Without Jay, the world would be a darker place. When I first met her, it seemed frivolous to pursue a relationship when it was obvious how much work we needed to do. But she persisted.
“What is life without love?” she once asked me.
I can answer that question now. It’s life without hope. Had I not met Jay, had I not let her convince me to take a step back from the piles of work that needed to be done, to take some time for small joys, I’m not sure I’d still be standing today. She has made everyday worth fighting for.
Of course it’s not easy. But I have a feeling relationships before the Mother were hard too – just in different ways. While our lives have a tighter focus on sheer survival. There’s food to catch and prepare every single day. No fridges mean we can only make one meal at a time. And if you’re not careful the smoke can fill the house.
And the variety is non-existent. It’s fish from the small pond out back. The water seems to have protected them from the mother’s spores. So they are still safe to eat. Jay helps out at the community garden. But so far their harvest have been either non-existent or to bizarre to eat.
Then there’s the impossibility of being ever truly clean. There’s never enough water – much less hot water – to clean ourselves. I dream of a hot showers like I took for granted as a child. The best we’ve rigged is a bucket outside that pours out tepid water. You have to scrub fast before it’s gone. And in the winter even that is a luxury.
Despite this, our lives are blessed. During that first winter things were at their darkest. We’d just learned we were truly on our own and no one was going to show up with trucks of food and medical supplies. That’s when little Theo was born.
He smiled when he saw our faces and laughed at everything new. He played with the the wooden blocks I’d scrounged no knowing how different childhood used to be. Before the world broke. He was the perfect retreat from a daily sense of failure. I would get home and spin him around until he laughed. Or answer thousand of silly questions.
If I got home too late to play, I would watch him sleep and that was enough to recover. So while I was nervous when Jay said she was pregnant again, I was also excited. I had grown up a twin and it seemed lonely to have no playmates. He listened very intently when we explained what the new baby would mean. When he promised to be the best big brother, my heart shattered with love.
Before I knew it, we had another laughing, smiling face in the house. Angelina is even more cheerful than her brother. Perhaps because she has him to play with – or perhaps we know what we’re doing this time around.
I now have three reasons to look forward to coming home. Three reasons keep trying. And to keep going even when the Landgraabs and their minions show up at our door again for protection money.
Watching them grow reminds me why I want to make this world better. Why we need to fight to make a new community. To help each other out and not shut the door on our neighbor’s faces. Without my family, I wouldn’t have the energy to keep going. If I had I followed my head and not my heart back when Jay showed up. Without these three, I would have given up by now.
Author’s Note: See, the story is more cheerful? But how could it not be cheerful with adorable toddlers!? It pained me to write that first line that “life without love is life without hope” without being able to explain clearly. There’s a lot of messages around that claim that romantic love is the be-all and end-all of happiness. As an aro-ace, I strongly believe that family, friendships, nieces, and all loves in between are just – if not more – important in life. And I hope Adam managed to make that clear. But just in case he didn’t, I’ll state it here to help fight the hetero-normative romantic tone he started off with.
This story is a playtest of some new apocalypse unlock rules that includes more/most of the careers that are in the game now than what Pinstar initially created. I’ve also put in all the houses and characters from Brennachan’s Murkland Challenge to populate and color this world.
CC alert: Again we’re showcasing Veranka’s empty bibliophile bookshelves. MCCC settings – I have adjusted the childhoods of my sims (mainly for my Drifter challenge), but also so that childhood isn’t longer than young adulthood. Infants: 1, Toddlers 6, Children 11, Teen 11. I find it better matches the childhood pre-toddlers. But you could say it makes this challenge easier so I figure I’ll mentioned it.