The door opened, and Emelia walked in. Only Free was right! She was a child, not the teen I’d known at S-GAS!
She stood in the hall and closed her eyes with the biggest smile spreading across her face.
“You’re here!” Free cried, running to welcome her.
Elder and I headed back into the kitchen to give them some time to catch up.
“You must be hungry!” I said when she entered the kitchen, and I dished her up a slice of spinach frittata.
“Oh, thanks,” she said. “I’d love a meal before I take off again.”
“Wait a sec,” I replied. “What do you mean take off? You just got here!”
“I just stopped by to let you guys and Free know that I’d made it through ok,” she said, “so you wouldn’t worry about me. Now, I guess it’s time for me to head off to camp. Animal Hat CT said that I could stay there anytime. She said I’d always have a home there, if I didn’t have anyplace else to stay.”
“But you do have someplace else to stay,” I said. “You can stay here! With us! This can be your home now.”
“After all you and Free have been through,” Elder said, “and all I went through trying to find you, you think we’re going to let you head off someplace else? This is your home now!”
Free joined us in the kitchen.
“It’s almost time for school,” he said.
“Let’s take the day off!” I suggested. “It’s Friday! You just got back, Em just arrived. Let’s take the day as a total goof-off day to just do whatever we feel like doing!”
The kids relaxed, knowing that they had the whole day and then the whole weekend ahead of them.
I watched Em, looking so peaceful and content, and I remembered when I first became acquainted with her.
I saw her video introduction for the S-GAS Transformation thread before I met her, and I was blown away by the integrity of this strong and independent person.
I remember the power of her words. This oldest child in a legacy family, who wanted independence more than she wanted to be heir, discovered that the legitimacy clause in her family’s legacy provided her with an escape route: “My parents weren’t married when I was born, so, technically, I’m ‘illegitimate.’ In my mind, that word is synonymous with ‘free.'”
I knew then that this was a person I wanted to get to know.
Free loved her from the start. She was a teen, so his crush shone with the romance of the impossible. He told me once that he’d made a pledge to serve her for all his life. “I would die for her, Mom,” he’d said. And I couldn’t laugh at him or take his words lightly, for I remembered my own strong loyalties when I was a child. After all, it’s because of those loyalties that Alex, Tani, and I set up this house to share with each other! And a similar power brought Elder and I together, in spite of what seemed to be impossible obstacles.
To see Em and Free together now, so full of gratitude and joy–I have no words. What can we say in the face of love? Vadish.
Free and Em recounted their adventures for me, and now that they’re both home safe, I could appreciate the ways in which this amazing journey of a lifetime that they shared is actually… a journey of a lifetime!
These two kids, to have traveled through time and back again, experiencing different hard drives, being old and young, meeting so many different Sims, and receiving kindness from strangers–this will be part of them always. They have experienced so much more than I ever have–and likely ever will.
I have so much to learn from them.
After breakfast, Em headed into the living room to watch cooking shows with Aya, and Free sat at the table by himself for a while, just soaking in the feelings.
I’ve seen my boy happy for most of his days. But that smile on his face that morning–I have never seen him with such pure joy and contentment, through and through.
Though Emelia’s just got one trait right now–genius–when she was a young adult, she was also a foodie. She’s still got a foodie’s love of fine cuisine and cooking shows, even if that trait doesn’t show up by looking at her panels.
She and Aya spent all afternoon watching cooking shows, while Free took a long nap to rest up from his travels.
These two legacy kids have so much in common. They spent the afternoon trading stories of legacy life, tips for making autonomous decisions, and things they’ve learned from having multiple copies of themselves in lots of different games.
“I’m still real close with my original player, Meggles,” Aya said. “We’ve got one of those indivisible bonds!”
“I’m close with Jordan, too,” Em said. “It’s like I can always feel her.”
“That’s what it’s like! Exactly!” said Aya.
“I should probably get some rest,” Emelia told me when I came in from the garden.
I showed her up to the bed that would be hers, and we put clean sheets on it, still warm from the dryer.
“Would you like to be tucked in?” I asked, feeling a little awkward, since in terms of experience, she’s not a child at all.
“You know,” Emelia said, “I want a childhood. Coming here, I want to experience what Free has–the kind of childhood where you know you’re cared for and you get to break the rules now and then.”
We laughed, and I pulled the blankets tight around her.
“Sleep well, Emelia,” I said. She was already fast asleep.
Downstairs, Elder and Free were telling bear jokes. They’d met a bet that Free knew all the bear jokes in existence, and Elder had to start making them up before he found any that Free didn’t already know.
I went upstairs to put fresh sheets on Free’s bed, and I heard a noise as I passed Emelia’s room. Was she crying? I looked in, and she was fast asleep.
She was laughing in her dreams.