Alan was lonely. As lonely as anyone could be who’d just moved into town, started a new job, and didn’t know anyone. But Alan was lucky because he was a sim. Now, he didn’t know he was a sim. Or rather he knew he was a sim in the same way one knows they are human; he didn’t know what it meant to be a sim. He didn’t know there was someone on the other side of the universe pressing buttons and directing his life. And that person had a clear goal for Alan. A goal Alan was guaranteed to achieve because of that intervention.
And so Alan did what many sims do in his situation; he hit the town to meet his neighbors. He was looking for someone in particular although he didn’t know who. But he’d know the moment they met for Alan was looking for his soulmate.
As fate would have it, they met at a restaurant. There was nothing different about this sim compared to the others he’d introduced himself to – “Hi, I’m Alan. I’m new in town. Want to be friends?” – but there was something there more than just the obvious two-bolt chemistry. “I’m Kampol Platz. Here’s my number.”
The next day after work, Kampol called Alan and they spoke on the phone long past midnight. They spoke about everything sims speak about: butterflies, spatulas, whether they liked grilled cheese sandwiches (they did), music, and eventually, love.
Alan invited Kampol over the following day. They hung out, chatting and dancing to his LP collection. When they grew hungry, they decided to see how far this relationship could go headed and went out on a date. It went spectacularly. By the time the date was over and Alan had invited Kampol back to his place, they were meant to be.
Because when you’re a sim, love is just that easy.
I sighed and hit save. Quit.
The monitor went dark.
Playing usually cheered me up, but this time it left a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth. If only it were that easy in real life. I’d been living in this town two months and still hadn’t made a single friend, much less found the love of my life. It wasn’t that late. I could go out for drinks, but the idea of sitting alone at a bar was even less palatable than playing videos games. I went to bed.
I couldn’t bring myself to return to Alan’s bright little world. So instead of straight home to an empty house with a glowing computer, I haunted the shopping area. I had no interest in shopping, but there was something comforting about seeing others.
Today it was snowing, so the plaza was even emptier than normal. Even so, I almost missed him. I’m not sure what drew my attention, but before I realized I’d stood up, I was halfway down the path following him. I almost turned back, but…
“Hi. I’m Alan.”
“Sorry, I just -” I was so embarrassed I could just die. What was I doing running after and talking to a stranger? What had come over me?
“How did you know?”
He shrugged, “I was hoping we could meet.” At that, he looked up at me a hint of shyness in his voice. Our eyes met and I was lost in them. I was in serious danger of jumping him right here in the middle of the street.
“Well, see you around, Alan.”
He gave a little wave and jogged off.
“See you, Cam.” I said to his retreating back.
Back home, I hesitated. Then I loaded up my save. No, it couldn’t be. Sure there was some resemblance, but there was no way Cam was Kampol. Too many games. I told myself. And I certainly did not hear soft laughter echoing around me.
Cam was new to town and it was good to have company to explore the town with me. Afterwards we’d head to his house or mine and often found ourselves chatting until long past midnight. Our tastes were almost perfectly aligned, same favorite foods, same favorite music. We even both liked green.
Our first date was at La Belle Vie. A fancy place. Pricey on our pocket books, but without any annoying dress codes. I had the hors d’oeuvre platter which consisted of five perfect bites of ultimate gastronomical perfection. Cam had the lamb sliders. Afterwards, still hungry, we hit up our favorite diner for fries and waffles.
It was that night I realized how much I’d come to relay on Cam, on his friendship. And how much I wanted to be so much more. Cam was important to me. It seemed sudden, but I knew that night that this man was my soul mate.
Funny, I never believed in soulmates. I’d spent hours designing the perfect mate for my simself, but I never expected one to just show up on my door. Cam moved in before winter ended and I had never been happier.
Cam was at work when the mailwoman dropped of the month’s bills. And it was with some dread that I collected them. I thought I was afraid of total it would show, but there was something far worse in the box than bills. A letter addressed to him. My heart froze.
To: Kampol Platz
1717 Easthaven Street
Riverview City 5416-022
Now I definitely heard laughter.
Still chuckling, Alan clicked the schedule button. He almost rubbed his hands together out of sheer glee. It was perfect. A sim who didn’t know he was a sim falling in love for his game-created mate. The perfect twist for this month’s short story contest and ready just in time for St. Valentine’s day.
Alan heard the doorbell ringing. Was it that late already? He yawned and trudged down the stairs. The landlord had said the new roommate was arriving today. He opened the door.
“Kam?” he stuttered.
The man on the other side grinned. Around them, Alan could hear faint laughter.