Drifter: Giving

I’ve always been a taker. I took from my parents. I took from my friends. I took from my teachers until I took all I could take and then I took off. I took this plot of land from my grandfather after he left it to me and took off for the greener pastures beyond that big blue dome of sky, and since I’ve arrived in this town I’ve done nothing but take from the neighbors that have become my friends.

I’m sick of taking. I’m ready to give.

I’ve written 16 books since I’ve moved here, and I’m saving up money. I’ve got enough spare cash to throw a party and give something back to the neighbors and friends that have been generous enough to let me take from them.

Now it’s their turn to give me a chance to give.

The Spencer-Kim-Lewises let me use their place for the party. They brought the space, and I brought the crowd.

Party

Looks like my pal Eliza Pancake is sharing her off-color humor with little Olivia.

I invited as many of my friends as I could–and I still had to leave lots off the list. I had no idea I’d made so many friends in such a short time.

party

Mr. Kim didn’t seem to pleased to have all these people he didn’t even know storming through his kitchen, even if they are all my good friends.

We kept looking around for a stereo so we could dance. What’s a party without dancing? Either the SPK’s moved their music box, or they never had one to begin with. We had to settle for conversation and noodles.

I found my gal Emma upstairs after we cleaned our plates.

Party

“Whatcha doin all the way up here, Em?”

Vivek joined us, too, dressed like Mortimer.

Party

“Dang, these garlic noodles are good!”

I crashed at the SPK’s after the party, and when I woke the next morning, I still felt good from that rash of giving. I decided to give a little more, so I headed out to the park and grilled up some tofu dogs. Met this new guy in town, Homer, I call him, though I’m sure he told me his name, and that’s not what it was.

Party

“Are you sure these dogs are made of tofu?”

Before I knew it, a whole crowd of people had joined us, including my good pal Summer. Even Bob Pancake forgot his melancholy once we got the jokes flowing.

Park

Joking with Bob and the tofu dog eaters

It felt pretty good, dang, it felt great, to be there with old friends and new ones, sharing a meal I’d made, sharing jokes, sharing good feelings. Who knew giving could be so sweet?

Later, when I headed into the library to work on the next novel, I decided maybe it was time to give a little more of my heart. One enchanting introduction, and this beautiful married woman and I became instantly a little more than friends.

Party

I do like something I can get my arms around!

It was pretty quick to finish up that novel. Something about giving just seemed to get all my juices flowing, and about the time everybody headed out of the library for the night, I’d finished the thing.

The Robison family had just moved into Oakenstead, and they’d invited me to stay with them any time I wanted. I didn’t have a place set up to crash for that night. Seemed like a good time to take them up on the offer.

Oakenstead

They’ve got a sweet kitchen that looks like it’s never even been used. I could give them some good home-cooking in a kitchen like this!

The daughter, 16 going on 30, was feeling pretty hot when I got there, and she cornered me in the bathroom as soon as I got out of the shower.

Shower

“You still smell like soap. You gotta little soap there behind your ears you need me to help you with?”

I don’t know what it is. Every place I stay, it seems like somebody wants something that I just can’t, or won’t, or shouldn’t, or better-not-if-I-want-to-keep-clear-of-a-shotgun-or-the-law, give.

Allie

“Darling, you’re gorgeous. And if we had that patch, I might give you a different answer, but lucky for me we don’t, so get back to me once you’ve aged up.”

These kids must be lonely, living with a single mom and all. They both followed me into the bedroom after I sacked out, and they hung around, just watching me sleep.

Allie

“Do you think he snores?”

I asked their mom if she minded me hanging out at their place. Seems like maybe I can find something to give to them in exchange for them sharing one of their many rooms.

Oakenstead

“What do you think? You got this room all the way over here in the back of the house, and you and the kids sleep over in this wing… I could hang around, share maybe a little male influence for your son, make a few meals, help out a bit.”

Ms. Robison agreed that it would be helpful to have me around, any time I wanted to stay. As we were talking later, I saw a real mean streak in her, though. She’s always been nothing but loving around her kids, but it made me wonder if maybe the reason they seemed to starved for attention was because they were. It got me thinking a little more about finding ways that I can give. I mean, even just time and conversation is a way to give, isn’t it?

I ran the idea past Homer when I met him the next day walking past the lot that used to be my grandpa’s but is mine now.

Homer

“Of course! Giving your time is one of the best things you can give!”

Homer was full of these big ideas of ways he wants to contribute to what he calls “the betterment of Sims everywhere in every dimension of digital time and digital space,” and I got to admit, it was mostly way beyond my comprehension. I was glad when Emma walked up.

Emma

“Dag, Jack.”

She was wearing–what was she wearing? And why was she wearing it?

Emma

“Emma. I don’t know what you want me to give, coming over dressed like that. I always thought we were more friends of the mind…”

Homer had to head over to the library to do some research, so Emma and I just stood around talking until the sun went down.

Emma

“I tell you, Emma, I feel like a new part of me is opening up and coming into the fore.”

I got to thinking later, after Emma strolled off to the park, about how much my life had changed since I arrived in this town not even a year ago. Back then, I hadn’t a skill, hadn’t a friend, hadn’t a book to my name.

Since then, I’ve published 16 books and mastered the art of writing. I’ve made around ten friends and a dozen more friendly acquaintances. I’ve got my cooking skills at about the halfway point, and my charisma is almost topped out, if I do say so myself. I’ve been on the receiving end of so much generosity and affection that something inside me has shifted, and I’m starting to feel like I want to reciprocate. And even more. I might even want to initiate.

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