On paper it looked perfect. My dad was a middle school teacher at the time and Sunset Valley has the best schools for teacher and kids in the nation. My mum never really talked much about her job. She was always traveling for business meetings with almost no notice. She seemed to really like whatever it is she did although I never understood why she went to work in that car!!
She said it was a place for our family to get away from the world and keep a low profile. I asked my dad about that one day on the way to school.
"What's up with mum's job? I mean what does she actually do?"
"Your mother *sigh* does very important work but you are a bit young to have to worry about all that."
I've been hear that since I was 8. I should have known better than to start the conversation by mentioning mum. Every time she is mentioned dad goes all gooey and seems to forget about the world around him.
We found a nice little cottage on the cliffs overlooking the sea and it didn't take long before mum had it painted in the familiar berry colours I grew up with in Sugar Valley. Like I said it was perfect, on paper.
The reality was something different. It just wasn't Sugar Valley. I mean it looked similar but there were little differences everywhere. There weren't too many Berries in Sunset Valley and I always felt like people were looking at me out of the corner of their eyes. Not in a bad way, just like I was some sort of novelty item. The rare Berry species or something.
School was, well….school. Nuala was beautiful; dark, mysterious and exotic. Boys flocked to her siren song.
Sweet Nuala never even noticed and just gushed about how nice everyone was. I tried not to be jealous but it was hard when the only time boys talked to me was to ask if I thought my sister, my twin sister, would go out with them.
Cheri inherited my dad's sugar coated view of the world. To her everyone was sweetness and light and even at her young age she was doing things for our neighbourhood, like holding bake sales and donating all the money to a local good cause.
No one saw it for what is really was, a ghost town. People were smiling and happy and good to everyone but it was empty. There was no one really in that town. No connection, no life, no spark. My sisters were swept away in a wave of popularity and my parents just gazed into each others eyes and said 'Love is everywhere around you'.
I was alone.