1.12 Finding Friends (ALOW)

Jenara jogged across her lawn toward the street. There were always neighbors out and about. Someone would share her veggie burgers. She was certain.

Sure enough as she rounded the house, she spotted Don Lothario running along the sidewalk.

“Don!” she called out. “Hey Don!”

The man was in his own little world, listening to whatever melodies and harmonies streamed through his headphones. Jenara tried waving, but by that point, he was already past her view.

“Oh well,” she sighed.

Jenara started down the street, whistling a happy little tune, something she heard on the television program she watched yesterday. The sun hadn’t fully risen yet, a sort-of fuzzy unripe peach in the morning sky, but cast a lovely rosy-orange glow all around. She spotted Sandra Roth crossing the street, and started to call after her, but the girl kept her head slumped and ignored Jenara.

I wonder what her deal is. She seems pretty goth and depressed all the time, Jenara observed.

“Oh, Vito!” she exclaimed, seeing the green-skinned man continue down the sidewalk behind her. “How have you been, my friend?”

“We’re not friends,” he replied, gruffly.

“Oh but I thought we could be,” she said cheerily. “It’s such a beautiful morning. I made some veggie bur…”

“Butt out, pep squad,” he growled. “And stay away from my wife. She’s already happy enough without your influence.”

With that, Vito Terrano turned and stomped down the road, leaving a confused, and somewhat sad Jenara. Why don’t people like me? she wondered, with dismay. Was she too bubbly and bright and cheery? But wasn’t that the way to make friends?

Jenara remembered a word of advice from her aunt, Ana Nova. Once Jenara came home from school with skinned knees and a bruised ego. Her “friends” had made fun of her in front of the boy she liked, and Jenara had been so crushed she wasn’t paying attention and rode her bicycle into a bush. The girls from school laughed and didn’t help her. They called her stupid and said only a loser would crash into a bush on their bike. She had been so humiliated. She cried and said she never wanted to go to school again, and it was the end of the world. Her auntie had set her on the counter, and gave her a spoonful of her favorite dark cherry ice cream.

Did you know that if you cut a tulip, it will continue to grow up to an inch in a vase?” Ana Nova had said. 

Jenara recalled giving her aunt a puzzled look.

“Sometimes people will say things that are cruel and they cut you to your core,” Ana Nova continued. “But like the cut on a tulip stem, it doesn’t mean the end of life. You can grow stronger and taller from adversity. You know this word, right?”

Jenara bobbed her head, the spoon dangling from her mouth.

“There are people in the world who do cruel things, but don’t ever stop being the lovely red tulip, my sweet sun blossom,” Ana Nova kissed Jenara’s hair. “You will find growth in the healing.” 

With newfound purpose, Jenara decided to walk further down the road and visit the park. Perhaps she would find friends there, and someone to share her veggie burgers.

Sure enough she met Gar. He wasn’t in his PlantSim form, and she thought he looked handsome in his jean jacket, neatly pressed khakis, and baseball cap. He was even wearing her favorite color shirt.

“What do you say about professional cows?” he asked.

“Um?” she frowned, thinking hard.

“They are outstanding in their field!” he joked.

Jenara covered her stomach as she laughed. “Oh that’s cheesy. Wait… I have one… why do cows have hooves instead of feet?” She grinned broadly. “Because they lactose.”

Gar doubled over, laughing hysterically. “You’re funny, Jenara Yearling.”

“Do you like veggie burgers?” she blurted out, and then blushed, feeling uncomfortable about her over-enthusiasm. “I mean… I made some… back at my house… they’re just sitting there… all alone…and I could some help eating them. I know they’re not exactly a traditional breakfast…”

“Oh I like veggie burgers,” Gar bobbed his head.

“Good,” Jenara grinned. “You wanna come?” she nodded in the direction of her house, and Gar fell into step. “Say, Gar?”


“Would you like to be my friend?”

Gar took off his cap and placed his arm over his chest. “It would be my honor, Jenara.”

It is my goal to start updating this story on Wednesdays around midnight MST.  

Previous Chapter: 1.11 Veggie Burgers


1.5 Pod (ALOW)

Jenara chose to take a long nap in the guest bedroom. She had hoped to sleep off her complete and utter humiliation in front of Don Baxter and Sarah Waterside. However, when she awakened, she still felt embarrassed.

Llamas, she cursed beneath her breath. I can never show my face again in this town. 

Shifting beneath the floral comforter, Jenara flopped her legs atop the bed. The room was sparsely furnished, given it was the guest quarters. Her great auntie used to stay in this room when she visited. Jenara didn’t feel comfortable claiming her parents master suite. It somehow didn’t feel right even though they had been gone over a decade. She also didn’t want to sleep in the cutesy children’s play room.

Those days are past me. 

A memory flitted like a butterfly around in her head. A scared little girl. A nightmare. A monster under the bed. Daddy checking to make sure things were okay while the little girl climbed in her parent’s bed and hugged her mommy. Daddy returning to find mommy and the little girl asleep in each other’s arms. In the morning, they would awaken to find him sleeping in his daughter’s little bed, a poor night’s sleep causing the tall man obvious cramps.

That was Pops. 

Jenara smiled. She loved her father… or what she remembered of him. She loved her mother too. The whole thing felt strange being back in this house, almost as if it were their home and not hers. She wondered if their spirits still possessed its walls, and if they were watching over her.

Still fully clothed, she slipped off the bed and decided to look out the window, trying to ascertain the time. She had a good view of the square across the street. In the crosswalk, a pigtailed teenage girl dressed in black gave a snobbish look to a green-looking woman. Jenara gasped, wondering if the lady were an alien, and then realized, on the contrary, the woman was a supernatural – a PlantSim. Jenara pulled on her shoes and stepped outside just in time to hear the PlantSim lady say hello to “Miss Sandra Roth.”

The girl continued along her way, refusing to acknowledge the green-skinned, leaf-haired woman. Jenara felt an inexplicable sadness.

Prejudice alive and well. 

PlantSims were rare on Simterra, a supernatural race, a strange mix of genetics and plant biology. Jenara had heard many rumors about the green-skinned people, often mistaken for Xenosi, the dreaded aliens from the planet Xenosa. The Xenosi were most likely responsible for the supernaturals on Simterra, though no one liked to admit it. Jenara remembered hearing her father, a researcher, talking about mutations all those years ago when he didn’t think she was listening. She had caught rumblings and whisperings of experiments in Oasis Landing, the secret SimNation government city. Only those who worked there or those who had really good connections or deep pockets, or both, could enter the Oasis Landing. Jenara wondered if this woman on her street had come from there.

“Hello,” she called out.

The woman looked surprised to be greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jenara. What’s yours?”

“Tara… it’s nice to meet you Jenara. I don’t often get common courtesy from people,” she glanced over her shoulder at the teenager walking away.

“I’m sorry. I’ve just never seen a PlantSim before. I hope you don’t mind. I think you’re beautiful,” Jenara gushed.

“No, not at all. In fact, I welcome your questions… if you have any,” Tara smiled as she was practically glowing.

“Where are you from?” Jenara inquired.

“Here… there… where are we all from? The universe grants us existence, and we live for a short time and then move along,” she replied cryptically.

“I guess,” Jenara shrugged. “Did you move to the neighborhood?”

“No, a few of us are here for a photosynthesis conference, and then we’ll be moving on. We’re only here for a few days,” Tara replied.

“A photosynthesis conference?” Jenara repeated. “Wow. That’s cool. What do you do?”

“We open our arms to the sun and drink in its delights as we discuss the future, sustainability, keeping our planet green, and the like.”

“Sounds important.”

“It is. You know if you’d like to stop by Miss Jenara, I’d be happy to get you a pass. We could use more open-minded Sims attending to better understand who we are and what we hope to accomplish.”

“Really? You’d do that.”

“Absolutely. If you’re interested.”

“Yes please.”

“In the meantime, keep your eyes open to the light, and keep your ears tuned to the earth to hear the songs of the universe, and allow the center of your mind to be touched with the goodness of the world all around us,” Tara wished.

“Wow, that was beautiful,” Jenara remarked. “Thank you,” she bowed her head. “I wish you the same, but I can’t think up any poetic words.”

“The poetry is in your heart,” Tara answered. “You need only to listen.”

Jenara felt like saying something like “Namaste,” but figured that probably wasn’t the correct response. Instead, she merely said “thank you” again.

“In case I do not see you at the conference, I will give you one of my pods to remember me by.”

“A pod?”

“A piece of me. You can think of it as a PlantSim’s calling card of sorts. You walk in the woods and you find a pretty flower. You may pluck it. If you roll your pant legs and step into the river in your bare feet and you see a shiny rock, you might pick it up. A pod is a piece of us. It is a piece of the universe. It is our way of saying we are here, and you have noticed. It is a token of our deepest appreciation.”

Jenara fingered the beautiful purple pod the PlantSim woman placed in her palm. “Thank you. This is so generous of you. I am honored.”

“The honor is mine, Miss Jenara. Until we meet again.”

“Until we meet again,” she repeated, waving after her new mysterious friend.

Author Note: For fun, I’m including the “PlantSim” challenge in the storyline. Hopefully I can gain all 6 pods in time. We’ll see. Even so, I thought it’d be interesting to include this in the story. I’m glad Jenara crossed paths with Tara Varela.

Oh and Sandra Roth is the TS4 version of Cassandra Goth, since I’m renaming crossover characters, and Cassandra already appears in The Kassiopeia Fullbright Mystery Series, as does the rest of her family. Sandra Roth is based on the TS2 Roth family. I’m going to guess the “Roth” family is on vacation in Oasis Springs. Hope you enjoyed.

Previous Chapter: 1.4 New Neighbors 

Next Chapter: 1.6 Plants Life