Early in the morning on Alder’s birthday, Redbud took a moment to pause for gratitude, acceptance, and letting go.
On this day, her twin brother was choosing to go ahead with elderspin.
If she hadn’t taken her aunts’ path, she, too, would be spinning into elderhood today.
But she was choosing the glutton’s way: more life.
She knew, in her heart of hearts, that she wished her brother would choose this way, too. It was a selfish wish, and it wasn’t hers to make. Sugar had taught her that each Sim makes that decision for him or herself. “What’s right for me,” Sugar often said, “might not be right for someone else.”
Red knew this was true. She respected Alder’s brave choice of a different kind of experience–variety, over the sustained.
She knew that he was well aware of the cost of this choice for him. But she didn’t know if he understood what his choice would cost her. She was selfish to want him to be around for all of her lifetime, she knew that. But it still hurt to think that he was spinning closer to that great transformation that the hooded one brings.
Sugar, who understands better what that great transformation really means, coordinated the birthday party as an expression of her joy and celebration. She invited the Park Boys, of course.
The family gathered at the bar, overlooking the canyon.
“Your adult birthday’s just around the corner,” Alder said to Tomas. “You decided which route you’re taking?”
“I got that potion burning a hole in my inventory,” Tomas replied, “but I think I’m gonna let it burn. I’m thinking of going your way.”
Clarence and Jamie each congratulated Red.
“Just think,” Clarence whispered. “This could’ve been your day to become old!”
“Red would never grow old,” Jamie said, wistfully. “Even if she took elderspin, she’d remain youthful until the end.”
It won’t be long before the Park Boys have their last birthdays.
Liliana was there to blow the horn when Alder made his birthday wish.
And J.P. belted out the birthday song! “Aboo day, aboo!”
The birthday rockets were so exciting that J.P. wished every day might be a birthday!
Alder, more handsome than ever, gained a twinkle in his eye.
After the party was over, and the dishes were cleaned up, Alder went out to the courtyard to paint, alone, the way he liked it best. When he was with others, he often just felt mean inside, and it took all his reserves to keep from lashing out, and sometimes, even that wasn’t enough. But when he was alone, he could settle into silence. And then, his thoughts took on a new quality–they weren’t arising in reaction to others. Instead, they seemed to arise from the depths within him. And what these deep thoughts carried with them felt to him a little like wisdom. Or at least, like insights worth listening to.
You know the secret of the butterfly, right? Alder thought as he looked at the masterpiece he just finished painting. It’s transformation.