Ever since Dad passed away, I just haven’t been able to paint. I’ll stare at the canvas for hours, trying to see something, but the brush and the lines and the colors just won’t cooperate. It’s like that drive to create is just gone, and the more I try to find it, the more angry and frustrated and upset I become. And the more I feel that way… the more I think about Dad.
I remember the first time he took me fishing. It was a beautiful day, warm but with just enough of a chilly spring breeze to need a jacket. The hydrangeas were in bloom, and smelled wonderful. Dad knew all the best fishing spots, and the river bend he’d set up at that day was teeming with activity, with fish snapping up out of the water to grab at low-flying bugs.
But I became a lot less impressed when he made his first catch, and I could actually see a fish up close.
“Ewww, it’s eyes are all buggy and dead-looking! And it’s so stinky! It looks slimy! Groooooooss!”
“Nah,” Dad had said, dismissing my reaction. “The Creator made him exactly how he needs to be. There is a beauty in everything, Senna! Now, shall we send this guy back to his home?”
Something about that moment struck me deeply. Perhaps that is why I became an artist; forever trying to capture that beauty in everything in the canvas.
“…But where is it now, Dad? There is nothing beautiful about this!” I sobbed. And then I just really broke down, letting it all out, until my eyes felt exhausted and I just couldn’t cry anymore.
I didn’t even want to look at another canvas for some time after that.
I spent a lot of time in bed, just feeling really morose. I was depressed, and there was no one there to keep me from sinking further into my grief. I’d lived alone for years and had always been fine; for the first time I felt lonely… and somehow, that scared me.
But then I saw the ad for the animal shelter, like a beacon of light shining through the darkness, in the newspaper. For perhaps the first time in weeks, I was going to actually get dressed and leave my house. For perhaps the first time in weeks, I had something that I was actually looking forward to doing.
I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the kittens at the shelter! There were so many, and they were all so cute, how was I ever supposed to choose one?
“Oh, and who is this?” For lack of a better description, this utter mutt of a cat had started sniffing at my shoe. The feline’s face and ears looked squashed and somewhat Sphinx-like, the gray coat was spotted like an Egyptian Mau though I doubted such a high breed had ever mixed in the little thing’s blood, and the tail was bobbed off like a Manx. A true Frankenstein-cat… if there were Ugly Cat Competitions like there are for dogs, surely this one would have a shot of winning!
“Ah, we call her Cayln! She’s been here for a while now… we haven’t been able to find her a home considering her… ah… unique appearance. But she’s extremely friendly and playful! She’s one of the sweetest kittens here with the staff, and is always playing with the other cats!
“And… I think she likes you!”
“Daaaw… well aren’t you just the cutest little ugly kitten who ever lived!”
“There is a beauty in everything, Senna!”
At that moment, I knew Dad’s words couldn’t have been more true.
“Hey Mom, guess what? Okay, okay, you tell me your big news first, before you forget, hahaha! …What, no way! When? That’s so funny, because you know what? I just adopted a kitten too! Seriously! Yes, today! I was just feeling so lonely after Dad and… ya… Hey, you know what? You should bring him over! Phhht, so he’s a little aggressive, Cayln is a little loveball, I bet he’ll warm right up to her! Ya! It’ll be good for him! And for you too, Mom…”
“Hey, how are you holding up?”
“I manage somehow, dear. Some days are better, and some days…”
“Shhh… Ya. I know. I know…”
“Hey, Mom? You think Dad would be happy right now? I mean… this is what he would’ve wanted, right? Just… start fresh, and keep looking towards the future, right?”
“Oh, my Senna… always! Besides, when your memory is as bad as mine, it makes dwelling on the past that much more difficult anyway!”
The sound of laughter filling my home instead of weeping filled my soul with unimaginable solace… it was beautiful. So beautiful. I knew, in that moment, that I would have no trouble picking back up that paintbrush once again.
This was written for January for the Monthly Simlits Short Story Challenges thread from the Sims forums, which tasked folks to write a story in 500-1500 words using 1-12 screencaps using the theme “Anew.” I used 810 words and 12 screencaps. This short story can be considered a side story to my series The Cat Chronicles since it features characters from that series, but it is not necessary to read the parent work. Likewise, readers of The Cat Chronicles could skip over this short story if they wish.
I’ve never been able to explore Rose’s daughter, Senna, yet, and was happy I finally got the chance with this piece. For those that may not know, Senna ended up adopting Cayln via Nraas Story Progression mod just a few days after I had started my Cat Chronicles game, and I found it such an odd coincidence! It was not something I had scripted or planned. Rose picked Shadow of the two available kittens in the shelter, and her daughter then, autonomously, adopted the other! So apparently “kitten-healing” seemed to be the method of choice for grief in the Hatcher family!