There are days when she regrets everything.
Days when she misses the suburban nightmare, the picket fence and the gossip-mongering neighbors all around her, closing in like vultures. Days when she thinks that maybe those things were in her own head all along. People do lead happy lives there, after all. Raise happy children.
There are days when she regrets nothing whatsoever.
Days when she manages to turn a blind eye to the rest of the universe and merely soak in the passion and thrill she feels around Simon.
She had felt a deep connection with Kent. A profound, vibrating sort of friendship that had spread out into something else, made her attracted to him. Everything’s different with Simon because everything had started out differently – with a bang rather than a whimper and now she’s not so sure how it will proceed.
Passion doesn’t last. Everyone says so. She knows it.
But she can’t imagine going back, not now.
Even though the mind-numbing passion that had planted itself in her bones at that Christmas party has subsided by now, even though the daily grind has turned them into other people, Clara still feels passionate towards Simon.
Or maybe it’s the new life she wants most of all. There are days when she believes that, too. That all of her feral, burning want is really reserved for having time and space, for being able to write, write, write.
She’s writing crime stories now, decent ones even, and she’s got a publisher which is no small feat. It’s not Nobel prize literature but it’s fun storytelling and it’s what she wants to do with her life. Whenever the twins aren’t staying with them – which they rarely are since they claim their room here isn’t comfortable, that it smells funky – Clara has a routine that involves pretty much nothing beyond getting up in the morning, making coffee and then write until her brain shuts down.
It’s a warm summer in the city and often she can keep sitting outdoors until the middle of the night if she wants to.
Even if they rarely sleeps over, the kids come to the city more often now that school is no longer keeping them in the suburbs and Samuel usually have a lot to tell her. That he misses her, that his classmates are bad at maths (unlike him) and that his sister has tantrums and pisses him off.
Clara listens to all of it with an odd sense of being a spectator in a life that was meant for her. It’s her children. Her children and she listens to the stories from their lives like a grandmother or an aunt. It hurts. But she can’t really see it happening in any other way now that they’ve started on this path.
She doesn’t want to go back to before. She just misses it, sometimes.
Whenever they can, Ada and her try to get together and talk. They’ve been friends for a while and with the divorce and later also Ada’s husband passing away earlier this year, things have been rough and not always perfect for nursing friendships.
“I just wanted to ask,” Ada says today when she’s over for lunch. “If you know that Kent is… well, that his girlfriend is moving in with him?”
She had been vaguely aware that Kent had been dating – mostly through comments made by the twins and conclusions she’s made from the bits of info they offer – but not that it was anything serious. Certainly not serious enough to merit moving in together with someone.
Part of her – the darkest, most shameful part – had been convinced that something was going on between Ada and Kent for a brief moment there, back when she realized they were seeing each other for lunch some days. She had dreaded digging too deep into that, though, because it would be too painful and Ada is one of the few friends she has in the first place. It would be awful to lose her because of jealous paranoia.
She’s not sure if this is better, or worse.
When he arrives next week to pick up the kids after a day in the city, Clara confronts him about it.
“You can’t just go ahead and move in with people left and right,” she says when he doesn’t deny his relationship status.
Kent gives a low scoff. “Oh, that’s rich coming from you.”
And it is. She knows it is.
But it still hurts.
The following week she asks to meet his new woman and he brings her over when they leave the twins for a sleepover.
Emily, that’s her name. Twenty years younger than him (not that Clara can fault her for that, they’re basically the same age), works in retail but wants to open her own store at some point. She has no family in town and met Kent at the gym. These are things that Emily tells her, as though it’s homework and Clara is her teacher, waiting for answers.
“I didn’t even know Kent worked out,” Clara says. It’s all she can think of saying and Emily just looks at her.
“I just want you to know that we’re taking things slow with the kids.” Emily sounds genuinely nice. Clara has to give her that.
“Okay. Because moving in together already doesn’t sound like slow, to me.”
“Well, we feel that it’s just right, you know. You would know, wouldn’t you?”
And maybe she would.
For her 40th birthday Simon takes her out for celebrations.
“We should celebrate in style,” he says, “since your book is hitting the store and you refuse to have any other kind of book release extravaganza.”
“I’m not an extravagant person,” she tells him but he grins, claiming she ought to be.
There’s a part of her that’s scared of moments like these with Simon. Scared, reluctant, reserved because she doesn’t know what to expect from him and what he will ask, doesn’t know if he’s bought an engagement ring and intends to ask her to marry him and have his babies.
Doesn’t know what she would answer, if he did ask.
“I do want a family with you, Clara.” He says tonight as well. He usually does. “A kid. That’s it.”
“Oh,” she pokes her fork into the lobster. “That’s all. Just a tiny little kid. Barely nothing.”
“I love you. I really do. I want to live my life with you and I thought I was done with kids.”
Simon sighs. It’s a heavy, somewhat sad sound and it resounds in her, darkly.
“You can’t really expect me to be done with something I’ve never had,” he points out.
It’s all very reasonable. Just as reasonable as Kent moving on and her kids hating her for the divorce. Everything is all very reasonable and Clara, she thinks now, staring at her fancy lobster, is just being a hopeless bitch.
“I know.” She swallows, smiles a little. Inhales deeply. “Let’s do it then.”
“Let’s do it. Let’s try to have a baby. If I still can.”
There’s no denying the rush and passion that sweeps over them as she gives in to his wants, Clara realizes later than night. No denying it at all.
It all feels different already, the following morning. Different and new, like they’ve thrown themselves into the great unknown.
Clara is determined to at least try to be happy this time around.
* Title is from Ode to divorce by Regina Spektor.
* Simon wants to get married, Clara wants to woohoo with him and write books. Pretty much sums up their relationship right now, heh. I want them to at least try for a baby while they still have time, so we’ll see what happens… I love how Clara would probably be better off alone, a reclusive writer type in a cabin somewhere. She has no personality for family life at all.
* Long time since I opened the game now. Lots of other things that have grabbed my attention, but I’ll always return to my sims.