One sunny afternoon, Seraphina invited her new friend Ruben to come over after school. Seraphina was generally pretty shy, so Grainna was glad to see her making friends with other children.
Ruben: Thanks for inviting me over, Seraphina – I love playing at your house!
Seraphina: My house is okay – maybe tomorrow I can come and play at your house!
Ruben: Oh, I live with my mom and dad and my little brother, but we don’t have a house. That’s why I like your house so much!
Seraphina: What do you mean you don’t have a house? Are you homeless?
Ruben: Oh, no – we’re just “currently not in world.” I don’t really know what that means but I hear the grown ups talking about it sometimes.
Seraphina: I wonder if my dad has a house. Or maybe he’s currently not in world, too?
Ruben: You don’t know where your dad lives?
Seraphina: Not really. He comes over a lot, but I don’t know where he goes when he goes home.
Ruben: Maybe you should ask him! Then we could go and play at HIS house next time!
Seraphina realized she was curious about her father. She had never asked why Geoffrey didn’t live with them, and since Grainna didn’t see the point of telling her that Geoffrey had a (huge, gorgeous) home in Oasis Springs where he lived (with his son and extremely rich and beautiful wife), there was a lot Seraphina didn’t know about her dad.
Seraphina resolved to get some answers the next time her dad came over to visit. Since he came over so often, she didn’t have to wait too long.
Seraphina: Dad, what does “currently not in world” mean?
Geoffrey: Oh honey, where did you hear that?
Seraphina: My friend Ruben told me his family is “currently not in world,” and I want to know what that means.
Geoffrey: Well – it means that your home is…..invisible.
Seraphina: Invisible? But that doesn’t make any sense! How can you take an angry poop on an invisible toilet?!
Geoffrey tried to explain, but Seraphina wasn’t really listening anymore, anyway.
Seraphina: I still don’t get it….Dad, are YOU currently not in world?
Geoffrey could see where this was heading, and he was starting to panic.
Geoffrey: No –
Seraphina: Then where DO you live, Dad?
Geoffrey: Well…. I live in a house. It’s far away from here, and you’re too little to walk that far, so I always walk to come see you instead.
Seraphina: Can I come play at your house? I can walk very far, you know. Me and Ruben could even walk there together!
Geoffrey wasn’t quite sure what to do. He knew he couldn’t take Seraphina to Affluista Mansion…..ESPECIALLY not now, not with what was going on at home….. but he also couldn’t tell her why. Still, he couldn’t bear to break his daughter’s heart.
Luckily, he had an idea. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something, and he hoped it would be enough.
Geoffrey: I would love to take you to my house, but it’s uh – well, it’s under construction. So I thought you might like to come play in this park instead! It’s not where I live, but my house is pretty close to here.
Seraphina noticed that her dad seemed kind of tense. She could tell he was trying to hide it, but he kept his head down kept looking over his shoulder. She was becoming a bit suspicious.
Seraphina: What’s wrong, Dad?
Geoffrey: Nothing, honey. How about we call each other by our nicknames today?
Seraphina: But we don’t have nicknames for each other…
Geoffrey: Sure we do – remember that one time you called me Stinkbrain? How about you call me that today instead of Dad? And I’ll call you….. Peanut-head!
Seraphina: Uhhh, ok – Stinkbrain.
She laughed, because it WAS fun to call her dad “Stinkbrain.” But Seraphina was smart for her age, and she was beginning to catch on. There was something verrry fishy going on here, and she was going to find out what it was.
Later that night, Seraphina logged onto Simpedia. If her dad wasn’t going to give her the answers she wanted, she would have to find them for herself.
It didn’t take her long to find what she wanted, but as Nancy Langrabb’s face stared at her from the computer screen, Seraphina realized that some secrets are better left hidden.