Janie: “Do you think your mommy would like vanilla cake or chocolate cake?”
B: “Blue cake!”
Janie: “Blue cake?? …well, okay then. You’re the boss, Miss B.”
It is a difficult reality, when you realize that your significant other is much older than you. Just a few months after I became an adult, Candy was becoming an elder. I wasn’t overly worried—she was vital and healthy, still in the prime of her life by all accounts. And she was as cheerful about it as ever. But it was giving me flashbacks to my mother’s life—and nightmares about traumatic deaths and being haunted by ghosts.
Of course, I knew that my relationship with Candy and my relationship with my mother were very different. In fundamental ways, obviously. But also in that I had changed substantially. With my mother, I was just a disappointment. With Candy, I was a functional member of society—I had a job, I was running a club, and I was supporting my family. I wouldn’t call it a balanced or fulfilling life, not yet. But I was working in that direction. And, for the moment, I wasn’t disappointing anyone.
Candy: “Janie, this cake is gorgeous! It’s blue!”
Janie: “All B’s idea. We’re raising a smart kid.”
Candy: “Thanks, you guys. This has been a great day!”
I won’t say I was haunted by the idea of Candy’s aging (and my own lack of invisibility as a result), but I will say that, after Candy’s birthday, I put a bit more effort into my own fitness.
Janie: “Pushing it to the limit.”
I also focused on making sure that I did the best I could, in work and in my social life, so that I would have no regrets in my older years. My mother had been fraught with regrets—I wanted to be as fulfilled as possible.
Janie: “My manager should be impressed with my improved skills! I’ve nearly mastered the violin!”
And what was the key to that fulfillment (at least as far as I saw it)? Music. Not because it helped with my job. But because the club that Sophie had given me the idea to make was going to round out my life. I would be able to be as social and as fun as I had always been, but in a more respectable way. And, finally, my multitudes of friends would be of use to me. Because this club was for my benefit. So it would be all about me—the people who entered would have to be worthy.
Janie: “You know what? This would be a pretty nice club hangout.”
And what defined a worthy sim? Well, the club was all about me (literally, that was the name of the club—All About Me), and I was all about music and making friends. So the sims who could enter had to be skilled at playing an instrument, being a DJ, or dancing. And they had to be music-lovers. Or, at least, creative.
I deserved to be picky, you know? This is what the entirety of my early social life had been working towards, after all—having a ton of friends from which I could pick and choose.
Janie: “It’s nice to see you, Sophie!”
Of course, I had a few early choices.
But selecting other worthy sims? Not as easy as I had hoped.
Janie: “Hey, you good at the violin?”
Derek: “Nope. It’d be fun to learn, though!”
Janie: “Eh. Nevermind.”
Janie: “Maybe some violin playing will draw the worthy sims to me?”
I must say, it was a very good thing that I had started All About Me, even if I had a bit of trouble recruiting in the beginning. Because I loved my family—I really did. If course I did! But, sometimes you were a bit much to handle, B.
Of course, you would occasionally do your work.
But you would then use those occasional instances as reason not to do your homework the rest of the time.
Janie: “B! It’s close to bedtime! Time to settle down and study!”
B: “I studied last week, Mom!”
Janie: “How are your grades?”
B: “They’re fine. You saw me do my homework a couple days ago; of course they’re fine.”
I wanted to ensure that you had a successful school career, of course. But, I remember what it was like when I was child, when my mother smothered me with her attempts to get me to do my work. It did less than nothing—in fact, in made me want to do my homework less. I figured that you would do your homework when you wanted to do your homework, and nothing I could say would make it more appealing to you.
Janie: “B! If you come in and do your homework now, I’ll let you have ice cream!”
I wasn’t stupid. I knew the language of the rambunctious scamp.
Janie: “Love, did you hear that B has a B?”
Now, I adored Candy. I really did. But she didn’t really do that much to help with your parenting. She tended to stick to the sidelines, focusing on her career over our family.
But, I could really begrudge her that focus. I was turning my focus more towards the club, after all. And I’m sure she needed an outlet as well.
There may or may not have been a relationship between the hours when Candy liked to play the violin (unfortunately poorly) and when I held my club meetings… If there was anything in that house I needed to escape…
To be fair, she was getting better. Much improved from when I first heard her. Even so? Kind of like hearing nails on a chalkboard, rather than listening to music.
Not that it was much better at the club. Apparently my standards weren’t high enough.
I couldn’t take it. I walked right up to her.
Janie: “I love you, honey. But I’m kicking you out of the club.”
People were… less than happy with this. “But I want to learn,” they would say. “But I’m getting better,” they would say.
Not good enough. Like I said, I had high standards. And if I had a couple fewer friends because of it? Well, it didn’t bother me that much. Really, who cares?
I had all the friends I needed.
Candy: “Could I join your club, Janie?”
Janie: “Really? Are you sure you want to? It doesn’t really seem like your scene.”
Candy: “Yeah! I mean, it’s a club for musicians, right? And I’m a musician…”
There was no way I could tell her that I was kicking people out who weren’t good enough… But would that mean that I would have to re-invite the people I’d kicked out?? Dammit. What to do, what to do… It would get rid of my sanctuary!
Janie: “Well… I don’t know if you’d really get along with everyone…”
Candy: “Yeah, I guess…”
Whoo! Dodged a bullet on that one!
Or so I thought…
I went to the next club meeting, Candy’s loud violin screeching still ringing in my ears. I was ready for a nice, relaxing evening of beautiful music and nice company. Maybe a little drinking and dancing, as the evening went on.
Janie: “I guess it’s just me playing tonight…”
This wasn’t what I had wanted. All I could think about was Candy, sitting home alone, screeching to herself or fooling around with games on the computer, waiting for me to come home. All I could think of was the group of club members, sitting off to the side, continuing to decline my invitation to join me in playing music. Maybe they were just happy to listening to my playing?
But no. I knew the truth. They were intimidated. They knew that, the second they played, if it wasn’t to my standard, they would be kicked out of the club.
Ugh. Stupid Candy and her stupid good influence making me have stupid morals and introspection.
I called Candy.
Janie: “Hey, love. You know what, I asked the group, and they think they’d get along with you swimmingly. You wanna join us as at Break Down?”
It hadn’t felt right, anyway, being in our place with Candy.
She started to play. And yes, it was bad. But, with Candy’s less than perfect playing, the other club members looked up. With a raised eyebrow, they looked at me, as if expecting that I would immediately chastise my wife for playing so poorly.
But no. Stupid, stupid morals.
Janie: “I’m sorry, hun. I’ve just been having a stressful couple of days at work. But, if you’d like to rejoin the club? I could even teach you…?”
Janie: “I guess they’ll get better…? I have to start teaching them soon… before my head explodes.”