[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more info here.]
Free-Jon had been looking forward to adulthood for much of his life. No school, no homework, no more of this “everybody telling you what to do just because they’re older than you” stuff – instead, a sim could be and do whatever he or she wanted, no matter how outlandish it sounded to others. Childhood was for trying on ideas and adulthood was for living them out, right?
He hadn’t decided yet, though, what he wanted to be when he grew up – he needed a little more play time in order to accomplish that, and it seemed that the adult world put a serious damper on play time.
What Free-Jon really needed, he decided, was a rewind button. He was gonna have to ask Ace about that once he got done talking on the phone.
“Like the one Sterling Rover has on that old cassette recorder of his,” Free remembered aloud. “I bet Ace could make me one of those!”
A familiar voice interrupted his thoughts.
At first he wasn’t sure if it was coming from inside his head or outside of it.
“Dad??” Free-Jon asked.
“Hey now – maybe I should be calling you that!” the man laughed good-naturedly, referring to their age difference.
This was, of course, not Free-Jon’s dad. This was the original Elder Wolff, many moons after he’d been saved to the Gallery to become the copy of Elder Wolff that would go on to be Free-Jon’s father. This Elder remained behind only so that his first family could remember him if they needed to. His parents, now long gone, wouldn’t. But his sisters Edelweiss and Easter Lily, though occupied with their own lives and children, sometimes did. And while that arrangement probably seemed sad to players and Simselves, Elder Wolff was perfectly content with it.
Free-Jon understood all this. But standing right here, looking right at him, Free-Jon still felt that this Elder Wolff was his dad. His eyes started to get watery; he couldn’t help it.
“You seem to be carrying a heavy load, friend,” Elder noticed.
Where to start? That he missed his mom and dad? That he was really far from home and didn’t know how to get back? That he had misplaced his best friend and felt lost without her?
“Ace thinks I should take off my hat,” Free-Jon blurted.
Well, that was specific. Elder stifled his chuckle, as he could tell the subject wasn’t so funny to the man. He thought for a moment before answering.
“And what do you think?” he asked.
“I like hats,” Free-Jon said. “They’re fun. I don’t wanna have to be serious just ’cause I’m old now.”
“That makes sense,” Elder nodded.
“But he says this one is dangerous.”
“Well, I could see that, too,” Elder agreed. “But only because it might make it real easy to forget to take breaks between exercise sometimes.”
Free-Jon considered that.
“They do make other animal hats, you know. Like my personal favorite..” Elder bent down for a second, and spun into his own animal hat.
Free-Jon snorted, “A chicken? No way! I gotta get one of those!”
Elder slapped his knee. “Well, it just so happens I’ve been looking for a home for this one.”
“Way!” said Elder. “I never wear it – might as well give it to someone who can appreciate it.”
“Thanks, Da– dude!”
“You got it.”
Free-Jon put on his new hat and immediately felt like a weight had been lifted. Ace probably would have said something lame like, “Because that -40 Comfort debuff finally wore off,” but Free-Jon knew better.
“Hey, we have the same shoes!” Free-Jon noticed.
“Well, look at that!” Elder laughed. “Great minds dress alike?”
“Hey, do you want my Owl hat?” Free-Jon asked. “I don’t need it now.”
Elder smiled. “Sure, why not?”
Free-Jon gulped and handed his old hat over.
Elder put it on.
“How do I look?” he modeled.
“You look like a plum.” Free-Jon chuckled.
“Excellent!” joked Elder. “Just the look I was going for.”
“Well, it’s been great meeting you,” Elder said, “and thanks for the hat! But I’ve gotta fly. Smell ya later, dude?”
“Smell ya later,” Free-Jon said back.