out of the sliding glass door that opened onto our backyard and stopped a moment to catch my breath, rubbing at my chest.  Mom and Dad have been gone for almost two weeks now.  But still, I feel it.  And today, I feel it more than normal.

I walked across the lawn in the silence of early morning.  No song birds sang; I could see my breath, even after I entered the mausoleum.  I glanced at the legacy that my mother and father had left and smiled a little.  Then I descended the steps.  My steps echoed off the rock walls eerily.  As I stepped through the arches, I stopped and just looked.  This was the first time I’d been done here since we had laid my parents to rest.

I stood there for a long time.  Then I stepped forward.  “I’m sorry,” I murmured to the air.  “I should have come down here before.  It’s been… hard without you.  We all miss you so much.”  A chill ran down my spine.  It surprised a laugh out of me, even as I rubbed a hand over the back of my neck.  “Ok, ok, I think I get it.  Anyway, I came down here today to tell you something.  I know you guys are watching over us, but I thought it only right that I tell you that your granddaughter is going to be a young woman today.  I can’t quite believe it myself.  And… she’s going to be going to University as well.  You guys would be so proud of her.”

I talked to them for quite a while.  When I finally emerged back into the daylight, I felt lighter.  The day was cold, but sunny.  For the first time since my parents died, I felt much lighter, and the grief had lifted.  I’d always miss them, that was a given.  But I’d see them again, someday.  And today… today was for celebration.

Aurora didn’t want a big party; so it was just her mother and I, and the dogs, of course, to welcome her to her young adulthood.  Sophia made the cake.  “I know it’s not your grandfather’s, but I hope you like it,” she told our daughter.

“I’m sure it’s great, mom,” Aurora assured her with a soft smile.

The candles were lit and Aurora took her proper place.  She leaned over, thinking deeply about her wish.

The sparkles surrounded her.  I felt a shaft of pain run through me.  My little girl was really growing up…  She must have sensed it, because her gaze went to mine and there was a knowing look in her eyes.  But while I might lament the fact that my little girl was no longer little, there was a great swell of pride when the sparkles finally cleared.  She’s always been beautiful.  But now, our little Northern Light truly shines.

After a bit of cake (which was really good), she went to the mirror, then the dresser to really put herself together.

The next day, it was graduation.  Sophia and I dressed up in our best, while Aurora got into her cap and gown.

As Sophia and I sat there amongst the crowd of parents and family members, I could only stare up at the stage proudly as my daughter gave her Valedictorian speech.  That’s right, my little girl was the valedictorian of her class.  Her classmates are as big of jokers as mine were considering that they voted her Most Likely to Burn Down Their Own House.

My brother Falkor gave out the diplomas and he had an extra hug for his niece.  Sophia made it out of there without crying… I didn’t quite.  I wasn’t a blubbering mess, but my eyes weren’t completely dry.  However, when we got home, we all got a shock.  Our beloved Gage passed away.

We knew he was living on borrowed time, sadly.  His brother had already gone before him and the old fella had really slowed down the last little while.  In some ways, it was a mercy, though we will certainly miss him.  He will now join his brother, mother, and father.

Aurora is preparing herself for college, reading up on things, practicing her photography, and even doing some painting.  She’d always loved to watch her grandfather when he was at work on a canvas.  Then she took one last placement test.  Once she got the results back, she was online, finalizing her enrollment.

The night before she was to leave, Grim visited once again.  Though… I hate to say this, it was almost a relief.  Glena had never been a very peaceful animal, though she was special in her own way.  But since we’d lost Gage, she’d been almost insufferable.  It made sense, in many ways, Gage was the only one that Glena really loved.  Be that as it may, it was still sad, but at least she can join Gage once again.

Despite all that, the next morning, bright and early, the moving van came to pick up my little girl.  Sophia and I stood outside in the snowy morning air as Aurora emerged with a single suitcase.

We watched her climb into the front seat.

Even after it pulled away, my wife had one hand up waving.

I slid my arm around her waist.  “There she goes,” I murmured.

Sophia sighed and lay her head on my shoulder.  “Yeah… there she goes.”  We watched until the tail lights disappeared from view, then headed into the house.  We were both a little subdued, and very quiet.

After a while, I finally said, “C’mon, there’s a hottub calling our name.  I think we could both use a nice bit of relaxation.”

“It’s snowing out,” my wife pointed out, raising an eyebrow.

“Like that would stop you,” I retorted with a grin.  With our butts freezing, we ran out to the hot tub and slid in, cuddling close.

Finally, we climbed out and hurried back inside.  We got dressed and then decided to spend a lazy day.  Aurora had promised that she’d let us know when she got there.  But it would take a while; it was a long drive.  So we settled in, watching movies that we’d both seen a dozen times.  As evening descended and then it got later and later, my phone finally  went off.  It was a text with a picture.

I’m here.  The house looks great, doesn’t it?

I looked at my wife and smiled, showing her the picture and the text, then gave her a squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  “Let’s get to bed, huh?”

Author’s Note: I don’t think I have ever had an animal in the Sims that I was as glad to see go as I was Glena XD That sounds awful, I know, but… man, she was disliked by pretty much everyone because her only trait for the majority of the time was aggressive and she just constantly growled at everyone.  Her only good relationship was with Gage and even that had begun to fall just a little bit toward the end.



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