We woke up in a warm place yesterday and fell asleep last night with icicles hanging from our windows looking out onto a frozen, snowy, leafless tree. Utah, you didn't make it too easy to come back.
We had a lot of fun on our trip! Stay tuned for a recap!
But today... I'm gonna talk about something very important. It was a lesson about being careful in how you get what you want.
To start out, here's some back story. I didn't grow up with video games in my house. Not even a Wii. I know. Terrible. What I did have was a set of Grandparents who had a GameCube, and we visited them in Arizona yearly. I'd spend a lot of time on that box, making up for all the lost time. There were a lot of team games I'd play with my siblings: some Star Wars one that I was really bad at, Super Mario Smash Bros which I was really bad at (though Joe says I'm pretty ok), Mario Go Cart which I was really bad at... and then there were the one player games in which I had "me" time. I started out with Animal Crossing. My siblings LOVED IT. It bothered me a bit because the time on it was messed up and I wasn't tech-savvy enough to fix it. Whenever we played, it was night time, and all the other characters were asleep. And the shop was closed. And the train didn't run. That's just boring. So me?
My game was Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. It was a game where you played the part of a young man who had a farm he had to take care of. He had to feed the animals, grow crops... he had to get money to do all these things too. And the plot heavily relied on getting married at the end of the first year. If you didn't get married, then the game ended. I played this game for a while, but I didn't love playing the part of a boy for whatever reason. So my Grandma got me the SECOND EDITION OF THIS GAME. Yeah. Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. Go figure, right? Where I played the part of that young man's daughter, all grown up. And yep. I had to get married in this game too. That's where the drama comes in.
There were three men I could choose from. All of them were pretty weird. Because they all were significantly older than me. They didn't show it. They didn't say they were old either. But all of them were around when my father was in town, and they all looked the same age and had the same interests. The eligible old-young bachelors? Rock, the son of an inn keeper, who loved ALL the girls, and who would fall in love with me no matter what I did. He's kinda the default. Gustafa, a hippy who loves flowers and playing his guitar. But his heart belonged to Nami, and I knew Nami had a hard life and I didn't want to take Gustafa from her, they seemed to be a really good match. And then there's Marlin, a dark and brooding farm boy who may or may not be in love with the other farm hand Celia.
I used to always just marry Rock. He was super easy to marry. But this time, this year, I decided to marry Marlin. After all, he'd worked on a farm and looked like he'd be a lot of help. Whenever I'd marry Rock, he wouldn't do anything at all and I was tired of that. Marlin it was.
Wooing Marlin was hard. We had to look up online what all of his likes and dislikes were and how to trigger conversations with him and stuff. Eventually his "hearts" for me started going up. One heart... two hearts... and one day, these cute little woodland fairies came to me and gave me a "blue feather". This was some mysterious and rare object that I would eventually use to propose. Oh joy! I could marry Marlin! But first, I had to get up to FOUR HEARTS. So I kept working at it, and before I knew it, he had four hearts for me. That's how you know it's true love, girls, your lover has four hearts for you. That's double the Time Lord. That's romance.
I went hop skipping over to Marlin's farm one day to ask him to marry him. I showed him the blue feather. And I was met with "What's this...?" Nothing else besides that. I was hurt and confused. Why didn't he want me?! Wasn't I good enough for him? But the longer I courted him, the more I realized how confused he was about Celia. He'd talk about wanting to make sure she met the right guy, and how he'd hurt anyone who hurt her. He'd watch her when she gardened. Her name crossed almost all of our conversations.
By this time, it was Fall. Joseph and I took a break from the game to go for a date that evening, and somewhere in our conversation, it came up that Joseph knew something about Marlin that I didn't. Marlin was TERMINALLY ILL. So yeah. Not only was I courting a young man who was in love with someone else, he was also dying. And it was Fall! It wasn't like I could do anything about this! Winter was almost here, and if I wasn't married by then, then the game would end. I had no choice!
I went home and looked up some tips for getting this boy to say yes to me. Online there were all these things saying "Oh, cook him this, cook him that..." That was all good and well but I had no food! I'd sold it all to get money to buy animal medicine and seeds. Woe is me. Woe. Is. Me. So I had no choice people, I really didn't. I didn't know what would happen when I did this, but I had to do something. So I cheated. I looked up a cheat code and I cheated. It said if I cheated, I'd get all the ingredients I needed!
I walked over to the stove and with shaking hands, wondering what I'd find, I opened my knapsack. Inside I found not one of every ingredient, not two... but 99 of every ingredient. Plus a lot of other stuff I'd never need. It was a bit comical! What was I to do with all of this stuff? I cooked up a dish, Earth Stew, and held that bowl of soup in my hand, when reality hit. The simple farm life that I so adored had changed. I had everything I needed. I'd never need to farm again. There was no point in me working anymore. I had nothing to live for.
A voice said in my head. OF COURSE! Marlin. If Marlin would just marry me, then we could have a family together, and then I'd have a reason for life again!
I ran over to Marlin's house and gave him the food and joy of all joys, he loved it. I rummaged through my knapsack, eager to find that valuable, unique, one-of-a-kind blue feather. Nothing. Nothing but a load of food and seeds and supplies. No blue feather. I kinda laughed and shook my head and wondered what was going on. I ran back to my farm and searched around for it... maybe I'd dropped it? Maybe I put it on a shelf? It wasn't there. So I ran to the Google for help.
"What do I do if I lost my blue feather?"
"What? Lost your blue feather?"
"Yeah... I don't know where it went..."
"Don't tell me... you didn't cheat, did you??? If you cheat, you lose your blue feather! And you can never get it back."
What was this sick joke?! Could it be true? A couple more searches revealed to me that yes... it was true. I cheated, and had lost my blue feather in doing so. The blue feather. The one thing that I could use to prompt a proposal out of Marlin. There was no other way. I'd cheated to serve him, and in doing so, had lost him.
I ran back to my farm in angry tears and wrenched open the garbage can to throw away all of the wealth and goods inside my knapsack.
"GO AWAY CARROT SEEDS. I HATE YOU. YOU TOOK MARLIN FROM ME!!! HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!"
I was delighted to find that the pixilated representation of myself threw things into the garbage in a very forceful and dramatic way. I was horrified to find that I was throwing away items one at a time.... and my knapsack was full of thousands of items. This wouldn't do. This would take forever.
More google searches... I found that Marlin might... MIGHT come propose to me on the last day of the game. That is... if he felt he wasn't threatened by any other men... and if no other men loved me more. But Rock. Oh Rock... I hadn't talked to him since the game began. I ran to his house to peek at his diary and found that he had a blasted THREE HEARTS FOR ME ALREADY. How does that even happen?! In panic I tried to push him away. I was rude in conversation. I gave him things he hated. But he was so nice in it all, and if anything, it made him love me more.
Numbly, I walked home, and proceeded to sleep through the next three days. Maybe it helped. I'd been depressed and exhausted before this entire fiasco, but my character was happy to have every possession in her small world, and was happy to have slept for three days. But I wasn't happy.
I walked into town and found that the store was open. I talked to the store keeper and proceeded to sell everything I owned.
It was a long process. It took two hours. But I deserved it. I'd done this to myself, and I deserved this punishment. I gritted my teeth and held back tears as I handed over everything I owned, occasionally shifting my eyes over to Marlin's farm, to see him watching Celia, talking to Celia, laughing at her jokes... I HATED CELIA.
When all had finished, I had no more possessions, but I did have four million dollars. Money that meant nothing to me.
I slept a lot more over the next few days, pausing only to feed my animals and talk to Marlin and give him shortcake, which I'd saved because he loved it. Maybe it'd make him love me.
Winter came and with it... the last day of Winter. If I didn't get married, the game would end. I didn't know how this would happen. Supposedly Marlin was supposed to come to my farm? But where was he? I walked around town and said hello and goodbye to everyone, wondering if it would be the last time I saw them... and Marlin never came. Bitterly, I went home and fell asleep. Maybe I'd die in my sleep. Maybe I deserved it after everything I went through.
I was awoken to the sound of "Scooter..."
Oh. My name was Scooter. And my farm was named Scooter. And all my animals were named Scooter. I did that to myself.
I woke up and blearily blinked my eyes... there was a shadow in front of me... could it be...?
It was Marlin. Marlin had come!!! He said something about how I'd been there for a year and he was glad to have gotten to know me so well and how he thought he could let go of Celia (WHAT THE HECK MARLIN!? You're PROPOSING and you bring up that she-demon's name?!) but he found himself asking the one question every girl wants to hear.
"Will you farm with me?"
Yes Marlin. Of course I would.
We married that day. Celia ran away crying when we approached her. She didn't know what she had. She should have put a blue feather on it. A year later we had a beautiful little boy and our farm was never better, especially considering how much money I had.
Things aren't perfect. Marlin still visits the bar a lot. He talks about Celia a lot.... Maybe things would have been different if I didn't cheat. But the miracle in this story is forgiving myself enough to say yes when he asked me to farm with him. I'd paid my price. I'd spent two hours selling everything I owned. I worked hard, I truly did. Maybe in a different way. Maybe my ways aren't conventional, and maybe you judge me for them. But they got results. And that...
Is my story.