The Sims of Silvery Bay

Silvery Bay is the neighborhood I created using The Sims 2. This is my log of the Prosperity Challenge.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Garand: The Last Hurrah!

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Title: The Last Hurrah!

Lot: Garand, Emmanuel
Max
25 Silver Vein Rd.


First Visit


When he'd applied to participate in the Prosperity Experiment, along with six other families, Manny had been thinking of how it would be his last hurrah. He'd lived a full life, had been married for 25 years to his first wife and had had a succession of romances since then with appropriate intervals of singlehood between each. He'd raised a wonderful son, Tom, with his wife and had seen him married off to a wonderful, beautiful woman, and soon after his wife had passed. Yes, he'd lived a life alot of folks would envy and some folks might consider "normal" or "average".

Now that he's in his golden years, Manny realized that he wanted one last adventure in life. Something to sort of commemorate his golden years. Of course, saying goodbye to his old golfing buddies and his son and daughter-in-law was hard, but it's not like he'd never had to say goodbye to Tom before. Saying goodbye to his grandson, Max, though was something completely different. After all, he was just getting interesting. Max was a very curious and active five year old boy who loved all the typical five year old boyish type things: catching frogs, learning to spit, playing with dogs, eating candy and watching firetrucks. He would have loved to stick around and see how this little guy turned out, but how could he resist a once in a lifetime opportunity like this? And who knew how much longer he had left, anyway? If he stayed here, he'd just end up being a burden to his son in his old age, once he was too feeble to take care of himself and wind up in a home. That wasn't Manny's idea of having a good time. And, Manny was the kind of guy who loved to have a good time. He enjoyed parties, get togethers, barbeques, and having his friends around all the time.

When he got his letter of acceptance into the sociological experiment, he thought to himself, It would be my last plane flight anywhere. Funny, he could remember all the times when it was the "first" time he'd done this or that. It was such a strange feeling now whenever he stopped to think, "This will be the LAST time I do...."

"That's when you know yer gittin' old, Bruthuh," he told himself. Just then the phone rang, interrupting his reverie.

"Hello," he answered cheerfully. What he heard next, shook him to the depths of his soul. He could hardly believe his ears. Was he sleeping? He pinched himself and realized, sadly, no, he was wide awake. His family had just been in a horrible car wreck and his son had been fatally injured. He felt a sob choke him as he asked about his daughter-in-law and grandson.

"Oh, God, please, please, let Max be alright. Please, don't take Phoebe from him. Oh, God, please," he whispered over and over as the nurse continued on in her professional drone. Thank God, they were alive. The nurse asked him to come down to the hospital to pick up Max, but they had to keep Phoebe for some tests.

"What kinds of tests?" Manny asked. The nurse politely explained that she couldn't say, since she could not breach doctor-patient confidentiality, but he would be able to talk to Phoebe when he picked up Max.

Manny jumped in the car, right away, and sped off toward the hospital. He was only barely aware of his driving. All he could think of was his beautiful son, Tom, barely 30, broken and bleeding to death on the highway. Tears blurred his vision as the shock of it all began to envelope him. They had to have the wrong guy. When he got to the hospital, he'd straighten it all out. His son was a very good driver. H'ed never even had a speeding ticket. Of course, it wasn't him. It was just a case of mistaken identity. What did they think they were doing? Didn't they know that he was an old man and news like this could kill a body? Fools. They probably didn't even check his ID. Things like that happened all the time.

By the time, Manny parked in the hospital car lot he was feeling much better, except for the butterflies fluttering around in his gut, and the sob stuck in his throat. He'd convinced himself that everyone was fine and he'd just have to politely inform the staff that they were simply wrong about his son. It was 2pm after all. Tom worked until 5pm every evening and it took an hour for him to get home from work, with all the traffic. He was an architect at a prestigious firm downtown. And, as a matter of fact, he was going to be made partner in another month.

"I'm Emmanuel Garand," he announced to the harried looking nurse behind the tall desk in the emergency room.

"You folks called me about my family, Tom, Phoebe and Max Garand,"he began to explain quickly," but I'm sure there must be some mistake. You see-"

"There's no mistake, Mr. Garand," the nurse firmly interrupted him. She gave Manny a pitiful look.

Manny didn't want to hear that, so he tried to explain, "No, but you see, my son works for Peters and Law, they're an architectural firm downtown and I'm sure if you call down there..." The nurse had gently grabbed him by the arm and was leading him down the hallway as he talked. He hadn't been paying any attention, until just now. Lying there on a stretcher in the triage room was his son's body. It was cleaned up, now, and there was no mistaking that the young man laying there was his bright, intelligent, enthusiastic son.

"What?! No!!" Manny protested, but the nurse just stood there, facing him.

"I'll give you a moment alone with your son, before I take you to your grandson. Take your time, Mr. Garand, because Max is in good hands," she said, softly.

Manny stood over his son's body for a moment, before he began to sob. It was as if a damn had burst. He couldn't breathe, like he'd been socked hard in the chest. That was his baby boy laying there. He couldn't comprehend how his son had ended up in here. How could this happen to his boy? He was a good boy. He'd always tried to do the right thing. Oh, of course there were the usual teen rebellions, a little drinking, a little pot and he got a D+ in math that one year. And of course, there were those times when he'd come home past curfew from a party, causing his mother to have a coniption imagining him in all kinds of trouble. But, didn't everyone go through those pangs while growing up? He'd never done anything to deserve this. Manny held his boy close to him, sobbing and rocking his lifeless body in his arms.

At long last he laid Tom down on the table and went to find a bathroom to clean himself up. He couldn't let Max see him like this. Suddenly he wondered how much Max understood of what was going on? They'd just celebrated his fifth birthday at the park a couple weeks ago.

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"Phoebe," he said aloud to himself. She was going to be devastated. Tom and Max were her whole life. Manny had never known a woman more loving and nurturing of her family than Phoebe. He wondered how she was taking it. He didn't have to wonder long. The nurse brought him in to see Phoebe, next.

Phoebe was tall, long legged, thin, and drop-dead gorgeous. She was often mistaken for a model or actress. Sims were often shocked to find out that she was "just" a wife and mother. But, she'd always set them straight, proudly. She'd always wanted to be a wife and mother, ever since she was a child. Her whole life had been centered around that dream. The week before her wedding, Phoebe had quit a lucrative position with her law firm. Her bosses were horrified. She'd been the brightest civil trial attorney they'd hired in a very long time. She definately had the potential for greatness and felt that she was throwing her life away. Phoebe didn't share their opinion. She felt that she was getting the life of her dreams. She was the type of woman who threw herself wholeheartedly into whatever she was doing. And, as a wife and mother she was the best there was at it. Her house was immaculate, she always had a wonderful dinner on the table, Max was well-cared for and had her attention one-hundred percent of the time. She knew what she wanted and she didn't take her life for granted.

Phoebe lay there, bruised, eyes red and skin blotchy from crying. Manny's heart broke all over again when he saw her. He fought hard to control the tears that wanted to escape down his cheeks.

"Hello, Beautiful Girl," he greeted her in his usual way, with a kiss on the cheek.

"Hi, Pop," she replied, choking back her own tears. "Did you...have you..."

"I saw him,"Manny replied. "I'm so sorry, Phoebe." He hugged her, gently, and could feel her wince with pain.

"What's wrong?" he asked her.

"I'm ok. I'm just really bruised. But, when they were running the tests, they found a mass at the base of my spine, so they want to run more tests-"

"A mass?" Manny asked. What did that mean? A mass. Sims usually say that kind of thing when there's cancer. Harry McPherson had a mass and he had to go through chemo for a year and a half. Bev Ackleson had had a mass in her breast and they had to chop the whole, beautiful set right off. It was a shame too. Beautiful woman...it hadn't done any good. Even with the chemo, she was gone within two years. Masses were what all his friends, the guys and women his age, were finding. What is one of them doing in a young, vibrant sim, like Phoebe and what did that have to do with a car wreck?

"I have cancer, Pop. We didn't know. Remember a couple months ago when I thought I wrenched my back, helping Tom put up the swingset? Then, last week I thought I had the flu, but I still have the flu. I haven't had it this long before, so I thought maybe I was pregnant..." her voice trailed off. Manny could see she was exhausted from the shock and trauma.

"Don't worry about it, Kiddo. I'm going to take Max home with me tonight and I'll talk to the doctors. I'm sure they just want to make sure you're ok. We'll get this all straightened out, ok? You just take it easy and rest, now. I'll call you later on after they're done with their tests and check on you, ok? You don't worry about a thing, just concentrate on feeling better, for Max, ok? You know these doctors, they just like to scare you with alot of nonsense. You'll see. They'll do their tests and realize that it's nothing, Beautiful, ok?" Manny tried to reassure her. He didn't know what to say to her. He was in shock, too.

The nurse came in just then to shoo him out of the room. The Patient needed her rest, she had said. Manny wanted to snap at her, "The Patient has a name!" but instead he just asked where Max was and about his condition. Aside from a small cut above his eyebrow, Max was perfectly fine, licking a lollipop at the nurses' station. Finally, a spot of good news. Manny asked to speak to the doctor in charge.

After waiting what seemed like hours, but what was actually only about 15 minutes, the doctor came to speak with Manny. Manny was starting to feel like a punching bag, by now. It was blow after blow of bad news. During the course of running diagnostic tests, looking for the reason for Phoebe's severe back pain and fatigue, they'd found a large mass wrapped around her spinal column.

"You sure she's not just pregnant, Doctor?" Manny asked. As soon as he said it, he knew he sounded like an idiot. He just so wanted it to be something, anything...else. The doctor reassured him that Phoebe wasn't pregnant and continued on about the numerous tests they still wanted to run.

A mass of what?, Manny wondered, only half-able to listen to what the doctor was outlining to him. It was a tumor, and it wasn't the only one in her body, the doctor was saying. They'd found similar tumors in some of her organs. The cancer was wide spread. They wanted to keep her to find out how bad the cancer had spread. Once they found that out, they'd know better what they were dealing with. The doctor's voice seemed to fade away as Manny tried to listen to him. But, shock had taken over his whole mind and he just couldn't take in another horrifying word.

"How could things be worse than that?" He thought to himself, holding Max tightly. The tears threatened to spill over again. "Get ahold of yourself, Garand. You're the only lifeguard this kid's got right now."

"Hey, Sport. You hungry?" he asked Max. Max nodded, so Manny took him out to the car. "We'll go to Shermies for dinner, ok?"

"Yay!" Max yelled. Obviously, he hadn't registered that daddy wasn't coming too, yet. It'll hit him later, Manny thought, and then it'll hit hard, because Max was definately Daddy's Li'l Man....

Manny shifted in his seat, trying to adjust the seatbelt. They were getting ready to land the plane.

"You ready, Sport?" he asked his grandson, who was fidgeting in the seat next to him. Manny leaned over to tighten Max's seatbelt, too, but Max tightened it first. He was very independent and wanted to do everything for himself.

"Papa, I can't see!" Max complained, straining his neck to look , over his mother's sleeping body, out the window.

He glanced over at Phoebe who had just woke up, and smiled. She smiled back, checked her seat belt and fell back to sleep. Manny quickly suppressed a tear. He had to do that alot these days. They'd be at the new house in about an hour. Manny knew that Phoebe never would have been able to make this trip without the bagful of powerful narcotics in the doctor's bag he carried with him everywhere he went these days. Most Cancer patients didn't feel much, if any, pain, but because her cancer was on her spine, she was in constant, incredible pain from the pressure on her nerves. The drugs made life bearable, but also made her very drowsey. Manny smoothed back a lock of her braided hair. She sure was a tough chick. Tom had made the right choice in picking this girl for his wife, Manny told himself for the millionth time.

"Papa, how high are we right now? Will we feel it when we land? How big are the wheels?" Max's curiosity was insatiable. Before Manny could answer one question, two more were spilling out of his mouth. Manny stifled a chuckle. He knew that his grandson was very proud of being "big", now. Half the time it was all he could do to keep from completely cracking up at Max's attempts to be grown up. He took himself so seriously and wanted to know everything...right now!

"Don't kick," Manny scolded Max, gently, when Max's fidgety legs had flown off on their own volition and kicked his mother's knee. Max straightened out his legs until they were as stiff as boards and pretended that he was a robot for the rest of the flight.

Half an hour later, they were standing in the airport terminal, waiting for a lift in the shuttle to their rental car. Manny was anxious to get to their new house and settle Phoebe comfortably into bed. The sociologists had been really understanding about Manny bringing two extra sims with him. He didn't really care for the term they used to identify Phoebe, though. They called her a "Placeholder", since her condition was terminal. She didn't have much time left, so they didn't even bother to put her name on the registry of participants. This bothered Manny to no end.

At first, when Phoebe had insisted that Manny continue his plans to move to the island, Manny protested. It hadn't even entered his mind that he would still go, after the accident. The accident, in his mind, had changed everything. But, Phoebe had insisted that he go and bring Max with him. It would be a good experience for Max. And, Manny just couldn't miss out on such a unique opportunity. This kind of challenge didn't come along just every day, you know, she'd retorted, when he argued with her. With Phoebe it was always what was best for Max? What will stimulate Max? What would Max like? She didn't think enough about herself, Manny silently grumbled to himself.

"But, what about you?!" he'd asked her, incredulously. "If you think that I could just take off with your son and leave you to die alone, you're crazy, Woman! Those drugs have turned your brain to mush!"

"I'll come, too," she replied, stubbornly. She explained that she wanted Max to know that his Mommy was watching over him wherever he was and she planned to die on the island, so she could always be close to her son. Tom would agree with me, she had said, trying to sway Manny into going along with her crazy scheme.

"I must be nuts," Manny said out loud, looking over at Phoebe. She was white as a sheet. Her usual dark pigment was gone and if you didn't know her, you might think that she was going for that young goth look that so many of the kids were going for these days. He rolled his eyes.

Phoebe just smiled back at him. "Nah, you're just a sucker for a pretty face," she replied, cheekily, and smiled back at him.

"Ha!" Manny laughed, "Isn't that the truth!" They shared a chuckle and Phoebe flinched. She had a tumor behind her ribs, too, and it hurt every time she breathed, let alone laughed. She didn't have long, now. She could feel it. Once she knew that her son was settled in, she would let go. She just wanted to hear about his first day of school on the island. If only she could hold on long enough to have that one last memory. Then, he'd have that memory stashed away in his subconscious and have something to remember her for. She really didn't want his last memories of her to be of her sleeping. How boring would that be?

"Manny, make sure that he knows me," she pleaded.

"He knows you, Beautiful Girl. There's no question, he knows you. And I won't let him ever forget you," Manny promised, holding her hand.

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As soon as they pulled up to the curb in front of the house, Manny walked around the car to help Phoebe into the house. He sent Max ahead to turn on the heating pad, while he helped Phoebe out of the car. As soon as he laid her down in bed, she fell asleep. Poor girl, Manny thought. She was so tough and brave, but he could see how much pain she was in. Even with him carrying her into the house, it was like she could feel every jostle and bump of his footsteps over the cobbled brick walk and tears escaped through her tightly shut eyelids. She probably would've passed out if it hadn't been for the powerful drugs in her system, but maybe that would've been preferable to the pain?

"It's ok, Beautiful. We're here now. Just relax, sleep. You can let go whenever you want to," Manny whispered to her, as he pulled the covers up around her shoulders.

A few hours later, Manny brought Max into the bedroom to check on Phoebe. She loved being awakened with kisses from her little boy's soft, moist lips. But, she didn't wake up this time. Max looked up at Manny with wide, questioning eyes. Manny held her wrist lightly in his wrinkled fingers. He didn't feel her pulse.

"Your Mommy went to be with the angels, Max," Manny whispered. Max wrapped his little arms around Manny's neck and hugged him close. He didn't cry, out loud. He knew that this was going to happen. Mommy had told him lots of times about flying away with the angels.

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"Papa, how will she see where she's going?" he asked Manny.

"When you're an angel, you don't need your eyes to see, because you see everything with your heart," Manny replied.

"Where did Mommy go?"

"She didn't go very far. She told me that she was going to watch over you all the time, so I bet she's still right in this room with us. And, when you go in your room, she'll be ther with you. And she'll be wherever you are, every day, all the time, because she's in here, " Manny pointed to the little boy's chest, "and in here," he pointed to Maxes head. Tiny tears streamed down Max's face forming dirty little riverbeds on his cheeks.

"Is Mommy an angel, now?" asked Max.

Manny choked on the tears that threatened, mercilessly, to surface," Your mommy was already an angel. The angels were just letting us borrow her for awhile."

"I don't wnat her to fly away, yet. Why did she go so soon?"

"You know how you have to go to school when the bus comes to get you in the morning?" Max nodded, "Yes."

"Well, I think that's how it is when the angels come to get you. It's just time to go. I know that she would have stayed for you if she could, Sport." Max nodded again. Then, he went over to his mother's lifeless body and held her hand as he looked out the window.

2 Comments:

  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger ASimWen said…

    OOhh how sad. *tear*

     
  • At 5:19 AM, Blogger skylark said…

    I almost cried...

    and I'm in a computer lab with other people!

    Must hold together....

    I hope they do well.

     

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