Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Everything Grows: It's Just A Matter of Time

I knew I had to find it, before.

We all know it.
It's ingrained in every Sim.
We just don't know that we know.
Or that when we find it, how much more sense our lives will make.
I guess you are wondering what I am talking about, huh?
Well, let me tell you my story and we'll see if you are ready to find it too...


I was a simple Sim, I worked, I slept, I socialised. I never looked beyond that. When I left school I went into the 'family business'. Gardening. It wasn't hard work. Planting this and that. Pulling out that and this.

A new park was being built in Willow Creek. Flowers, trees, toilet block, fountains. The whole nine yards. 

But when I arrived it was all just finishing touches. The last of the planting had been left with me. Gardening was, of course, in my skill set. I don't know what inspires me to garden but I am always motivated to care for plants.

That day I was working in the main flower bed when I realised that I was not alone. Although not officially open, there was nothing stopping people using the park.  Over by the fountain I spotted a figure.

Engrossed in her canvas. 

Every morning there she was. She would smile as she passed, and I'd give the required 'Hey.' in return. It went on like that for several days. She never said anything. They were enjoyable days, the world seemed at peace, we both pottered away in our own endeavours. Comfortable in our sharing of time and space.

“Plumbobbing Llama Dung!” I cursed, one afternoon. My hand slipped from the handle of the spade, my head following and connecting with the plastic.

“Sometimes it just seems that life is fighting back, huh?” 

I looked up at her. I smiled and rubbed my head.  

“You look like you needed this.” She handed me a coffee and smiled.

Something made me take the coffee, I just suddenly had to. I guess she was right, I did need it.

"Not life today." I grinned, "Just spades."

After that we would regularly meet for coffee and a chat. We chatted about silly things, Conversations just jumped from topic to topic and mood to mood. She had an amazing way of looking at the world. A way of looking that would change my own stand point on our very existence.

Her motivation in life was to paint. 

She would paint day after day. And she told me that she had woken up one morning, grabbed her easel and headed out here to the park and just started painting what she saw. Or 'Painting from Reference' as she put it.

“I even painted you” she laughed.

I looked up at her. I furrowed my brow. It was the most odd thing anyone has ever said to me. 

“So...So you've been over there painting...me?”.

She nodded.

I smiled. Then I laughed. I laughed so hard I cried.

“But why?” I spluttered. “Why me? I'm just a gardener. A no one!”

“No. No you are not.” she looked so earnestly at me. “Don't ever say that. Too many Sims think that because they don't cure Sim Pox or... or fly to the moon that they are nobodies. It's not true. We are all important.  Here for a reason.”

“How so?” I asked, wiping my eyes.

She looked at me a moment, sizing me up, trying to fathom how I would react to her next statement.

“What is your opinion on the ...spiritual side of life?” she questioned.

"Spiritual? Like, the Watcher?" I asked.

“I guess so.”

“I've never given it much thought.” I replied.

“I believe more in a guiding 'force', more than the watcher.  Something that compels us to do certain things with our lives. I don't think there is some being sitting just out of sight telling us what to do!” she laughed, then it was her turn to furrow her brow, “Although, I guess that would explain a lot....”

I watched her turn this idea over in her mind. Then she sort of shook her head, looked back at me and continued.

“Do you ever find yourself deciding to do something, like... take a shower, and then as you are heading to the bathroom, or you're even already in it, you kind of get this urge to just stop and go out to the garden. An urge you can't resist. And then when you get there, there's some friend waiting. It's as if you knew they were there without seeing them.”

I had never considered my life this way before. But her words struck some cord with me.

“Now you come to mention it... a couple of days ago I was tired, like really tired and I kept thinking I'd go off to bed but something kept stopping me and telling me I had to research more things on the computer about gardening. No matter how hard I tried to go to bed, I just kept walking back to the computer. I ended up collapsing on the floor!

“I figured I was just trying to push myself to my next promotion and was so tired I wasn't thinking straight. I got the research done and finally got to bed. Next morning I went to the fridge to cook eggs and I had the stuff out ready and then suddenly decided that cereal was better. If I'd made the eggs I would have been late for work, as it was I got there on time and got that promotion.”

“That's exactly it!” she bounced. “That's this force I am talking about, you were about to make some mistakes, do some actions that would hinder you so 'something' made you change you life path. Just for a moment, just for the parts that you were getting wrong!”

“But, come on, that's just free will. We all have it. Otherwise we'd just stand around and wet ourselves. We all have the ability to make our own decisions. Next you'll be telling me I became a gardener because...” and here I added a dramatic tone to my voice, “Fate Has Deemed It So!”

“Well, why did you?”

“Because my family had loads of flowers in the garden and I watered them, and tended them. My family did it, so I felt compelled to do it too.”

She raised her eyebrow.

I rolled my eyes. “Look, the Sim brain is very complex. Just because we do something doesn't mean we are being controlled.”

“I don't know.” she said. “I think there is more to it. I think there is a force at work that guides us to be who we are. Don't get me wrong, I believe in Free Will. I believe we all have that 'switched on'!” she smiled, “I just think that there's something beyond that, something that takes over if we stray away from our best, or chosen path.”


After that conversation I didn't know what to think. I was a simple Sim and these ideas seemed daunting. I pondered what she had said. There was a niceness to it, but also something very scary.

That was a long time ago, I return here to the park regularly, and although I have never seen her here again, it gives me time to reflect. I'm not ashamed to admit, I believe her. I believe that there is a guiding force behind us, something that causes us to change our actions. Since she helped me find the strength to be open to what's around me, I have noticed more and more the subtle changes in my behaviour that, upon reflection, I have no recollection of deciding upon. 

You may not want to think about it. You may think what I am saying is nonsense. All I am hoping is that my story will at least make you open your eyes to the possibility. To become aware of you life and role within it. 

Since I allowed myself to believe in this guiding force I have been more at one with me.  Although I still fully believe that my life is my own, I have let go of the concern about these odd behaviours or actions that are 'unlike me' and accept that fate is telling me that they are important, even if I don't see it now. 

Like I said, I knew I had to find it before, I just needed someone to open my mind to that knowing.  And I hope that I have opened your minds and you will be able to find it too.

This story was written for the March Short Story Competition.  The brief was that all stories must start with the line "I knew I had to find it before...."

To download the park in this month's story please search for my name in the gallery: cully_c


  1. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. Great job. Your entry was a major factor in inspiring me to join the challenge. Thanks for getting the juices flowing. :)

    1. High praise indeed! Thank you! I hope you enjoy the challenges, they tax my brain no end! This one changed every step of the way, it has very little to do with the original idea! LOL!

  3. This was a really intriguing interpretation of player-awareness! Love what you did with the screenshots, too.

    1. Thank you! I have a thing at the moment for black and white with shots of colour! Just learned how to do it, (Tee Hee!) and seemed a fun way to highlight the 'memory' photos.

  4. Oh my! I loved the use of color, and the topic was handled masterfully. It's sims, but it's not!

  5. Ah, this was beautiful, both visually and in the prose, which was symbolic on so many levels. It's almost breaking the fourth wall because of the knowledge a player of the Sims has, yet never does within the context of the world itself, and just has this beautiful, spiritual message without striking that uncomfortable line of feeling really religious. Most excellent!

  6. Thank you everyone for your kind comments! I'm glad everyone is enjoying it, it was tough with the opening line, but a nice challenge.

  7. Such a great way of portraying sims spirituality combined with our watchers knowledge ;) The accompanying pictures make this a very vibrant story!