Saturday, 16 April 2016

Into The Silence


I moved here to get away. It's quiet.  The people are friendly but not over bearing like they are back home. There is no desperate need for visiting neighbours or 'helping out' which can often flood a small town like this. Although I quickly became accustomed to my new surroundings I equally quickly began to realise that I couldn't escape. I was foolish to even think it possible. I mean, how do you escape from yourself? 

When at my worst I found walking eased the turmoil.  I would walk for hours. I became well versed in the meandering pathways of the forests surrounding the town. Walking always gave me a sense of peace.  It stilled the noise in my head, gave me hope that if I just keep going, something better would appear on my horizon.

As in the world so it is in the mind.

It was during one of these walks that I, by chance, came across the well. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. I remember actually laughing, it was strange hearing that sound. For a moment I thought another was there with me. The stones were old and crumbling, only held together by the ivy that travelled across it's surface.  I stared at the ugly carved face, with it's hooded eyes and mocking expression.  Daring me.  I peered down into the blackness.  As it rushed up to meet me, down in the dark, I saw myself, staring back.


One morning I found myself in need of coffee.  This required me to leave the apartment and venture out into the world.  Something that filled me with as much apprehension as it did enthusiasm.  Watching others gave me focus, some respite from being alone with myself but I hated the possibility of having to interact.  Trying to fake a smile or show interest in someone else while fighting my own demons was exhausting.  But then sitting back and just watching only served to remind me how isolated I had become.  I feared, too, that finding someone with understanding and compassion towards my situation would inevitably break down my defence and leave me naked and vulnerable.

That day I chose the small cafe in the square. This wasn't the main square, but a small French styled plaza a short walk from my door. When I arrived I was surprised by the presence of another sim.  At this early hour, on my previous visits, the place had been quiet. Allowing me to become comfortable before the possibility of interaction occurred. Her presence there threw me. 

I slipped into the cafe and prayed she was gone when I emerged. I slowly perused the menu and many many requests to my order, trying to push out the time, hoping she would move on. However,  the book in her hands was enough to tell me she was planning on an extended stay.

She paid no attention to me as I sat down. I chose a table several feet away which gave me enough space for it to be socially acceptable to not strike up conversation but not so far as to appear insulting. I had as little desire for confrontation as I did for socialisation. 

I found myself watching her. She was quite striking. The curve of her breast and chin were artistically perfect, to my eyes at least. And her body in its entirety was exquisitely proportioned. There was a distinct softness to her movement, as she absent-mindedly pushed an errant hair behind her ear, that aligned my thoughts.   Her beauty really was quite remarkable. I had not seen someone who had captured my attention so profoundly for many years. My own issues had all but made me unaware of other sims except in order to plan my avoidance of them.


My mind became filled with thoughts of her and my visits to the cafe were increased to a daily routine. When she was there it was always the same.  She would read.  I would watch. I would take up my position behind her and lose myself in the peacefulness of observing her. Much like my walks in the forest simply being around her cleared my mind of the many damning thoughts that often loitered there. The self loathing. The insecurities. The dark. All stilled by this one pastime. 

I found myself choosing to sit closer to her table and even, to my own surprise, wishing she would talk to me. I realised that I both feared and relished the idea. If she were to speak to me I would be forced to confront not only her but the insecurities and doubt that brought me here. The thought terrified me. But if, one day, that book was finished, she may not return and my peace would be shattered once again. The thought terrified me.


Night used to be my solace. Sleeping was the only time that I was, ironically, ever truly free of the dark. My days were simply the wandering search for the next night. The next reprieve from myself. However, recently I had noticed a change in my nightly repose. No longer was I hoping that my sleep would last indefinitely. My thoughts now lay in regretting that I hadn't made the acquaintance of the girl but with a seldom experienced feeling of hope that tomorrow would present another chance.

Who knows how many nights of that new routine had gone, or would have continued to pass, if she hadn't been the one to break the barrier between us. It happened one morning as I emerged from the cafe with my usual, overly elaborate coffee. For all my times here and my need to see her I still couldn't lose the protection of giving her that time to leave.  Another reminder of my failings.  I looked over to what I now considered to be my table and saw that it was occupied. She was sitting there, but this time facing the cafe rather than into the square, which had been her usual positioning. I stood motionless. When one has been both hoping for and praying against a situation from occurring its actuation is somewhat unnerving. 

She looked up at me and smiled. I knew the smile. It was a welcoming smile. One that drew the buried me towards her but caused the stronger willed me to recoil in fear. I realised that I had to do something, so I did what was expected in these situations. I walked over and joined her at the table. 

We met for coffee most mornings after that and from there we would decide our plans for the day. We would sit together in silence or walk through the woods surrounding the town. She had a love of the arts, both written and painted and we often found ourselves at the local art galleries staring together at some touring masterpiece or musing over the newest work from the latest up-coming artist in the city.  Having her near me, to watch, to observe helped me calm my mind but when she was gone, left for the evening, the uncertainty would flood back like a tide.

She never asked about my past and, although I feel that she knew that I was holding back, she never acted upon it, nor treated me with suspicion or pity.  Nor did she ever react when I would reach the end of what I could muster in social normality and would need to retreat to my silence.  She would just join me in quiet repose, or remove her latest novel from her bag and get lost in the pages.  The freedom she gifted me; allowing me to be what I was, to deal with what I had to without thought or embarrassment was the greatest therapy that I could have wished for.  I don't think she ever truly grasped how important she was, or even who I really was.


As the weeks turned to months I knew that I loved her. Having her beside me kept me from myself.

She had never shown feelings towards me other than friendship. She would touch my hand during the emotional finale of some show or kiss my cheek as she came running in the morning, clutching the latest classic she had found, desperate to hear my opinion.  But never anything further.

Why would she want someone like me? How could someone like her ever picture a life with me? She would laugh in my face. Or worse.  She would never understand how important she had become to my very being.  How could I explain the magnitude of her effect on my emotions, how she levelled out my head in a way nothing and no one ever had?  This was a friendship to her, nothing more.  It had to be.  How could I ever achieve anything more.


It was turning colder when she told me she was leaving. I remember the darkness closing in. She excitedly told me about her new job in the city. Her eyes sparkled as she described all the things she would see, how she wished I could join her and how she would write if she could. She slipped away from me as she talked. I fell into the darkness that rushed up to consume me. It's always been there. She is only a buffer. I reached out for her as I fall but she doesn't see.  I need her

I congratulate her and force myself to talk about her trip and laugh as I fake being caught up in her excitement. If she realises I am not really there, she doesn't show it. Perhaps she doesn't, I have become good at hiding my truth. She tells me she leaves tomorrow on an early flight.  This is not a situation that I can be in for long, I excuse myself. I look back as I go, she waves, her eyes still sparkling.  She shouts to meet her here, early, for one final coffee.  I try to hold onto the image of her face.  I'll need it.


That night my dreams are restless. Fragments of images. Wrestling my demons. Knowing how to save myself but being coerced by the darkness. I awake. The sweat is running down my face and soaks the sheets. It is morning. I see the small box on my table. I bought it long ago, when I first realised I wanted her to stay.

Four little words are all it will take.

One bended knee.

But the clock reads 9:47 am.

I race to the cafe.I keep her face in my mind. My fears travel with me. Surrounding me.  
You're not good enough. 
You're why she's leaving you know. You're making a fool of yourself. You're pathetic.
They are screaming now.
I block them out.
Just get to the cafe. 
Don't be late.

Say the words.


The sun is low in the sky now, although with me there had been nothing but the darkness since I sat down.

It was right. It has always been right.

I am clutching the ring box.

Like the forest she was only my sunny glade, eventually I would have to walk back into the darkness of the trees.

I get up and start walking. 

To clear my head. 

There are trees around me now. 

You're nothing. 

It is dusk. 

She's gone, you couldn't keep her. 

I see the crumbling stone and the straggling ivy. 

You are pathetic. 

The mocking face.

I dare you!

The diamond sparkles as it falls. 

There is a splash in the distance.

I am looking at myself.

The darkness rushes up to consume me. 

It's always been there. 

She was only a buffer. 

I reached out for her as I fall. 

But she doesn't see.


The following story was written for the April 2016 Short Story Competition hosted on the Sims 4 Forums.  The challenge was to write a story based around a given set of screenshots in 2000 words or less.  


  1. Aww... this was sooooo sad, but sweet. I loved his enthusiasm. He seemed like such a nice guy to fall in love with and spend a life with - and I'm sad he never got the chance to be with her and she never knew. Poor guy! Great story!

  2. I know so many guys that remind me of this protagonist; such good people but too afraid to come out of their shell, or eternally "friend-zoned" once they do. This really was a wonderful (albeit tragic) love story!

  3. So sad! Ugh. I really wanted them to get together, too. I think she'd have been perfect for him to bring out the demons and help him deal with them in her own sweet, quiet way. Awesome job!

  4. Oh gosh. He never told her. Poor guy, I hope he can find another connection to help him out and next actually talk to them.