New horizons

Spring 4006
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Cindy Cox is 29, Eric Cox is 36, Jean Cox is 12, Janessa Cox is 4, Joshua Cox is 2


There’s so much that’s different now compared to when she first moved to Barchester.

There’s so much that’s different now compared to when she first moved to Barchester.

A lot of is the same: the constant struggle for money, the hard work to keep her head above the surface when it comes to the bills and the housework and the everyday survival.

But she’s got a family now. And that changes everything. She’s got Eric and three children and together they form some kind of shield against a lot of the things that used to upset her or wreck her composure apart.

Jean is much more responsible than Cindy could ask for. She’s always looking out for her siblings and helping out whenever she’s needed – even when she doesn’t have to, she takes them to the playground across the street or reads to them before their bath in the evenings.

It’s a great help, especially considering the hard work of raising two toddlers at the same time.


She even cooks for them on weekends – claiming she wants to practice cooking, though Cindy suspects it’s because she knows Eric doesn’t like cooking and Cindy does it every day and feels sick of it. She’s a really thoughtful girl.


Both Eric and Cindy keep their eyes on Jean when it comes to hanging out with boys, though. She’s very mature and that, Cindy knows from first-hand experience, can be a bad thing and make you do stuff other kids your age aren’t even considering yet.

So far, however, the thing with August Wester seems really innocent and mostly limited to hugging and giggling and holding hands. They’ve been best friends for years so it’s not a new relationship even if the raging hormones are fairly recent.

And for the first time since Cindy was a child she’s beginning to form friendships. Actual, grown-up friends. She has the local Family Centre to thank for it, mostly. It’s a newly renovated place in the worst parts of the city and it feels, in every way, like a golden little paradise in the middle of the concrete. A breath of fresh air.


She meets Josephine and Petra there at least a couple of times a week and they’ve begun to feel like real friends by now, like people she’d be able to trust and find common ground with even if their reason for even talking to each other in the first place is the fact that they all have kids. Which isn’t much as far as mutual interests goes, but even so it helps to break the ice.


Cindy knows that if they had met a few years ago, or grown up together, she would have loathed the hell out of Josephine Cousland. She’d have been the kind of girl that talked behind Cindy’s back, spread the rumours of her shitty judgement and snickered when she ended up pregnant in high school. Now, though, Josephine is remarkably open-minded about most things, talking openly about how she hadn’t even known who Imogen’s father was until recently, that she’s dirt poor and has no clue what to do with her life. She moved into the house next to Cindy’s and ever since, they’ve been helping each other out with baby-sitting and errands. The strangest part for Cindy who’s always been on her own with no one to look out for her, is to find outt hat for once in her life she’s the one who can help others. She’s the one with a husband and a teenage daughter who willingly babysits for a few simoleons.

It’s a strange insight. To no longer be at the absolute rock bottom of the food chain.


Petra is another woman Cindy probably would never have met if it weren’t for the kids. She’s smart and ambitious and down-to-earth. Very accomplished. But her husband recently got fired from his job and they have debts that Petra now struggles to pay with her salary alone and there’s so much stress in her voice every time they talk about it.


Cindy really likes Petra’s calm, though. She’s like a centre in a storm, all firm and unyielding. It’s Petra who tells her about her former employers, a catering company that provides waiting staff for restaurants and parties – “not a dream come true, but decent people and decent pay”.

And Cindy calls the following day to book a meeting with one of the company managers becaue at this point anything is better than being an aerobics instructor at odd hours and with irregular intervals. She needs stability and a job she can do for ten years or more. Eric talks about how he would have gone to the police academy if he had been ten years younger and Cindy can’t deny that it sounds wonderful to be given the opportunity to study. SHe’s never even graduated properly from high school, though, so any kind of adult education is far, far away.

The manager likes her well enough – or find her pretty, she can’t tell which and decides it can’t matter – and she’s hired on the spot. While it means increased work hours it also means increased income and that is something she can’t afford to turn her back on.


They’re spending most of their money on the house, at the moment, trying to make it look the way they want to and trying to make room for the kids. Jean got a big girl makeover of her room when she turned 12 and it left a hole in their wallets but the look on her face had been priceless and well worth it.


It seems like a small thing as a reward for her overall behaviour, but she’s not used to being spoiled so a little goes a long way.


They’ve come far, the two of them. And for the first time, Cindy feels like they’re really properly rooted.



4 thoughts on “New horizons

  1. It was cool seeing Josephine and Petra through Cindy’s eyes, as well as seeing Cindy’s own view of herself take a leap. She really is the settled one who has something to offer, so different from the way she saw herself when she came here. I felt so bad for her in the first post when she described how her family’s drinking had affected her, and her mean grandmother’s hateful comments. But she’s built a happy life. The family center looks great– and those little sneak views of bits of the ‘hood, especially on your Tumblr, it really looks like you are building your ‘hood up fast!

  2. I think at some points in your life, having some friends you have nothing in common with except that one thing (like studying, working the same job or having kids the same age) is understandable and a good thing. Sometimes those friends can turn into permanent friends despite any differences – it’s definitely happened that way for me!

    It’s cool to see Jean is such a responsible and helpful teen. She and August are pretty adorable together as well!

  3. It’s nice that she is making friends, I can see what she means in regards to Josephine not being someone she’d have been friends with in the past. Poor Petra, I hope that things get better for them, I’m worried they won’t make it through this trouble period.

    Jean is adorable, especially with that hunky August. 😉 Nice to see them enjoying one another in a sweet, innocent way. And what a great help she is too.

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