Playable: Where the River Flows

Nicola McKnight


I do my best thinking while washing dishes.

I have not yet found love. My attraction flows toward others, those who are receptive to my gestures, those who find themselves pulled by my current. I am open to love, and I am not in a hurry.


“It is what it is, right?”

I felt that my love might flow towards Mr. Gizmo, the charming red-head who caught my flirts and told me he felt me in the spot where he beats 60-70 times per minute.

But during an interim while our house was not being played, he and I fell out of love as smoothly as it seemed we were falling into it.

My love could, possibly, perhaps, maybe flow towards Ashton, who, initially, didn’t have the time to dally, but who now waits for me daily.


“You look nice behind a rose petal.”

With him, this pink sliver of possibility happened on its own, during another unplayed interim. These autonomous romances are the most true, or so I’ve heard say. But perhaps they are simply circumstantial. I am unplayed, and no one is there to censor my flirtations before I act on them.

Ashton is romantic, like I am. He is also clumsy and cheerful. I don’t mind clumsy. In a motherlode world, we can absorb the cost of broken dishes.


He really does think life is all that great. I almost believe him when I’m with him.

I enjoy his romantic nature, but I find his cheerful lack of discretion off-putting. Few things are less romantic to me than public displays of affection in a group setting, and that’s what Ashton has fallen into several times.


He even flirts when Paula’s right there through the arch, in the kitchen.

Give me a rose when we are alone. When we’re with others, it’s the demonstration of your respect that I crave.

He enjoys my romantic nature, but my perfectionism is off-putting to him.


Plus, we were never alone. My room-mates were always home, or Kobe or somebody was stopping by to visit.

I don’t know that we can build a lasting raft of our romantic natures alone.

I’m pulled to fully explore this energy within me, fueled by romance and desire. I’ve moved into my own house, the empty place across the street from our old Victorian.


It’s a perfect house. Right on the pond and right across from the girls’ house.

I can gaze out the front windows onto that big, lush home where my friends live. We can just cross the street to visit every day.


I like knowing I can keep an eye on the old house right from my front porch.

And I now have my own place where lovers can come, and we can exchange attentions in the privacy of my home.


“Ashton, it’s nice to dance with you in my own living room.”

And yet. Ashton and I still find ourselves feeling awkward with each other.


“There’s no one watching, Ash. We’re alone here.”

Kobe still comes over every day. He and I feel something for each other, without a doubt. I’m not sure if he wants to actualize what we feel, though. Sometimes I get the impression that he’s happy to share his romantic side with this married woman, Mrs. Gillis, because then he can keep all these feelings within him inside of strict boundaries. With me, the dam would burst.


“It takes a perfectionist to know one, Kobe!”

I met Quentin the other morning while talking with Ahmad on the sidewalk. I felt him pulled towards me by my current, and soon he was like a leaf in the stream.


He has this kind way of listening to me, like he’s not in a hurry. 

I woke with a whim to become his friend. One thing led to another. I like the way he looks at me. He never stops looking at me, even while he’s watching tv. Even while I’m napping on the couch.


“Nicola! I like your tv! The resolution is so clear!”

I’ve only known him 24 Sim hours. We’re good friends already, and lovebirds, too. I became friends with him quicker than with anyone else. I don’t know if my feeling that this might be something is accurate, or if this, too, will be a stream that empties onto the floodplain, only to irrigate the ranunculus.

And I don’t care.

I’m still such good friends with Maya and Paula. I’m hoping maybe with me out of the house, Paula might be able to own up to her own feelings towards Maya. They’ve become BFFs, but I have the feeling they both want to become something more. We’re all still good friends, and we see each other every day, but it’s less complicated, I hope, for Maya and Paula if I’m living across the street, rather than right there.


“Let’s commemorate your first visit as our neighbor!”

By following this river, I’m learning more about myself. I may be romantic, looking for a soul mate to fill that aspiration itch, but I am also a perfectionist. I want love to be as ideal as it can possibly be.

It’s not a contradiction to be fully at home with the pleasurable sensations that my body leads me to while simultaneously seeking to bring those pleasures to perfection.


I love this feeling of sun and morning air!

I am at home with all of myself, every aspect–my sensuality, my discernment, my love of this material world.

This world, and all the beautiful things in it that bring us so much pleasure, this is where I find the divine.

It’s not through ideas or talking or silence, but through the feelings inside of me–through feeling alive, feeling that river rise through me and settle in that singular point, feeling the pleasure of sun on my skin, grass beneath my feet, cool breeze, the joys of a beautiful home, the pleasure of my body moving in music. This is spirit to me–that point of life that feels so sweet.


I’ll always remember what I’m learning through dance.

I have no hurry now. Our player has turned off aging. She touches me with a light hand, following the direction in which I flow, rather than directing me. We have plenty of time, and I am the guide of my new experience. I am no longer an NPC gardener, scurrying through the played game of another CAS legacy founder, abandoned of all hope for achieving anything of anything that matters to me.

We have time. I can ease into the pleasures of courtship, letting my perfectionism steer my own romantic nature while I explore the exquisite pleasures of living somewhere that is beginning to feel remarkably like paradise to me.

Even yearning brings with it a pleasure nearly divine.


I haven’t found love, but like a February rain cloud crossing the Sierras for Sonora, I’ve discovered the pleasure of patience.