Twenty-seventh Sim of Thirty Sims at Three Rivers
AN: Herbert Frederick, game-generated Sim, lives in another beautiful TheKalinotr0n home!
An expressive face isn’t always a blessing. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve! But Herbert Frederick had learned to make it work for him. If a glance at his face revealed to the world how he felt, then he would use his transparency as a strength.
If you could hide nothing, then you might as well have nothing to hide!
He found it easy to make friends. A joke, a smile, and even the saddest looking man would return a gleeful grin.
“Do you realize what today is?” he asked his new friend Nash Downing. “It is National Three Rivers Garden Day! So I planted my garden.”
“Really?” asked Nash.
“No, of course not,” Herbert confessed.
As he remembered the conversation, he had to smirk. Surely Nash had been able to see right through him, and his joke had fallen flat.
“But I did plant my garden today,” Herbert had continued.
“A garden is a blessing,” said Nash. “Each seed planted makes a fairy smile!”
“I am not so certain that fairies are scientific,” said Herbert, “and my garden is nothing if not scientific.”
“Now hold on a sec,” Nash said. “There’s science, and there’s mystery, and the two, while possibly mutually exclusive, are not necessarily mutually inconceivable, if one takes into account the multi-layered nature of existence.”
The multi-layered nature of existence wasn’t really something that Herbert had pondered much before, but as he thought about it that evening, he had to chuckle. He’d loved fairy tales as a child. Suppose that what Nash said was true. That might mean that perhaps, as one grew up, one needn’t discard the magic of fairies, elves, dragons, trolls, and witches.
He did love the complexity of a world that could contain witches.
Herbert and Alysia had been seeing each other for a while. The more he knew her, the more he loved her. He was glad he could hide nothing from her. Looking at her, he couldn’t always be sure exactly how she felt. Just as well that one of them were simple, when the other was complex.
She called him up for a date. The timing was perfect. He’d been thinking about her more than usual the past few days. She was his girlfriend, and he was beginning to wonder if he were ready to take it to the next level.
As soon as they were seated in their booth in the diner, Alysia let loose with a litany of worries.
“I haven’t seen you for a few days,” she said. “Do you even think of me when we’re not together? Are you serious about our relationship? I worry sometimes that you might want to see someone else. I mean, I’m not the most attractive woman. I could stand to lose a few pounds.”
He never knew how to respond to her when she talked like that. She was beautiful to him. She drove him crazy. Whenever they were together, he wanted to find someplace private–any place, a hedgerow, a storage closet, a basement–and do wild things with her. He thought she could tell this from looking at him. Couldn’t everyone always read his face?
During their date at the diner, he looked across the room where a grey-haired couple sat together. They looked so content and peaceful. He wanted that. He wanted that with Alysia.
“Look at them,” he said, nodding across the room to the older couple. “Do you think, maybe, in thirty years, that could be us?”
“Oh! I’d never let myself go gray,” she laughed. “I’d have henna-colored hair! And you! You’d have a big white afro!”
They laughed, and then, as their laughter faded, they watched the couple talk.
“I like the way he looks at her,” Alysia said. “Are you really trying to tell me that you want to look at me like that when we’re old and gray?”
As he recalled the conversation, Herbert remembered the strength of his feeling. Perhaps this is the feeling of intent, he thought. It was what he wanted, to grow old and happy and gray with Alysia. He closed his eyes and focused on that dream, as if seeing it could make it so.
She had laughed then, and it was one of those rare moments when she forgot every worry, and, like him, she was simple again. They were like two children, borrowing from the piggy bank for an ice cream sundae after school.
It wasn’t always like that. Herbert wasn’t sure that he wanted it to be. Simple pleasures were divine, certainly, but wasn’t part of what drew him to Alysia that she had so many mysteries for him to uncover? He wondered if living with her day after day, year after year, he would ever know all of her. He wasn’t sure, but he thought that maybe he hoped not.
In the other corner of the diner, Alec Dolan sat with a scowl on his face. Now part of Herbert’s own gift of transparency allowed him to sometimes understand the feelings of others. All he had to do was match their expression and he knew exactly how they felt. Alec Dolan was angry.
He wondered what might anger the Green Party candidate.
“Have there been any scandals?” he asked Alysia.
“What?” she replied, in a shocked voice.
“Political scandals,” he nodded in Alec’s direction.
“Oh. You mean with the Greens? There’s talk about them partnering with the Conservatives, and Alec denies it but Huntington affirms it, then Alec affirms it and Huntington denies it. It’s all pretty ridiculous. But not really scandalous. Just normal confusion.”
A short while later, the Green Party candidate strolled up to their table. If he was still seething inside, his expression didn’t show it.
Unless Herbert looked really carefully.
“Excuse me,” said Alec.
Herbert, wanting to share his undivided attention with Alysia, ignored him.
“I am getting out the vote,” continued Alec. “You are registered voters, no? You have heard of the platform of the Greens, yes?”
Herbert kept his gaze on Alysia. Surely the politician would get a hint, wouldn’t he?
As he reflected on the intrusion, Herbert wondered if he should have been more direct. He had assumed it would be obvious that he and Alysia only had eyes for each other and that their date was leading up to something special.
But maybe, not everyone was good at reading faces. Perhaps he should have come right out and said,”Excuse me. We are in the middle of something,” and then, not to be rude, he could have given Alec his card and asked him to call him later. He did really want to give the Green Party a contribution to help with the upcoming election.
When Alec turned and headed back to his own table, Alysia and Herbert breathed sighs of relief.
“Alone at last!” Herbert said, and he was only half-way joking.
Before he told her that he had something important to ask her, something that he’d been thinking about and waiting to ask for a long time, Alec returned, carrying his glass of Merlot.
And just like that, the opportunity had slipped away. Alec stayed with them until they’d finished their dessert and it was time to pay the bill. The special memory hadn’t been made; instead, Herbert was left with the bad taste of a moment wasted.
Ah, well. No harm, no foul. It was another day.
He invited Alysia over for supper.
She looked so beautiful that he was sure he was grinning from ear to ear.
When at last he asked if she would become his wife, if she would let him be her husband, she replied without hesitation.
They would grow old together, but he was grateful now that he was young, for when she jumped into his arms, it took all the strength of his youthful back to hold her, and this was one memory he would want to keep forever.
When he set her down, and they stood face to face, fiancée to fiancé, he couldn’t see what she saw when she looked at him: but he didn’t need to. He knew that his feelings were written all over his face, and in that moment, he saw them mirrored in hers. Happy face.