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That was the last time I remember being happy at home.

Dad just lifted my “grounding” we got ribs from Lefty’s. Ma made some bombass potato salad, we hung out like nothin’ had ever happened. Everything was good, everything went back to normal. Or what seemed like normal for a lil while. Then like a tidal wave it all hit me at once, the world I was so busy trying to force my way into I ain’t see it comin’ when it ran over me like a freight train. 

My mistake was trusting her. The ghost of a relative that blew in and out of my life like the wind, making me feel like the adult I thought I was. We only met late at night. At first we would chill after I had hung out with Dru, Alex and Naoki. Then I started brushin’ them off to hang with her. 

If a sim could be addictive, she was. I felt like we connected on some unreal level, both of us misunderstood and wanting to be seen as we were. We saw each other. She was that piece to the puzzle that I felt had been missin’ bein’ a only child. Only she was older, almost like a big sister. A wiser sibling who knew more about the world than I did, only she was my Aunt. 

It’s funny cause I thought she would be the key to everything. And she was. But that key opened a fuckin pandora’s box. 

A day before graduation I got a letter in the mail. One that told me I had inherited 10 billion simoleans. Money from my grandparents and Auntie Vi. It would be accessible on the day I turned 18. For the third time in my life my family was extended. Not just Uncle Kenneth and my fuckin cousin Patricia. I had Grandparents… who were still alive and living in Oasis Springs. Grandparents who Ma had disowned for years. Turned out Ma was no older than me when she ran off. I had family. A large ass family, one with money and power, one that Ma refused to talk about or even acknowledge. And Dad’s family? She couldn’t tell me much ‘bout his side. Only that they weren’t from Simerica, and that he had some slight island accent when she first met him all them years ago. An accent that had been long covered by Foxgrove slang.

After that she became my rock. I talked to her almost every day. Bout anythin’ and everythin’. She was there when shit went down between Dad and I over consistent dumb shit like curfew and wanting to hang out wit my crew, when I found out I was named valedictorian, when I found Dru cheating on me at some rager, when Alex moved away to Windenburg for college after graduation and Naoki joined the Simerican Guard leavin me behind in Foxgrove like some unwanted kid.

Life back home was lame. I had no plans after school. College seemed like a waste of time, nothin was or had been interestin’ to me, and I started wasting away that summer.

Family dinners got quieter and quieter as Ma tried to keep Dad and I from arguin’ about every little thing. In alla that I kept myself isolated, it was just like I was grounded again but I was doin’ it to myself. Hidin out in my room, havin soft spoken convos with Auntie. Convo’s that were more exciting than anything I could talk about with anyone else. Giving me a peek into a world couldn’t have imagined on my own. One that I was only slightly removed from.

One night she told me a story she called “The History of Lucky”. Only was her version, the one she had twisted and molded into her own nicely tied package. It was about my parents, what they were running from. What they were keeping from me. A twisted love story about a chick who fell in love with a man who had no memories of his past life. They were both runnin’ from somethin’. Right towards a future full of money laundering, drugs, king pins, thugs, high end escort services and billions of simoleans that just went missing. The story ended an attempt to run away from it all, create new identities and pretend none of it ever happened with a kid they’d created at the height of the chaos. 

It was an answer to the rage I felt the last couple year’s back home. The rage I feel even now….that they couldn’t just trust me with it. Their own son. I still don’t know which one is true, her’s or theirs. Honestly I don’t think I care anymore.

Ultimately, Ma and Dad were beside theyself when they found out about the money. To say there was yellin’ and screamin’ was an understatement. I was a dumbass and left the letter on my bed. Ma saw it and took it to Dad who reamed me out for what felt like weeks. I threw it all back in his face as I recounted his own story back to him. Every detail that Auntie had shared with me I spat right back at him. He threatened me with that “if you live in my house” bullshit. I told him I ain’t need him or his money. I had my own. 10billion worth. The look on Ma’s face still haunts me to this day. 

After that, I took the money and whatever bits of my life I still cared about and dipped. I couldn’t handle the looks on their faces. The hurt that we had caused each other was too much. So I went as far as I could. Took my 10bili and stashed it in an offshore account in this place called Sulani– some islands two thousand miles off the coast of Del Sol. Found it through this travel agency in San My, the owner, Maxine had told me about it. The way she described it over the phone …it sounded like a dream. It was somewhere you’d go when you wanted to disappear. An unbelievably beautiful paradise where you could forget all your worries and just live. I wanted that. To disappear. I don’t know if it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. 

But I feel free.

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