The days began to bleed together. Looking for collectibles, looking for harvestables, working on her garden, selling all she can. Over and over, eat, scrounge, sleep… It seemed like months had passed. Finally, she was able to buy an easel to start working on other ways to bring in money.
After more time had passed, she was able to upgrade her bed.
She was finally able to make money mostly from her own things. Gardening and painting together took all of her time, but she didn’t have to go looking for money elsewhere, at least. She fell into a routine of waking early, working in her garden, painting, then falling into bed, exhausted. This seemed to go on and on for her. She wondered when she would feel, again, like she had before? Like she was progressing. This didn’t feel like progression, it felt like stalling out.
Until she was finally able to expand her tiny home and buy a stove.
She was thrilled to no longer be forced to eat garden salads for every meal. Don’t misunderstand, a salad made with ingredients you grew yourself is an incredible experience. Eventually, though, one yearns to mix it up a little. It was a small victory, but she had to take every win she could get. It had taken every ounce of strength she had to get to this point. She wasn’t sure how much she had in her, but if she could get this far, she could really do anything.
Once she got better at painting, the money started coming in much more quickly. She was finally able to section off her little bathroom, expand her home to a more livable state, and even buy a little table for her penguin TV. It was finally starting to feel like an actual home, and not a storage shed behind someone’s real house.
Her home had almost filled her tiny lot. It’s something she looked forward to being possible, but not something she had the ability to imagine when she’d first settled here.
Not much later, Lilah realized it was her birthday. She was officially a young adult. She had completely forgotten about it, between constantly working towards improving her situation and being proud of herself for what she’d achieved.
She decided to allow herself to go out to celebrate. No longer did she have to concern herself with what others may think. She didn’t have to worry about being found to live alone. No longer was her situation a legal problem. She felt free, and she went out on the town to finally meet those who lived in the towns and neighborhoods around her.
She met a lot of nice people, but the men especially, flocked around her. She’d forgotten what it was like to interact with other people, without worrying they’d find her out. She needed this way more than she’d even known.
The next morning, one of her neighbors even came to visit while she was gardening. They hadn’t even known anyone lived behind all these trees. They assumed it was an uncleared forest lot.
Later on, sitting at her small table, staring at the cookies she’d made the night before (being around all these new guys made her feel a little flirty), she had a thought. “I’ve lived here through all of my teenage years. I built this from nothing. I accumulated wealth on my own, and I’m old enough to not have to hide anymore.”
Mulling it over, she decided there was really only one way to begin her new young adult life. It was time to move on from this place she’d called home for so long. She packed up her belongings, made arrangements with a real estate agent, and purchased her very first legitimate home.
This place would always hold a special place in Lilah’s heart. She would never forget, but it would be her own secret to hold.
Lilah’s new home:
It was bare bones for now, but it was more than enough for her. She could finally get an actual job as an artist and move towards a life that she could be proud of.
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