4.2 Taking responsibility

My mother’s always been such a stoical, practical person that it’s shocked me lately to see her reaction to my father’s death.  Though she puts on a brave face in front of us much of the time, I know that when she’s alone, she cries to herself.  I don’t mean to make it sound as if she’s completely falling apart, as she’s still getting on well at work, and spending a lot of time at the new gallery and gym, but in her private moments, she’s hurting.

I suppose I never really expected this vulnerable side to her – she’s always been so strong, so determined.  I guess she saved her weaknesses for when she was alone with my dad.

I told her how worried I was for her, and we had a long talk about my father’s death.  She said she was actually worried about me; that she didn’t think I’d begun to really grieve yet, that I hadn’t let the emotion of the situation hit me.  My sisters all cry from time to time, and mum thinks it’s healthier that way.  She says it’s not that she can’t function without dad, but she loved him so very much that she can’t help but feel sad that he’s gone.

Perhaps I have been trying too hard to avoid my own feelings.  I know I have responsibilities now – to my family and to my town.  I know I have to be strong.  But mum believes strength and vulnerability are not mutually exclusive.

I haven’t cried yet.  Maybe I will, but crying feels alien to me.  My life has not always been easy but there has been very little pain until now.  I’ve not really known grief before and I am still not sure how to handle it.  In my own private moments, though, I have been picking up his guitar.  We loved him playing it so much when we were younger and playing it helps me feel a little closer to him, helps me think that he’s out there somewhere, keeping an eye on us all.  I do miss him, more than I ever imagined I would.  I know as I grow into my new role in this household and as I hopefully take on a more active role in the life of Riverview, I will miss his influence even more.

I’m beginning to understand a little bit more about what responsibility is.  It’s not just decision-making and vision-setting, it’s about taking care of those who are important.

Kes is revising hard for her first round of chef’s exams right now.  She’s spending a lot of time in the library, and can’t cook as often as she’d like.

So sometimes I prepare hotdogs for us all to ease the pressure.  I’m beginning to see what she gets out of cooking – well, a bit.  It gives me time to think, to consider my future and the future of my town.

We will soon be making proposals for a new constitution, what our committee believes is the future mode of governance for this town.  We need to put those proposals to the town to vote.  It’s a very scary prospect.  Although I am excited about our plans, there have been major disagreements within the committee.  I believe we need a system that will allow us to reintegrate with the rest of the world once the sanctions against us are lifted.  Others believe we have an opportunity to forge a new way, our own way.  We have fought hard to create proposals that try to please both camps, but I don’t know how people will take our ideas.  A lot of people in town are excited about the thought of reintegration, of being part of something bigger – but many, many people are afraid.  This is all we’ve known, this town, this way of life, and even the changes since the Altos were deposed, liberating as they have been, have frightened some people who didn’t know how to respond to the new world.  I know some, including my own mother, think change is occurring too quickly and they worry we are being rash.

Ilari, my big sister, is working on a taskforce whose aim is to establish a new business and commerce infrastructure.  She has been out campaigning for people to offer their services in return for payment; people who can run shops, cleaning and repair businesses; who can man administration and government centres.  Money here has always been scarce and other than the money we used to pay to the Altos, has mostly just circulated around the system – it’s been almost a token, an irrelevance.  People here haven’t really worked because they need the money, they’ve worked for bringing us things we need, or on developing things they believe in.  Ilari and her colleagues are proposing radical new changes that will help bring us in line with other towns but will potentially change the whole landscape.  It’s exciting, and necessary, if we are to rejoin the world outside, but I understand the fear.

Krillitane continues to work hard at the research facility.  She is really enjoying her work and the projects they are involved in.  They’re currently testing out ways of creating and distributing power and of utilising our water sources to fertilize the land so that eventually we can grow crops.  They’re hopeful that our river will soon be free enough of pollutants that fish and reptiles from other places begin to flow back into it.  The experiments so far are small-scale, and not all of them work, but the team is so talented and so dedicated, that I’m sure they’ll succeed in their endeavours eventually.  I’m so proud of my sister for getting involved in this.  I can talk, and I can argue my point, and I think I’m good at making friends – but I don’t have the intelligence or resources to do the things she does.

One other thing I have realised lately is that I need a partner to help me with the work I’m doing.  My father’s death and my mother’s response to it has made me understand just how much of a team they were, and how much I want that, how much I need that.  Anne-Marie has been my girlfriend since school – and she’s everything I could ever want in a life partner.  She’s warm, funny, dedicated and attractive.

She works at the research facility with Krillitane, and her main responsibility is researching the history of plant life in Riverview.  She’s very dedicated to the task and is hoping to be one of the people who gets to plant the first seeds here in generations.  All plant life is dead, save the images of grass and plants the artists paint on our pavements and walls for us to look at, but when the sanctions against us are lifted, maybe other towns will trade their seeds with us.  Or maybe, just maybe, we will be able to restore some life ourselves when we are able to find ways to irrigate and fertilise our land.  Anne-Marie and her team are looking into all these possibilities.  Just imagine what it’d be like to see a real tree, or eat a real apple!

Sorry, I forget that you probably already experience these things – but for us, to be able to use the land once more is perhaps the most significant healing that we could hope for.

I don’t tend to get nervous very easily, but I was shaking like a leaf when I proposed to her.  I had the ring crafted by local artists and I was so scared she wouldn’t like it, and more scared that she wouldn’t see me as the kind of person she could settle down with.

But I needn’t have worried.  Anne-Marie knows I need someone to both support me and reign me in, and she’s more than willing to take on the challenge and adventure of being my wife.  I only hope I can support her as much as she needs and prove myself a husband worthy of this amazing woman I’ve married.

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20 Responses to “4.2 Taking responsibility”

  1. […] Paranormal Activity, those Dayes are getting on with painting, babies and more ghostly action.  In 4.2 Taking Responsibility, Jango Lazarus finally starts to understand what it means to be the heir and to be an adult… […]

  2. Is Jango a little bit stone-hearted? (Just curious, as I haven’t played with that trait yet.)
    Except when it comes to Anne-Marie of course, congrats to them! 🙂

    • No, he’s just trying to be a big man, but he’s a little naive, in a different way to how Chaotica was naive. He just has these big dreams for his town and how he thinks life should be, and he kind of expects everyone else will share them. He’s beginning to find out things aren’t quite how he would like.

      (I haven’t given him any LTRs yet except ‘never dull’ and their traits rarely impact upon the story, although his probably do a bit: ambitious, workaholic, charismatic, friendly, good).

  3. moondaisy101 Says:

    Poor Firefly. She has been such a good mother to spare her children any knowledge of grief before…

    I hope Jango comes to terms with his loss and learns to understand grief better. Empathy is important for a politician.

    His voice sounds strong and vulnerable at the same time. I suppose he is less confident than I thought him to be. I do like the way he appreciates what other people are doing around him and helps out when he can…

    Aw! Childhood sweethearts getting married! That’s romantic! 🙂

    • I think it’s about him thinking he was strong, that he had to be strong and confident (and he is both of those things, at least to an extent) but him not having gone through some of the experiences that might challenge and ultimately shape/reinforce that strength/confidence… up to now.

      There haven’t been many deaths in the family in his lifetime so Eugene was his first real loss. Bereavement and marriage – two big life events are bound to impact him.

      We’ll see his journey as a politician as we go on – it’s not going to be as easy as he thinks.

      As for experiencing grief, well Ezri, Echo and Firefly are all pretty old right now…

      • moondaisy101 Says:

        Yes, your first paragraph here sums it up. It will be an interesting journey for Jango (God, I love that name).
        I look forward to seeing him develop… With the right insights and his powerful family background, he will become a great leader indeed. No doubt about it!

  4. Lovely update, Rad! I’m so happy for Jango and Anne-Marie!

  5. I’m constantly amazed how much you put into his: econ, a banking system, a political system, all of it, and still pull all of it into context with the characters you’re showcasing.

    Jango doesn’t strike me as cold hearted. Struggling and maybe a bit out of his depth, and it’s not unusual for a man to deal with emotions privately.

    I love the way you occasionally break through the fourth wall and say something like ‘sorry, I forget you probably experience this things.’

    Wonderful writing! You always stay a step back and let it happen, just great!

    • Aww, thanks so much. It’s not so much breaking through the fourth wall as the characters sometimes remembering they are writing to an unseen audience/reader somewhere out there in Sunset Valley.

  6. The storyline is great, hope you don’t mind I kind of borrowed part of the illness theme from the founder.

  7. DB loves her Mac Says:

    Yay, Kes! Bring on the fruit parfait, the pancakes, and the fish and chips! Is the name Kes from Star Trek Voyager?

    Interesting list of qualities that Jango chooses to note about Anne-Marie. Very telling about his personality. I liked the touch about the ring; it made him seem more human and less official.

    I’m kind of worried about the upcoming onslaught of grief, with so many elders around.

    • Well, of the old people, only Firefly lives in the shelter, so hopefully the gameplay grief will be minimal! But you know, deep and heartfelt for them in terms of the story and all that.

      Kes is from Voyager, yes. She needs the science and gardening restrictions lifted before she can cook much of that stuff you mention, though at least lifting culinary will mean she can cook more than one meal a day. TBH I think cookery and science will be the last lifted at the rate they’re all going on their assigned tasks.

  8. Jango is so much of an a**. And he is so gay. He clearly only wants to maintain a political and is saying everything he thinks people will want to hear. Is marrying someone he thinks will be the perfect political wife, who he clearly has no feelings for, other than the ones he fakes to get her, and act like the pefect political couple. Everything about him is fake, and forced with only the good guy image in mind.
    He’s the Master basically, (in new series 3-) and we all know how that ended.

    • Pink, you do make me laugh. He’s not The Master. Secretly insecure and over-compensating, maybe, but he’s a good person deep down who means well. I know he’s not your favourite, but I had to have a politician in the family eventually, and what politician is ever going to cope with being a spare?…

  9. SB – It’s not part of the challenge, I just chose to frame the blog as dispatches to an unseen someone who happens to live in Sunset Valley (the other TS3 hood) – see the ‘about’ page for details. Well, vague details.

  10. I’ve never really been the biggest fan of challenges, but your story is definitely an exception. Keep up the great work 🙂

    • Aww, thank you very much. Challenges can be sometimes more fun to play than to read, but I like seeing a mixture of challenge blogs and stories like your own fab one. Once this is over, I have an idea for a story brewing, though it’s still the germ of an idea rather than a fully-developed one at the moment, and also relies on me getting to grips with CAW…

  11. Arden103 Says:

    Hi Rad luv ur stories I’m kinda a fan o urs

    I just have to re-re-re say this but, I L O V E D the Kyotis

    Can’t wait to read more

    And yeah I’m gunna randomly comment on ur legacies n ur stories

    😉 😉 😉

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