Book I Summary

Kendra Jeong-Espinosa: Kendra here. What’s up, everyone?

Xishu (Shu) Liu: And I’m Shu. Looking forward to rolling with y’all!

Kendra: And we have no idea where we are!

Shu: Pretty sweet smoking jackets, though. This is the kinda stuff my dad would do if he were a totally different person.

Kendra: But back to the point. We’re here to gossip about—

Kendra and Shu: The past twenty years!

KENDRA AND SHU SUMMARIZE CATASTROPHE THEORY BOOK I: YOU CAN’T HIDE FROM YOURSELF FOREVER

Shu: We’re gonna try not to swear but I make no promises.

Kendra: Likewise.

Shu: So like first things first. You have to know a bit about our families for any of this to make sense. Kenny’s parents are Mike Jeong and Claudia Espinosa—is Claudia Espinosa Castillo more correct?

Kendra: Yeah, but it’s confusing to people who don’t know Latin American naming conventions so she just calls herself Claudia Espinosa so she doesn’t have to explain every time. Funny that they don’t have to do that with me. Everyone in Newcrest already understands hyphenated last names.

Shu: Thanks. Ok, I’m going to keep flexing how much I know about your parents. Kenny, I have been paying so much attention, it’s a real problem.

Kendra: It actually is. You remind me about my mom’s birthday.

Shu: Damn straight. But let me know if I get anything wrong. I’m going to start with your dad, because your dad and my dad were college friends and that’s how we know each other. So anyway people, Kenny’s dad just looks like this big hulking wall made out of gym.

Kendra: Meat wall!

Shu: Meat wall. And it matches his personality. He’s always been, I think strong-willed is the way to put it. He’s also talented at a bunch of things, including comedy, and majored in drama at U-Britechester so he could become a comedian. Meanwhile—I know your mom didn’t go to college—Claudia immigrated to Newcrest from Mexico when she was like 18, and she was also super into fitness. By the time she and Mike met at the gym, she was already Miss Universe.

Kendra: She still has the best triceps I’ve ever seen. You can’t look away.

Shu: Kenny’s mom is crazy sweet and has this great sense of humor, so Kenny’s dad won her over with his—you know what, if I’m being honest, he already had the dad sense of humor. They dated for a couple years, got married, and soon after had Kenny’s older brother, Charlie. Clearly a smart kid. So 20 years ago, those were the people in Kenny’s family. Kenny wasn’t born yet. At that time Charlie had to be around eight. And her mom is a little older. Than her dad, I mean, not than Charlie. Ok, I’m done.

Kendra: All correct as far as I know. Can I try to do your family?

Shu: Shoot.

Kendra: Sweet. Ok, so I know more about Shu’s dad, so that’s what I’m leading with. Shu’s parents are Xiyuan Liu and Aileen Jensen. Xiyuan’s also an immigrant, but he came here at a very young age, I think… five?

Shu: Yeah.

Kendra: I heard it was rough for him because his parents threw him in an all-boys boarding school but he didn’t actually speak any Simlish. Xiyuan didn’t have any friends as a kid, so he just kept coping by doing art stuff. So eventually he went to U-Britechester and majored in. Uh. Shu?

Shu: Fine Arts.

Kendra: Right, I wasn’t sure if it was that or Art History. He was in the same dorm as my dad; that’s Mike if you needed a refresher. And then my dad dragged him to a party. And then Xiyuan started following my dad everywhere for… reasons.

Shu: “Reasons.” In case you can’t see, I’m doing scare quotes.

Kendra: They’ve never talked to us about it, but your dad totally had a thing for my dad.

Shu: There is like a 0% chance he didn’t. We could’ve been siblings! Jk, I know that’s not how that works.

Kendra: They were both looking for jobs in the entertainment industry after graduation, so they moved to Newcrest together. And they were roommates!

Shu: Oh my god, they were roommates.

Kendra: Thank you. It was a couple years after they moved, I think, before my mom and dad started dating, and I’m going to assume your dad didn’t like my mom very much at that point. She may have been a factor in why he started dating your mom. Aileen doesn’t talk much about the time before she met your dad, but I think she was carefree and didn’t have a lot of direction. And like, to be fair, your dad is an absolute catch. They got married, and I’m not going to share my opinion on that until the situation calls for it, and you were born a few years after Charlie. Right, and your mom also took a job in tech. And she was good at it! So anyway, 20 years ago, that would have made you around 4 years old.

Shu: Yeap. Holy hell, I’m almost in my mid-twenties. I’m old, Kenny.

Kendra: No you’re not. So I think it’s better here if we switch to talking about our own families, because I know some of the details but not all of them.

Shu: Almost. At the start of all this, you were born. I think I remember that better, at least.

Kendra: Oh, c’mon, you got me on a technicality. But—wait, right, our parents also changed jobs. My dad went into business, my mom became a chef, Xiyuan switched to painting. Whatever. Back to the drama! The Lius had better drama at that point.

Shu: I don’t think my mom’s fully over that yet, even though she pretends she is, so I’m not gonna be able to like, make it fun. It wasn’t.

Kendra: Sorry, didn’t mean to make light of it.

Shu: I know you didn’t mean to. The gist of it is, my dad had been trying so hard to keep the family together, but was finally starting to admit he was gay. As in, absolutely zero attraction to women.

Kendra: I still have no idea how he stayed married to your mom as long as he did. Seems unfair to her.

Shu: Yeah, I have… no idea. All I remember from back then is playing violin.

Kendra: Oh my god, Shu, are you actually going to skip over the violin prodigy stuff?

Shu: Yeah whatever.

Kendra: Stop. I’m gonna embarrass you then. This guy is stupid talented! You have no idea; even at that age, he was keeping up with his dad. And that would have already been impressive if his dad weren’t already one of the best violinists in the world. No, you really have no idea, he would get onstage and he was this tiny little kid and he would just smoke everyone. It was bonkers.

Shu: Aw, but seriously Kenny, don’t compare me to other people. I was lucky to have my dad as a teacher and it shouldn’t take away from anyone else’s accomplishments. I’m worried that people might get self-conscious around me. Or worse, give up on their own sh—stuff. That’s why I don’t like to bring it up.

Kendra: Man, dude, I don’t think it matters anymore. I don’t think anyone’s gonna be weird around you for that now. They’re gonna be weird around you for totally separate reasons.

Shu: Anyway, the day I maxed out the violin skill is the day I got home to find my dad had left.

Kendra: Oh shoot right.

Shu: It was going to happen anyway. And I think that’s what he was waiting for. But it’s not like he left for a container of bubble solution and I never saw him again, he just moved to San Myshuno. Honestly, it was a relief ’cause he and Mom were fighting all the time before he left. I later found out they were fighting ’cause he’d met someone. I still saw him on weekends, and it hit Mom—

Kendra: —You’re not gonna tell them the best part?

Shu: You can.

Kendra: Shu’s not telling you who it was. So what he didn’t mention is that the event where his dad met someone, and where Aileen caught him flirting, was Ghost Night at the Shrieking Llama. And the person he was hitting on—I am not kidding here—was the terror of Windenburg, Lord Bernard Escargot Shallot IV. The failed 19th century artist who burned himself and his wife alive after throwing an oversized watercolor into the fireplace? The guy who puts the ‘haunt’ in ‘Von Haunt Estate’? Who’s been dead for a century? That. Freaking. Guy.

Shu: ‘Nard’s chill. He gets a bad rap.

Kendra: Okay, okay okay. So they didn’t really know much about each other when they met. And then it turns out one of them was this disgraced failed painter, and the other was a revered patron of the arts, basically untouchable for all he’s done. And they’re both totally obsessed with painting, paint 6–8 hours a day, rain or shine. And they were broken men consumed with guilt for what they’d done to their families and wives, and they both have this same ridiculously dry sense of humor, and they’re super posh and old-fashioned, and they just mesh on every single level. It’s unbelievable. And they’re just—ahh! I’m trying not to scream here. I don’t know how soundproof this room is.

Shu: Speaking of guilt, my mom was absolutely devastated by the divorce. She used to go and talk to your mom about it a lot. Actually, I think you were born slightly before my parents’ divorce so you were probably kicking around there somewhere.

Kendra: Yeah but like… your dad. You can’t stay mad at someone that insane.

Shu: Ok, what happened with my dad was that he and Bernard fell in love. He convinced Bernard to leave his wife, move in with him, and re-enter the painting career. That was a thing by itself.

Kendra: And then Bernard proposed! He was still a freaking ghost! He was dead and Xiyuan was skipping around San Myshuno making out with a literal freaking ghost! I—effing stan your dads. I’m trying so hard not to swear here. They’re so perfect.

Shu: Yeah, everyone loves my dads.

Kendra: Forget the pink bar BS, they’re like actual soulmates. Real ones. Give me a hundred years and I could not come up with someone more perfect for your dad if I tried. And vice versa. And it’s like, they reached across time for each other and—gaahh, it’s epic how weird your dad is.

Shu: Yep. Everyone loves my dads.

Kendra: Ok, shutting up now.

Shu: Don’t sweat it, I hear it all the time. You get used to it fast. They pull this crap constantly. But isn’t this around where your earliest memories start? What was up with you?

Kendra: Oh, my life was great. Mom was a bit distant because of the juice and all, but basically all I did as a kid was draw monsters and be awesome.

Shu: She had all these pagan ritual books and medical textbooks. And books about ocean creatures. Those were her inspiration. And she slept with the Necronomicon next to her pillow.

Kendra: Oh, but I guess I was a toddler back then, so what my brother was doing was more interesting. I don’t remember. I just followed him around and did, you know, the basic younger-sibling stuff. You’re his best friend. What was he up to?

Shu: That was around the time Charlie got really obsessed with this one kid.

Kendra: Cruz?

Shu: Yes. Yes! Cruz Greenwood! If you could explain where the hell that came from, nena, I would love you more than I already do.

Kendra: Eh, I’m stumped. Cruz is kinda mean and they have nothing in common. By the way, just making sure you know, Shu and I have no romantic interest in each other.

Shu: Oh, yeah, sorry. Platonic love. She’s like a little sister.

Kendra: Plus you have literally—you know what, that’s jumping the gun a bit. You explain.

Shu: Right, I uh—

Kendra:Really took off after puberty.

Shu: True that. My mom and I were both trying to date, and she was also still reeling from the divorce, so I was doing most of the housework and being a shoulder to cry on. Neither of us got anywhere really until she met Derrick and I met Chantel. She started writing self-help books instead of coding, I guess because the self-help books she needed weren’t there. Oh yeah—Derrick was at my birthday party with my mom, dad, and dad’s fiancé. That party was a mess!

Kendra: So was mine. Neither of our families know how to throw a child’s birthday party. I think it’s a thing now.

Shu: Anyway Chantel was the first girl I fell in love with. We met because I was playing violin in the park and she practically trampled over another girl to get to me. That’s an exaggeration. She didn’t actually hurt anyone. I feel like with Chantel, I need to clarify this.

Kendra: She’s the only person as unhinged and spontaneous as you are. Tell them the first thing she said to you!

Shu: I can’t. We’re still trying very, very hard not to swear. And we prefer ‘free-spirited.’ Thanks.

Kendra: Right, potty mouths sink ships or something like that.

Shu: Potty mouths lead directly into the ocean. That’s why I’m never going to the beach, that’s gross. So many things have lived and pooped and died in that water.

Kendra: Bro, you don’t need to tell me. If I’m going to the beach, I’mma wear a comically large sunhat and try to become like, whatever you call an octopus mermaid. I’m gonna have teeth that go all the way around my head and collect voices from nice mermaids and appear in the background of every single tourist photo until everyone leaves the island.

Shu: Someday that will be in the summary, Kenny, but not now. So, your childhood.

Kendra: Okay. Back on track. Again, mostly all monsters and smashing things with Wyatt. Wyatt’s my other best friend, by the way. He’s closer to my age than Shu. They’re very different people; Wyatt’s obsessed with postmodernism and irony but he wasn’t as a kid. We were the weird kids who caught worms in the sandbox and made drawings our teachers wouldn’t put on the wall. The monster under the bed was my other best friend. Her name was Sandra and she ate doll heads. Man, if my brother weren’t the family favorite, he would have gotten in so much trouble for beheading all my dolls. Clearly my parents knew better because, you know, I was the doll judge, doll jury, and doll executioner. Duh. But like, what the rest of my family was doing: the most significant thing, probably, was that my little brother was born. Hector. I think he was a surprise baby, I don’t know, it’s based on conversations I heard when I was a little kid. That’s also a segue into the time my mom made Ambrosia.

Shu: It’s wild that your mom can just like, do that.

Kendra: Yeah, I don’t know why we even worry about dying when my mom can roll out of bed at 5 A.M. and cook up magic. Doesn’t seem like a bad thing to try.

Shu: Kenny… what doesn’t? You know what, don’t answer that.

Kendra: And now I get to talk about the reason my mom was making ambrosia, which was as an early wedding present to a dead man so he wouldn’t be dead anymore. And then we got to go to your dads’ wedding! I was upset because they made me wear a pink dress, but now I look back on those memories when I’m having a bad day. Beautiful ceremony. Kinda late, though. They wanted my mom to be able to attend and she works late.

Shu: They changed their names to Xiyuan and Bernard Shallot-Liu. And Bernard officially became my stepdad.

Kendra: Doesn’t that make you the closest thing to Lord Bernard Shallot Escargot V?

Shu: Oh sh—uh, cool, I’m going to bring that up the next time I’m blitzed at the Von Haunt Estate. Okay, you know what, I don’t have a Simlish name because no one here actually has a problem pronouncing ‘Shu,’ so Bernard Shallot Escargot V is my Simlish name now. Oh my god! Texting Bernard. That’s hilarious.

Kendra: Are you gonna try to justify sneaking into the bedroom now rather than taking girls into the bushes?

Shu: I hate the bushes. They’re nasty. Oh! Bernard’s apologizing ’cause we don’t own land anymore, so I don’t get to be called Lord. And that his father, Bernard III, “would be pleased to have an heir, though the occasion would be overshadowed by the horrifying circumstances that lead to your adoption.” Hah! Bernard totally pissed off his parents.

Kendra: And speaking of the bushes, Bernard V.

Shu: Haha, that’s—that’s great. Right. That’s when I actually started dating… everyone. My mom didn’t give a, uh, hoot, so as long as I kept the house clean she didn’t care if I had girls over. She’d complain to them at the breakfast table sometimes. She was dating around at the time, too, so why judge? And my dad just kept trying to pretend I only had two girlfriends, my first two, Chantel and Shannon. Bernard was too impressed to be mad. He’s an old hippie stoner at heart. I told you, he’s chill.

Kendra: And to clarify again, everyone knew what he was doing. It’s not like you can sleep with every girl in high school and keep it a secret.

Shu: That was almost true, but then you entered high school.

Kendra: Ok, don’t read into it, but I had a crush on you for like three seconds before I realized you were a disaster person.

Shu: I know.

Kendra: Did you just Han Solo me?

Shu: Nah, I know I’m a disaster person. Hey, do you remember that awful party Wyatt threw at an empty lot? And then there was just a bunch of kids’ party stuff?

Kendra: That party! That was the first awful Wyatt party! Okay, the guy’s my best friend, but he has the party-planning skills of a dead pigeon. At least his recently-divorced parents weren’t bringing their dates. You know, like at ours.

Shu: Do not compare my party to Wyatt’s party. Mine was in a house with stuff in it.

Kendra: Oh, and then Charlie’s party. I think I vaguely remember Charlie and myself trying to date people in high school, but he was just so awkward all the time.

Shu: I tried so hard with that guy. I dragged him along to like every party I was invited to, but he kept trying to talk to people about black holes and cell biology. After I told him not to. You know that, right?

Kendra: In hindsight, Shu, it was really sketchy that these adults were inviting you to parties where you were the only teenager.

Shu: Oh my god. You’re totally right.

Kendra: But Charlie did eventually get a girlfriend after he moved out and became a doctor. Josephine Liu.

Shu: No relation.

Kendra: No relation. I was honestly surprised. I thought he might be asexual.

Shu: He also hooked up with the yoga lady who lives in the forest.

Kendra: No way, Ana Asteya?! I talked to her all the time and she told me stuff about superpowers, but she called them siddhis, and her past lives! She was the coolest!

Shu: Whoops, I thought you knew that already.

Kendra: Oh, thank you. I’m so in love with this information. I think I’m ready for a joint checking account. Texting Wyatt. Uh, so were you doing anything interesting while this was going down?

Shu: Just the usual. Upping the body count.

Kendra: And Max Villareal! That was unusual.

Shu: Yeah, that was a thing. I guess besides that, I was doing intensive training with my dad in all things artsy and kept doing things around the house for my mom. She was pretty miserable, anyway, even with the dating. My dad’s a hard person to replace and I’m sure it didn’t help that I took after him. But we did bond over our neatness. It’s like, public places are chaos. People just leave anything anywhere. So also I met Chantel’s parents and they were super weird, and then something something bam I was an adult.

Kendra: Tell the people how many skills you maxed by adulthood, Shu. Tell them or I’ll liquefy you with my octopus-mermaid beak.

Shu: Eight.

Kendra: Bam! That’s the something-something you’re leaving out.

Shu: Again, leaving it out on purpose because it made everything boring. You can’t really do anything new at that point and you have nowhere left to go.

Kendra: If you’re not gonna be proud of yourself, let me do it. That’s also around the time you gave up on forcing my brother to go out and started dragging me to parties instead.

Shu: You are so much more fun than Charlie it’s not even a thing anymore.

Kendra: Same to you, bucko. I’m using that ironically. Which reminds me, Wyatt responded and his message does contain the word ‘ironic.’ But, you know, Charlie’s a sweetheart even though going out isn’t really his thing. He just gets confused by decisions easily.

Shu: Spot-on. That’s why I seem pushy with him sometimes, it’s because if I’m calling the shots he doesn’t have to get stressed out thinking about it. I’ve talked to him and he’s down with it.

Kendra: You actually balance each other out really well. One of you acts without thinking, the other thinks without acting, and together you’re a single functional adult. And also around that time, my other brother grew up a bit: he’s also fun, but in a different way. More outgoing than either me or Charlie. Really takes after our mom in that everything is beautiful and everything is sunny and life is a rainbow unicorn explosion. Hector’s a cheery kid so I get it, and Mom is just juiced up all the time because my dad is a—hold up, trying to euphemize—feminine-hygiene-product burger.

Shu: I wasn’t gonna say anything.

Kendra: How are our parents messed-up? Let me count the ways.

Shu: Like we have time for that. We’ve gone on long enough already.

Kendra: Moving on! So I think that’s when you started your job. Oh my god, tell them what your job is.

Shu: Freelance musician.

Kendra: No.

Shu: I go on dates and sell the date rewards for money. Usually when I tell people I do that, they’re like “why,” so I just default to freelance musician instead. It’s true anyway. I do have multiple gigs.

Kendra: I hesitate to ask the obvious question.

Shu: Because I’m freaking bored. Because monotony is lifeless. Because I need to create my own structure and if I can’t I’d go bonkers. I’d waste away if I took a rabbit-hole job like my parents did. Say what you want but at least no one else is doing it. Let this be one of the truly new things I create. I love my dad and all, but look at his paintings and I’m pretty sure some of them are the same painting. That’s not what I want. Execution with no content. Here I’m at least making a statement, not against prudishness but rather that it’s so much harder to create something when it’s not the same as what everyone else is doing. Plus dating is something I’m good at.

Kendra: I think the funniest part is that your dates wake up the next morning to a clean tub. Parents and roommates are like, whoa, can you hook up with that guy again? Preferably when the freezer’s starting to smell weird.

Shu: Yeah, it’s not hard to figure out what people want when you actually care. You’ll notice that many of the people who complain about how impossible dating is are the same people who expect their partner to clean the freezer for them.

Kendra: And you’re based in San Myshuno, rather than Newcrest.

Shu: I kinda grew up in both places but prefer San Myshuno. At first I moved in with my dads. You love them so much, you try living with them. It’s cute if you see them on a park bench flirting with each other but they’re just like that constantly. And from their side, Dad isn’t like Mom and got ticked off at the number of girls I bring home. ‘Nard doesn’t care. He hasn’t cared about anything since the turn of the century, and I mean the turn of the 20th century. He started high-fiving me after they left. But anyway it didn’t work out and I moved in with two of my girlfriends. Chantel and Gen. Chantel’s a musician, Gen’s a pro gamer. Stop me if you don’t want to hear what I love about them.

Kendra: Make it quick, but is it because they’re both spontaneous and fun?

Shu: That’s part of it. Chantel is so clever, she says something every day that makes me fall in love with her more. I can’t imagine not being around her. And Gen is extraordinary but in a different way, and she’s—I want to say more stable. She’ll also stay up until 4 A.M. with me and go swing dancing. I did exchange promise rings with Chantel pretty early on, so we’re definitely getting hitched at some point. And yet somehow your brother got ahead of me.

Kendra: I don’t even know what happened! He got his first-ever girlfriend and then time went by like that and suddenly I got a save-the-date. And then we added Josephine Jeong-Espinosa to the roster. That wedding was the first time I talked to her. No red flags at all. I think you saved him by dating all the crazy girls.

Shu: She seems to hate me. It’s understandable given our clashing lifestyle choices, so I’m not broken-up about it.

Kendra: Ok, let me fill you in. Jo is the most bougie person ever to exist and I mean that in the way that I love her for it, because it’s a legitimate accomplishment. Here are things I have talked to her about. Her kid. Her stand mixer. Her parenting blog. Window treatments. Charlie’s career. Her career that she left to run a parenting blog. Gardening. Zumba. Conventional vs. organic produce. ‘Natural’ processed food brands. Ethical practices of grocery stores, ranked. Other stand mixers that aren’t hers, that she researched in the process of buying hers. You’ll notice a distinct lack of monsters or gross anatomy; I always let her lead the conversation because it’s fascinating what she thinks people care about.

Shu: You read Jo’s blog? I’m gonna admit something I haven’t admitted to anyone else. Me too.

Kendra: Yes. Let’s do this. Let’s compare notes later. Oh yeah, the reason Jo has a parenting blog is that she and my brother have a kid, my nephew Jasper. I think she over-prepped for the birth and needed a place to dump all that info. I guess it helps with the science part that she’s married to a doctor. And my brother did make Chief of Staff, so good for him. I’ve tried to figure out how he feels about his life progressing so quickly and he still seems as confused as ever. I kinda feel bad for him.

Shu: Definitely also getting those vibes here. I’ve been keeping an eye on him, kinda crashed his Winterfest celebration in the process of checking up. He’s definitely out of it. Your nephew Jasi is super cute, though. Charlie said some mean things about Chantel—he doesn’t understand love in the same way I do—but then Father Winter showed up and if I know one thing, it’s that I am not on the Nice list. So that’s when I jumped out the window. Merry Winterfest!

Kendra: I talked to them afterward and seriously wish I hadn’t skipped that Winterfest celebration. Apparently Jasper got childhood-traumatized after you left. Have you talked to him since then? That kid is super into memes.

Shu: Yeah, we’ve talked, but not since his birthday party or Winterfest. He’s a nice kid but I’m laying low because, you know, his mom hates me.

Kendra: And in Charlie’s defense, Chantel may be perfect for you but she’s also nuts.

Shu: Yeah, well my dad is nuts and that didn’t stop him. But there’s a couple more major life events we’re missing.

Kendra: We adopted some dogs? Right, and I moved out. To the best place ever. Strangerville! Keep Strangerville Weird! Keep Strangerville Weird!

Shu: Are you a bartender now, or a barista?

Kendra: Bartender is out, Shu. We’re calling ourselves mixologists now. Really not what I want to do long-term but it pays the bills while I work on my horror poetry. And is the last thing that happened your mom’s wedding?

Shu: Yeah, to Matt. I haven’t talked much to Matt. He likes books? Mom’s happy and that’s what matters. I was worried about her; she didn’t want to do anything for Winterfest, even though I celebrated with my dads earlier. At least she’s not alone in the house anymore.

Kendra: So that’s the hot goss.

Shu: All of it.

Kendra: As far as the Jeong-Espinosas and Lius are concerned. So what’s left?

KENDRA AND SHU SPECULATE ON CATASTROPHE THEORY BOOK II: OPEN FLOODGATES, CLOSING DOOR

Shu: Starting with our parents. Like I said, my mom has her self-help books and her yoga practice and whatever else healthy coping methods, but she lost me. I’m freaking that she didn’t want to see me on the Winterfest after I moved out. That’s not normal, right? She used to talk to me every day about what she was going through, what she was putting in her books. But I think she’s getting along with both my dads now. And my dads are my dads. They’re going to paint, flirt, be snarky, and run around in tailcoats. No surprises there.

Kendra: I don’t think my mom has realized how big of a jerk my dad is yet or how it’s affected her. Either she figures it out and has to deal with it or spends the rest of her life high on juice, and I’m not sure which is going to be more difficult for her. I can’t do anything about it; I’ve tried. She won’t listen because I’m the kid and she’s the parent. I guess there’s another option, which is that my dad could be better. But from what I’ve seen, that’s not happening. He has no reason to change.

Shu: Okay, now our futures. I’m going to skip Jasi because all that kid knows is memes and Father-Winter hate right now, so that’s pointless. You start.

Kendra: There’s the obvious one with me, which is that I’ve just started adulthood. I have no idea what the hell to do with my life. It’s gonna be the weirdest thing I can think of, but I’m still brainstorming. And then there’s Charlie. He seems unhappy, but I don’t know what he’s unhappy about. Wondering whether he made the right life choices? There’s no clean way to address that. I remember him telling me it was useless to think about without a control experiment.

Shu: I do think he loves Jo. I’m rooting for him to quit his job and do something nature-y.

Kendra: And Hector is also early in his life. I’m hoping he doesn’t fall into the same trap my mom did, being taken advantage of for her kindness. Charlie’s my dad’s favorite and Hector’s my mom’s favorite. I think that makes it easier to predict where their weaknesses would be. But Charlie’s got a totally different personality than my dad. Although, he was the favorite because of his talent and accomplishments, so maybe he feels like he has something to prove instead of living for himself. Yeah, that’s actually not bad for a first pass.

Shu: It’s messed-up that your parents have favorites.

Kendra: We said what we had to about the messed-up bit. Your turn.

Shu: Whoa, I’ve done everything I can to make my life unpredictable. I’m not going to wreck it with my baseless predictions.

Kendra: What about Chantel?

Shu: I guess the proposal is becoming an issue. But I do want to marry her. It’s just that something feels off, and I don’t want to talk about it right now. Not until I’ve figured out how to move forward.

Kendra: Mysterious!

Shu: Is that it?

Kendra: I think that’s it. Cool; if you’re still here, thanks for sticking around this long!

Shu: We really do appreciate it!

Kendra: Back to writing practice for me, then. I have a couple hours before my job starts.

Shu: And I’m going to do whatever I want. Oh, hey. Love Day is coming up.

Kendra: For you, that’s a challenge in advance planning and time management.

Shu: Right. Let’s try to find the exit. Still no idea where the hell we are.