Kiana, for that’s the name she decided to use professionally, discovered with delight that she loved her work. For the most part, she only had to communicate with her clients and contracting agency through email, chat, or text, and that suited her just fine. She didn’t always understand exactly what her clients asked for in their project descriptions, but she was good at guessing, and when she guessed wrong, they always gave her the opportunity to revise her work and resubmit it.
She got to choose which projects to accept, how quickly to complete them (as long as she met their more-than-generous deadlines), and when to accept a new job. In this style, she earned enough to pay a month’s rent, bills, and groceries in the first week, and she even had some income leftover for furniture. It was going to work out, and she was having fun.
For the first time, possibly ever, she had ample time for her own art, too, because she wasn’t on a soccer team, she didn’t have to study, and there was no homework. She had autonomy, and it made her feel that she could do almost anything.
She even had time to explore the city a bit.
One afternoon, heading to the Spice Festival, she felt Case’s presence so strongly. Rarely had he ever been sad in his life, but when she felt him, she felt, in addition to his usual warmth, a new heaviness. Was it regret?
“It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way,” she felt him say. “I wanted to leave you everything. It was all for you. Everything I did was for you.”
“It’s OK,” she assured him. She explained about the apartment, and how, now that she was getting furniture and had almost saved up for new appliances and counters, it was a pretty cool place to live. She told him how much she loved her work, how good at it she was, how the bonuses kept rolling in, how she was going to make it just fine, and then some.
“Plus,” she added, “Now I know I can do it! I can’t even express how that makes me feel. To know I can make it in life.”
She felt Case’s spirit grow bright, and she felt the pride he had in her. He really had given her everything she needed.
She wanted to tell him that, too, but by the time she formulated the thought into words, his spirit had left, and she wandered the city on her own again.
And the neat thing about living in a city is that even if you’re on your own, you’re never really alone. There’s always someone to talk to.
If she ever felt lonely or just wanted company, all she had to do was wander down to the courtyard in her district. There were food booths, street musicians, people walking, folks sitting and hanging out. It was even better than the college campus, because these people all seemed to have time, and not a lot of stress.
The people she met, without fail, were interesting, too. Kiana actually felt like she was kind of the normal one, which was nice, for a change.
And it was beautiful. There were views every way she turned, city art installations, twisting walkways through gardens, and over it all, an amazing sky that reached from city to country to mountain to sea.
It hadn’t taken long for Kiana to discover that her new life suited her very well.