Does it do any good to deny change when it comes to you? Can you cling to your old life, refusing to let change take over? Or are you powerless against it?
Audrey sighed heavily and picked at her gelato. It was seasonably cool in Rome that day, but her stomach wasn’t having anything heavier than the gentle, sweet fior di latte gelato that morning. Audrey thought was a perfect day to sit outside, enjoy the sunshine, and obsess over things out of your control.
It had all started with a doctor’s visit for stomach flu. Well, the whole situation actually hadn’t started there, but that’s about where this particular break-down had begun.
Nauseous, achy and exhausted, she had gone in to see Dr. Vogel for an appointment. He had done the usual: checked her out, given her some antibiotics and ran some labwork. It was when she got a call that she needed to be seen again, to go over her results, that the red flag was raised.
“It’s got to be pneumonia. Or influenza. Or, or… Upside-Down Face Plague! That’s what it is. I’m dying of Upside-Down Face Plague! So what if they say it’s extinct, they could be wrong!”
Audrey sat alone in the cold, sterile exam room, mulling over various, painful, debilitating diseases until Dr. Vogel came in. Somehow, the news he brought with him was SO much worse, in Audie’s opinion, than Upside-Down Face Plague.
The word repeated itself over and over again in her mind as she sat in airport, waiting for her flight.
How it was even possible, she didn’t know. Surely one stupid night with Joe (of all sims in the world, JOE), couldn’t equal a pregnancy. It just couldn’t! She had always been careful, safe, when she was with Matt. With her other boyfriends – or boyfriend, rather – too. What kind of irony was it, that the first night she ever drank more than she could handle, the first night she ever went home with a man and wasn’t safe, that she would end up, end up…
First she arrived in Kyoto. She spent days shut in her room in the little ryokan just outside the city, eating, bonding with the little old lady who ran the inn, and making it a point to avoid taking calls from her family.
When the walls of the ryokan seemed to be closing in, Audie took flight again, this time setting out across the China Sea for Taizhou, China. Then to Tibet. Then to Agra, India.
Whenever she was overcome by morning sickness, or when the waistband of her jeans got a little bit tighter, she was nearly choked by the desire to run, to get so far away that maybe, somehow, she might be able to leave her problems behind.
What she didn’t realize, was that it’s very difficult to run from something when that something is part of you.
Audrey had been in Rome for a while now. Her mother had been calling daily, concerned that she'd hadn't heard from her eldest child in close to two weeks. Her mom didn't even know she was in Italy, Audrey realized. Last time they'd talked, Audie had still been in India, and the last time she spoke with her brother, she'd been in Japan. That was all less than a handful of weeks ago, Audie knew, but still, it seemed time to get in touch with her family back in SimNation.
Audie finished her gelato, and stared down at the cellphone in her hand.
“Com'on. Just dial. Mum will be making herself sick, and making Gabe and Frank crazy. I should just call... I owe them that much,” she thought to herself.
What was she going to say when she got them on the phone? “Hi, Mum, I'm still on my jaunt 'round the world. Oh, I assure you, this is a completely normal reaction to getting fired, and finding out... finding out....”
She grimaced, and glanced downward. Her clothes were tightening around her mid-section. If she wanted to, she could likely attribute that fact to the enormous amounts of Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and Italian food she'd consumed during her journey from Simberry Fields to international destinations unknown. She wished that was the reason for her nausea, her growing waistline and her increasingly bad complexion. She wished it had nothing to do with the fact that she was, at the moment, 'up the spout', as her Aunt Carrie had always said.
Audie cringed again, and tugged on the fabric of her sweater to help cover the emerging bump.
Again, she glanced down at her cell phone. Without a second thought - almost as a reflex - she tossed it over her shoulder, and it landed with a splash in the crystalline water of the fountain. The sound made Audrey smile. Even though putting off telling her family wouldn't rectify the situation, it somehow made it easier to disregard, at least for the moment.
With a deep breath, Audie stood, and strode off towards the Villa Borghese gardens for what she hoped to be a relaxing day.