It all started when I opened the door to my sister’s bedroom. Back then, I was just a kid, so I had no idea what effect this moment would have on the rest of my life and on the lives of those that I loved. On that night, I had had a nightmare, and as usual I went to my sister for comforting. But instead of me having to wake her up, she was already awake and fully dressed.
“Ry, what are you doing awake?” I whispered, not wanting my favorite person in the whole wide world to get into trouble.
She sat me down on her bed and explained things to me. “Sometimes, I just feel like I can’t be myself here.”
“But why not?” I asked.
“You know that Mom wants us to both be successful. In her mind, that means that we become doctors, or lawyers, or have some other high-paying job like that. I don’t know if you agree with me or not, but that just doesn’t sound like fun. I know that I’m good at painting, so why should I give that up for something that doesn’t even sound fun? That’s what I want to do with my life, and I may not necessarily become rich from it, but that will be one less regret that I have when things come to the end.”
“So why are you still up?”
Ry sighed. “I’m going to be leaving tonight. I know that you’re going to say that you want to come with me, but it’s going to be very hard, and I have no clue what’s going to happen. I don’t want to put you in danger if something bad happens to me.”
I didn’t understand much of what my sister said that night, but what I did understand of her big words was that she was leaving and that I was too little to come with.
She pulled me in for a hug. At the time I didn’t know it, but that was the last time for many things. My last smile, her last time at home, the last time that I would ever see her as a child. It was also the last time that I would have a definite idea of where she was.
When Mommy told me the next morning that my sister had ran away, and acted like this was just some casual news, something broke within me. That one part of you that’s held up by the love of others just collapsed, leaving me sad, broken, and silent. To me, if my mother couldn’t appreciate her eldest daughter, my favorite person, then she must not love me either.
Sadness like what I was experiencing was something that most people want to avoid, and the people who don’t avoid you try to get you to be happy when all you need to do is simply be sad. When Mommy couldn’t cheer me up, and I refused to talk in school, I got sent to a counselor. She was a nice lady, but I just wasn’t ready to be happy yet. Not when people refused to acknowledge the source of my sadness: my mom. They just tried to plant as many happy thoughts in my head as possible and get me to talk, but I didn’t want to talk to anyone who even remotely believed the things that my mom did. I knew that anyone who was willing to listen was always going to side with the adult, and they would just write me off as a “problem child”.
Now I’m a teen. I’ve gone through more than any of my peers; I’ve fought for my sister’s rights as a person and living member of this family, and for the most part I’ve won. Her room is still here, intact, when my mom wanted to make it an office for her work. Ry’s last painting that she made here is proudly displayed on the easel, teasing me with the secret of where she is. Until now, that is- I think I’ve figured it out. She went to the city, which is a place for artists like her. This building is the kind of place where she wanted to live- there’s still nature around for her to be inspired by, and her apartment has room for a full art studio. Everything is painted green, and she even has her own rooftop garden. I’m ready to find my sister, but I’m going to wait for the night that she left to leave myself. The thing that’s holding me back from leaving sooner is the fact that she may not be alive. There are plenty of things that could have happened to her on those streets, and if she truly is gone, I’ll be left with no one to love me.
Sometimes I went to one of Ry’s favorite painting spots. The view is gorgeous, there’s a bench and trash can, and it’s usually unoccupied. On this day it wasn’t. I vaguely recognized the guy sitting on the bench- maybe he’s from school, or maybe it’s just his sadness that I recognize. Either way, I felt drawn to help him. I told him of my plans, and he agreed to come. This is what I needed- someone with the same sadness who could love me. I say could, because sometimes things change.
I knew that there was a sadness in her as well, but there was something different in it. It was a hopeful sadness, but it was a sadness just the same, so I let her join us.
When I saw them together like that, I had no idea what to think.
This is a new sadness; the same sadness that my mom felt. You still feel sad inside, but you don’t show it. It seems like you don’t care, but inside you do. You don’t show anything because you’ve felt this way too many times, you’ve had too many disappointments, and no one seems to love you anymore. This is what I call “hidden sadness”.
Author’s Note: This was written for the monthly short-story contest on the Sims Forums. The story had to begin with the phrase “It all started when…”.