Lighthouse: Sparks of Dream

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I arrived with the moon rising over the valley. Early the next morning, I’d head up to the back country, where Santi waited with Ritu’s friend. At the mountain cabin, I had plenty of time to think.

I’d brought my journal to occupy the evening, and I let my thoughts return to Momo’s visit. Something in my awoke when I saw her with her family, and I itched to discover what it was.

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We’d been relaxing over late morning coffee while Elui scoured websites for anything that might lead him to David.

“Anything promising?” Sept asked Elui.

“Here’s some anti-Newcrest posts,” Elui said. “Might be something David would be interested in.”

We heard a knock at the door. An extra-terrestrial child, light-skinned, like Sept, stood on the porch.

“Sept?” I asked. “Are you expecting family?”

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The girl introduced herself as Alma Mori, Momo’s daughter.

“Are you Octy?” she asked Sept. “I thought he was little like me.”

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“He is about your size!” Sept said. “I’m his brother!”

She took us out to meet the rest of the family, and Momo explained they were delivering Octy’s new dog.

“We have so many dogs already!” said Alma. “Our dog had pups, and now they’re grown! And so we’re finding homes for them!”

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Momo said she wanted to talk with Sept and “the other one” before we took them to Seb and Octy’s.

She had a focused look, and I wondered if she was scanning Elui and Sept. Sept had never mentioned Momo to me, but I had the impression they knew each other, that she was one of the 144.

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“Momo!” he said, when he saw her.

“You remembered!” she said.

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“Of course!”

He told me later that she was one of the first ones to sing back. She’d been on the ship. The man who adopted her had other extra-terrestrial children. She had a good upbringing, Sept said, with so many siblings. “She was never lonely, like I was,” he said. “She was surrounded with big brothers and sisters.”

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I could see her supportive upbringing in the way she carried herself, with confident grace. She looked like never questioned if she belonged here.

I looked in on Elui.

“We have visitors!” I said.

“I know,” he replied.

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He greeted her with a complex series of hand gestures. Sept explained later it was a cultural greeting. They’d all been taught it as toddlers, as well as taught that it was only to be shared within their group, as a way of acknowledging connectedness.

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“I can’t believe I still remember that!” Momo said.

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“I’m glad you’re here,” Sept said.

“I am, too,” she replied. “I didn’t even think we’d meet you! I was going to tell Octy and your dad to be sure to give you a big hello. I never thought I’d be able to do it myself, in person.”

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Though this was the first time the three had been together since their adoption, they conversed and moved in that way that close friends and family do, with belonging.

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Elui filled Momo in on his current search for David and the leads he’d found, and she listened with all of her being. I was beginning to realize that extra-Ts, at least those like Sept, Momo, and Elui, hear on multiple levels, all the time.

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The subtle communication of thought, feeling, emotion, visualization, even bio-chemistry, are continuously broadcast and received when they are together.

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This redefines privacy and precludes secrecy. I have a feeling that, though many people might claim to want that level of transparency, few would be willing to be as honest and vulnerable as being without mask requires.

But the riches this type of sharing nurtures!  They seem to naturally fall into the deep connection that so many of us, on this planet, at least, long for.

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After the three caught up with each other, we all walked over to Seb and Octy’s.

Lemon was a beautiful dog, sweet-natured and extremely intelligent.

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I always wondered if she was an extra-T. She had an other-worldly quality. It wasn’t just in her mismatched eyes, but in her bright look. Sept said she communicated telepathically with him.

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If she was an extra-T dog, she wasn’t the first.

Mop, the pup Octy’s mother gave him, certainly was no breed from this planet. Mop had grown into a very unusual dog, with huge paws, a funny coiled tail, big mule-deer ears, and a squeaky soprano bark.

She came from a planet called Pu!’Re, where eleven moons reflect the light of the distant, dim sun. The people who inhabit the planet are pale cave-dwellers, roaming the dark forests and meadows to gather food. Through their physical connections with the plants, rocks, and wild creatures, they commune with the spirits of the natural world. For them, physical harmony is the highest good. Pu!’Re boskobo, like Mop, are considered messengers of the deities.

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Octy simply considered Mop his best friend.

Of course, the moment he met Lemon, he had two best friends

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I had begun to suspect that other extra-terrestrial boskobo had somehow come to or been dropped off at this planet. There was a red and white dog we met on the boardwalk who also had an intelligent gaze, and I’ve never seen a dog from around here with fur like that.

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Sebastion was thrilled with Lemon.

“She’s beautiful!” he said. “Are you sure you want to give her away?”

Momo assured him that it would be for the best, considering their crowded home.

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Seeing Momo and her family affected me more than I would have imagined. I suppose my heart still hurt from my father and mother disowning me. We’d never been that close, and I always knew that their values weren’t what I wanted for myself, but still, I felt I belonged with and to them, in some way, even as I struggled to break free.

Seb’s house was full with all of family, and the kitchen rang with laughter, singing, jokes–even little Winter Mori’s temper tantrum. It felt like a home should feel.

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I found I missed that feeling of belonging to a tribe, if I ever had it, and maybe I missed it all the more, for never having had it.

Of course Sept and I belonged with each other–I always felt how he found home in me. But in those moments when I was deeply honest with myself back then, I realized that, while I brought home to him, I myself didn’t feel I belonged–not when I saw him with Octy or Seb, not when I saw him with the pagotogo, not when I saw him with Manny or Whisper, and not when I saw Momo with her family.

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I could almost see the lines of affection that connected Momo to Ayaka to Alma to Winter. When one moved, it was as if the other sensed it.

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Ayaka, Momo’s wife, was from here, and she held an integral point in the family. She sparked a hope in me that maybe I could, too, someday. Maybe I could feel a child’s needs before she felt them, and be there with the hug, or glass of juice, or word of encouragement that she needed.

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I wanted that. I wanted freedom and independence–and I had them. But I also wanted, as a free and independent being, the invisible strings of family love to connect me to others.

Early the next morning, as I warmed myself by the fire, I let myself feel the depth of this longing as fully as I could. As each spark rose, I imagined it carrying my dreams of family, my dreams for community, my thirst for a tribe. Let these sparks fly!

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Author’s Note: Many thanks to Xantheanmar for sharing Elui with our story. You can learn more about him at  Potatoes and Carrots by Xantheanmar. And big thanks to Kira for letting Lemon come live with Seb, Octy, Mop, and the baby! I’m so happy that Momo and her family brought her, too! You can learn more about this lovely family at KK’s Sim Stories.

Three Rivers 28.1

Twenty-eighth Sim of Thirty Sims at Three Rivers

AN: Nash Downing and his daughters, Nathalie and Ruby, are another beautiful game-generated family. They live in a gorgeous home by Pronterus in Willow Creek.

28. No one suspects his hidden power

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Nash Downing knew from childhood that the thread of his life would be snipped abruptly while he was young. He nearly died in college, when he contracted a staph infection after scraping his shin on a moldy board. He survived, though the infection reached his liver and turned his eyes yellow.

A year later, returning from a party late one night, he rode his bike alongside a tall embankment. He saw two headlights bearing down on him, with no room for him to swerve, and then it went black.

It was over. He had no idea how long he was in the blackness. He felt a gentle hand on each shoulder, spreading warmth like the sun.

He was on his bike again, with the car nowhere in sight. It was still night, still dark, and he was on his bike, riding home. He couldn’t piece together what had happened; he didn’t know to feel gratitude. The severance was that complete. When he pulled his bike into the garage, he remembered he was returning from a party. But who he’d met or what he’d done was lost.

He looked in the mirror: his sclera were white again.

After that point, memories of his early youth felt distant, like events that had happened to a character in a novel. His existing relationships, even with family members, lost their relevance. Friendships faded. Nothing old seemed real.

When he met Claire, he felt the first semblance of connection since that night. Her hands felt warm when she touched him.

His life fell into place when they married. They had a daughter and adopted her niece, who’d been orphaned as an infant.

When the girls were ten, Claire died of cancer.

“You’ll still be able to talk to me,” Claire told him on her deathbed. “And I’ll answer. I’ll be with you always, and watching over the girls. I’ll help you with your angel work.”

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He didn’t know what she meant. She must be delirious, right? But now it was six years later, and she was with him always. They spoke often. Though it was hard to admit to himself, he was beginning to understand his truth.

His work was simple and rewarding, as long as he didn’t expect anything reciprocal or personal. He was a friend to others, and few were friends to him. He helped others, and few stepped up to help him, except for his wife, who, good to her word, was with him always. Through her, angels spoke, and so, he was never alone. Even in his loneliest hours, he was surrounded by love.

His work, which he called “angeling,” was often as simple as grilling a meal at the park so the hungry could eat.

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Sometimes, no words were needed. Companionship was often enough and brought peace to the lonely or confused.

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He had learned, through time, to listen before marking a job complete. Sometimes, the instructions said to do more.

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On an afternoon when he shared a meal with Sebastian Rhine, who’d been camping out at Oasis Springs National Park, he was told to reach out.

“Talk to him,” he heard. “He is not right, at the moment, but talk to him, and he will be.”

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“Living like a lily, are you?” He asked Sebastian.

“Like a lily of the field?” Sebastian asked.

“Exactly.”

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“But a lily of the field has her needs met,” said Sebastian. “And me. I’ve been forgotten. By God and everybody.”

“Not so,” said Nash. “What did you want today, huh, brother?”

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“Food,” Sebastian said. “I was so hungry. I just had an old burger yesterday. That was all. And a coke. I drank water from the faucet, but I was hungry.”

“And now?”

“I’m full! And can I take the other potatoes with me?”

“You can!” Nash said.

“I wanted someone to talk to, too,” said Sebastian.

“A friend?” asked Nash.

“Yeah! A friend.”

“You have one now,” said Nash. He gave his card to Sebastian. “You can call or drop by anytime. You need a friend? You’ve got one, brother.”

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Sebastian pointed at Alec Dolan, who was approaching the picnic area.

“There’s my other friend,” said Sebastian. “He’s the guy who’s getting me free Wi-Fi.”

“What do you need with free Wi-Fi?” Nash asked.

“Don’t know,” said Sebastian. “Do you got a device? I don’t got a device. Do I need Wi-Fi? I need a shower.”

“There’s a free shower in that brick building over there,” Nash said.

“Sebastian!” said Alec. “Have you registered to vote yet? How is the day, Nash, mon ami?”

“Sun’s shining,” Nash said. “People are being fed. Can’t get much better than that.”

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Alec couldn’t linger. “Alors! Get out the vote,” he said, as he walked towards the park center, where he was scheduled to speak at a rally.

Nash had a few more stops that day. He often didn’t know what he’d be asked to do, but he could feel when his work for the day was complete, and when there was more. Today, he felt there was a little bit more.

He walked through a neighborhood in Oasis Springs and ran into Rachael Stanley.

“I took your advice!” she said. “I bought the expensive paints! I even bought caseins! Oh, they smell like milk. And they spread like butter!”

“And the paintings?” he asked.

“They–they feel like me!” she said. “Thank you, Nash.”

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He felt a little high when she left. Thanks were few and far between. Often, when he did his work right, he’d lose connection with the person, once the job was done. And sometimes, he’d receive curses, rather than thanks, even when he’d done what had needed to be done. But this was something rare: a thank you, and every indication that the connection would remain.

“You look happy!” said a young woman who was walking past.

“It’s a beautiful day,” he said.

And she smiled, too, a genuine smile.

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When he had the sidewalk to himself, he felt his wings unfurl. He only let them out when he was alone and when his happiness was so great that he needed to feel his power stretch and breathe.

It was getting dark when he arrived home. His daughter Ruby had grilled a plate of fruit, and Nathalie, having just finished her homework, was coming out to join them for the evening meal.

These were the true angels, he thought.

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He never spoke to them about his truth, his work, his conversations with Claire and the other angels. These are not things one talks about.

He wondered, sometimes, if Claire spoke with them. He knew the angels did, for his daughters, they were goodness through and through.

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They didn’t seem to share his task of helping those strangers who crossed paths. The girls had the task of helping each other and helping him.

The universe is taut with invisible lines. If you listen, you can hear angel voices speeding through them. If you look, you might catch a flicker of light. It’s thought. It’s feeling. It’s a whisper of love that travels the line, lighting it up like gossamer in sunlight. It’s here. It’s gone. But the message remains. Listen. Look. We are never alone.

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