Through the window of our new house, you can see me clacking away on my laptop. I’m writing a new book: Huggy Bunny Goes to Twinbrook. Yes, that’s right. My family has moved to Twinbrook. It’s actually a long story how we ended up moving here and into the old family farm house.
It’s the same house that my ancestors, Chester and Loretta Fields and their son Les, moved into after losing their farm in Riverview. This house has been in our family for generations. It was deeded to us from the city of Twinbrook as long as we farmed the land.
But let me go back and tell how we ended up living here.
Dad’s death devastated the family. He died so young! We all went through a terrible period of mourning.
Of course we had a funeral. Mom was really strong, inviting everyone in the family, including our aunt Shelby, who lived in Sunset Valley. Both she and aunt Emma were a great comfort to our mom, but no amount of sympathy can really smooth over the loss we all felt.
My two best friends, Shawn and Shonna, both tried to comfort me. I let Shawn hold me while I cried on his shoulder, and Shonna did her best to console me and cheer me up.
Will spent most of the funeral talking to Ariel Johnson. Her sister Bridgette didn’t come. I suppose if Will still felt anything for Bridgette her lack of presence at the funeral would have killed it. At least Ariel was there for him.
As for Paul, I saw him talking to our cousin Esmerelda. She looked like she was behaving. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay close enough attention to her.
I caught her yelling at my brother about something or other. I could tell that she really upset him. Esme had a way of getting under Paul’s skin. I just couldn’t let it go. It was a funeral for our father, for Sim’s sake! She could at least be polite!
“If you are only going to act like low-class trash, Esme, you should just leave!” I shouted at her. “Have some respect for my dad, at least.”
“Fine!” Esme snarled at me. “You guys think you’re so high and mighty! I’m going then!” I wasn’t sorry to see her storm out of the house.
“I’m sorry Paul. She’s horrible. Even Dad didn’t like her.”
“I miss Dad.”
“So do I.”
Paul cried on my shoulder and I did my best to console him, but we were feeling the same grief.
After the funeral, it was really hard to get back into the daily routine of our lives. Everything around us reminded us of Dad. Paul and I did our best to concentrate on school. I methodically attended class and did our homework, but I know we were both slacking off mostly. School just didn’t have the same importance as it had before.
Will retreated to the garage. At all hours of the day you could hear him buzzing away with the chainsaw. I’m not sure exactly what he was sculpting. Mostly I think he was just destroying ice for the sake of destruction.
Mom seemed to age over night. Unlike the rest of us, she really had nothing to do and no where to go to get away from the pain she was feeling. I know she tried to meditate and channel some of her feelings into her martial arts, but more often than naught, even breaking boards made her think of Dad.
Even going to the cemetery to visit Dad’s grave didn’t bring comfort. We all went the day after the funeral. We hadn’t invited anyone to view his grave, wanting to mourn in private. It was awful. I never want to step foot in a cemetery again. Seeing a headstone with my Dad’s name on it was more than I could handle. I wasn’t ashamed to cry uncontrollably. We were all like that.
I never did go back there. But I know that Mom visited him every day.
Eventually we all managed to deal with our grief. Will started actually sculpting again…instead of destroying his materials. He also started dating Ariel Johnson of all people. Personally, I was happy for him. She was nice…much nicer than her sister.
Paul started working out after dad died. He blamed himself for not being able to catch that criminal who tried to rob us.
“If only I’d been able to run faster,” he said. He was determined to lose weight and get fit so that if he ever had to run after someone again, he’d be able to do it.
I was happy that he was getting healthier, but I was worried about the motivation behind it. Paul really did blame himself for Dad’s death. He hardly spoke to anyone anymore. All he did was work out or play guitar. He’d stopped painting.
I just had to hope that Paul would work things out for himself, though I wish he would have tried painting about his feelings. I know that it was really helping me. My canvases continued to be dark, but with each brush stroke I felt better.
I also had Shawn to help me. We went out often. Sometimes we headed off to Aunt Emma’s hang out spot, the Inner Shore, with Will and Ariel. Will was so wrapped up in Ariel, that he pretty much left me and Shawn alone.
Maybe Will should have paid more attention. Things with Shawn and I were getting pretty serious…more serious than anyone knew.
Since I couldn’t seem to care about school since Dad died, I convinced Shawn to skip with me. He agreed, only when I promised to spend the day at the new community pool. I don’t like being outside, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to spend the day with Shawn while he was wearing only swim trunks.
Eventually we ended up in the hot tub, where we made out for most of the afternoon. Things got pretty intense, and finally Shawn said, “Let’s go back to your place.”
“Ok.” I agreed. “I think my mom said she was going shopping today. She doesn’t like to stay at the house much.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
We ended up in my bedroom. Mom wasn’t home, just like I said.
“Are you sure you want to?”
Shawn and I lay down on the bed and held hands. Then we were making out again. He asked me several times if I was sure. It was the first time for both of us.
I’d like to tell you that it was the best experience of my life. I wish I could say that it was sweet, romantic, wonderful, etc. The truth is that it was awkward, sweaty, and a little painful. And it was over quickly.
Shawn apologized after. I really wish he hadn’t. I apologized, too. “It was our first time,” I said lamely. “Yeah. Next time it will be better,” Shawn assured me.
But things with us were strained after that. I didn’t exactly avoid Shawn, but we were uncomfortable together. We couldn’t take back what happened. Every time we were together, I could tell it was all we were both thinking of. Our conversations were stilted, and our touches hesitant. I found myself avoiding him even though I wanted everything to go back the way it had been before…
My brother Will, on the other hand, was having no problems in his relationship. In fact, he and Ariel got engaged. He told us about his proposal. It was sappy as heck! He proposed by the dive well that Dad brought back from one of his travels.
“Ariel, will you take the plunge and marry me,” he said. It was so cheesy! But Ariel must have thought it was romantic. She said yes.
Will and Ariel were married at the same park as my parents had been. I was surprised to see that Will was so nervous on his big day. He spent a lot of time at the bar before the wedding. I was worried that he was going to drink too much and forget his vows.
Bridgette, Ariel’s sister was at the wedding. I caught her talking to Will. I was worried she would ruin the wedding, too, and that Will’s old feelings for her would surface again, but she just wished them well.
It was a beautiful wedding. I was very happy for my brother, though I would miss him. He and Ariel were moving into a small house by themselves.
Of course Shawn was invited to the wedding. Everyone in my family liked him, and they thought we were still a couple. Technically, I guess we were a couple, but we’d been pretty much avoiding each other. I saw him talking to Shonna. I hadn’t realized that they were friends.
After he walked off to go jam with Paul, I immediately approached her. “What were you and Shawn talking about?” I demanded.
“Oh, nothing much,” she smirked at me. She was the only person I had told about losing my virginity. She knew I’d been avoiding Shawn.
“Did he ask about me?”
“No, he talked about the song he and your brother were working on. I think they might start a band.”
It was the first I’d heard about it. “Really? I didn’t know Paul wanted to be in a band.”
“Well, you know how much they both like music. Anyway, Shawn was talking about this song…”
I barely listened as Shonna continued detailing the conversation she and Shawn had had. He hadn’t asked about me. Maybe we really were done being a couple. We hadn’t gotten together since Will proposed to Ariel.
“Are you listening?”
“You know, if you want to get back with Shawn you need to just talk to him.” I nodded. I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t find the courage to do it.
Then a few months ago, Mom answered a knock on our front door. It was a guy who introduced himself as a representative for the City of Twinbrook.
“Mrs. Fields, it seems that you and your children, as the living descendants of Charlie Fields, are now the heirs of the Fields Farm in Twinbrook.”
Of course mom was shocked when she heard the news. The guy went on to explain that the city had deeded the land to our family and that it was ours as long as a descendent lived on the property and grew crops there.
“But Charlie said he had cousins still living there.”
“Yes, well, most of Mr. Fields’ cousins have passed on and their descendants either can’t or don’t want to farm the land. The city of Twinbrook is obligated to continue asking if one of the family wants the responsibility. Legally, we can’t repossess the land unless or until a living Fields descendent cannot be found.”
“Oh. What does that mean, exactly?”
“It means, you and your children have inherited the farm if you want it. If not, then it reverts to the city. No other Fields are on record.”
So we talked about it as a family. Mom gathered us up in the living room and explained the circumstances. She asked us if we wanted to move to Twinbrook. She also invited Ariel and Will and asked them if they minded us moving to Twinbrook.
I could tell that Mom was excited about the move. She’d been so depressed since Dad died. Like us, she was constantly reminded of Dad here in Desert Shores. Paul also looked excited about the move. It was the first time I’d seen him interested in anything but working out or music since Dad died. Even Will’s wedding hadn’t snapped him out of his funk.
As for me, I was thrilled. I could use a little distance away from the Shores and Shawn. Maybe if we weren’t in the same city, we could start communicating again.
The only person who wasn’t happy was Will. “I’ll miss you guys,” he said when he could tell we’d all pretty much made up our minds to move. “But Ariel has her family here. We have our life here.”
“When will you be leaving, Sun?” Ariel asked.
“The lawyer from Twinbrook is sending the deed to the house and the keys. When they get here, we’ll move.”
So Paul and I started our last year of high school in Twinbrook. It was a bit of an adjustment for both of us. The school was a lot larger. The good thing about it was that we could start fresh. Our grades had both slipped after Dad passed away. It was much easier to bring them up in a new school.
The move was good for Mom, too. She took lessons in gardening and farming and read a couple of books on the subject. By the time she arrived, she was feeling confident about taking care of the crops. It gave her a sense of purpose again, which had been lacking in her life since Dad died.
We also bonded more as a family since we didn’t know many people in Twinbrook. It had been awhile since we had all sat down for a meal together. I couldn’t remember doing it since we’d left Egypt when Dad was still alive.
The best part about being in Twinbrook, for me at least, was seeing my brother becoming more like himself. He started joining Mom in the garden…I suspect he also played in the sprinklers, too, but at least he was having fun. He’d also begun painting again.
As for me, I spent most of my time writing my book and painting the illustrations I wanted to include with it. No matter what I thought of the books, my Huggy Bunny stories were a big success. The publishers couldn’t wait for me to finish the Twinbrook story.
The one things I hadn’t done was call Shawn since I got to Twinbrook. I wanted to talk to him, but I didn’t know what to say. Finally, I broke down and dialed his number.
“Shawn? It’s Kara,” I started awkwardly when he picked up the phone. I listened as he asked me questions about Twinbrook and my new school.
“Yeah…yeah…it’s ok. Um..hmm.
“It’s a lot bigger than the Shores. Yeah. Oh…that’s nice. Uh huh.
“Ok. Talk to you later. Bye.”
Wow. As conversations went, that phone call with Shawn was one of the worst I’d ever had. We hadn’t even talked for more than 10 minutes. And I didn’t tell him I loved him or missed him like I used to when I was in Egypt. I felt awful. I wanted to call him back and try to get things back the way they were, but I knew that I couldn’t. I’d just have to forget Shawn. I was in a new city. I would have to move on.
I never called Shawn again. We chatted a few times online, but even that was awkward and we stopped. I read his updates on Simbook, but I never replied. He never replied to mine, either.
By the time it was our birthday and time for us to graduate, I had pretty much put Shawn out of my mind. I thought about him with regret, but I no longer wished that things had been different. C’est la vie, right?
But I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing at my birthday party. It was nice to see my relatives from Desert Shores, aunt Emma and Johnny were there. Will and Ariel had also come for the party. I wanted to ask them if they’d heard anything about Shawn, but I didn’t.
Feeling sort of down, I went into the bathroom to spruce myself up a little.
“Get over it,” I told myself. “Shawn’s not here, and he’s never going to be.”
“Besides,” I said to my reflection, “You’ll be going to France soon. Art school. There’s no time for guys now.”
Yes, I had been accepted to the Art Institute at Champs Les Sims. I was very excited to go. Maybe after some training, I would be be as technically good at painting as my brother. I’d also be doing some sculpting work there. Perhaps I’d learn how to carve in ice and stone like Will does.
My name is Kara Fields. I am a writer, but I want to be an artist. No, I’m going to be an artist!