The Sad Tale of Dennis Kim (Part 2 of 2)

The Spencer-Kim-Lewis Family of Willow Creek & Sulani’s Sapphire Shores Resort

Dennis Kim. Elder. Sad puppy eyes. Down-turned mouth. Sloped shoulders. He looks defeated. What is this sim’s story?

Dennis finally found a job cleaning the hotel rooms at the Sapphire Shores Resort in Sulani. The manager, Ashley Alto, wasn’t concerned about his reputation as long as he kept the rooms immaculate and agreed to participate in the employee conservationist program. Dennis avoided the other employees and guests, and his nefarious fifteen minutes of fame lasted throughout the entire winter season.

Only one person befriended him. Her name was Nalani, and Dennis thought she was the most beautiful and kindest woman he had ever met. She was often at the resort, but Dennis remained unsure if she were an employee or a guest.

“Dennis,” Nalani approached him one evening in spring. “There is so much sadness in your eyes. You look so lonely, and it is not good to be isolated. I need to leave for awhile, but I worry about you, my friend.”

Dennis found himself telling her everything–his childhood, his failed marriage, how he only wanted to help make the future better. “I’ve lost faith in humanity,” he concluded. “I don’t even want to be a part of it anymore,” he said with a heavy sigh.

“Don’t lose hope, my friend. You are a good sim and you still can do much to make the world better.” She kissed his cheek fondly. “Don’t lose hope,” she whispered.

Dennis thought about her words over the next few days. He realized that simple tasks like scrubbing toilets and cleaning the desks made the guests happier. The resort was a place where people left their worries and cares. Tourism was important: sims from all over learned about their actions on the world through the eco-tourism and conservation programs. The resort donated large sums to charities devoted to cleaning up Sulani and protecting the native wildlife. Even though Dennis was invisible, he was still an important part of making the world better.

He began thinking less and less about the past and worrying less and less about the future.

One afternoon, he walked into the family suite. His granddaughter greeted him. “Grandpa! I knew I’d find you here,” she hugged him.

Dennis was both happy and concerned to see Olivia. “You are getting so big,” he smiled. “What are you doing here?”

“Daddy has a new job at Willow Creek Hospital and says he’s going to make lots of money, so he’s taken us on a vacation. I was on the beach cleaning up some trash and a nice lady gave me this pretty shell.” Olivia showed Dennis a large, orange conch. “She said it would bring me true happiness if I made a wish and blew it under the new moon. But I want you to have it, Grandpa.” She hugged Dennis again. “Grandma will be here soon. She still says you are a bad and selfish man, but I don’t believe her.” She smiled at him. “I made this picture for you, Grandpa. I love you!”

Dennis looked at the drawing boldy colored in bright crayons. A palm tree on a beach and water with a mermaid swimming away and the words, “Love always, Olivia.”

“I’ll treasure this always,” he smiled, putting it in his pocket. With a ruffle of her hair and a smile on his face, the two parted.

Dennis kept the shell hidden in his sock drawer. Was it possible a shell could grant such a wish?

On the night of the new moon, he found himself on the beach, conch shell in hand. “This is silly,” he told himself, “I’m a doddering old fool, but here goes…” he raised the shell to his lips and blew.

The deep hollow sound drifted over the ocean. Dennis looked at the starlight shimmering upon the calm water. He listed to the gentle lapping of the waves and smelled the tang of the salt air mingled with the sweetness of the flowers. For the first time in his life, he had the desire to take off his shoes and feel the sand between his toes. It was still warm from the sun, but as he dug them deeper, it felt cool and damp. He heard the far-off call of birds and the nocturnal animals awakening from their sleep.

“I understand about your disappointment with your fellow humans,” a familiar voice startled Dennis. “I, too, struggle with it.”

Nalani looked at Dennis. “The sadness is gone from your eyes, my friend.”

Dennis nodded. “I don’t want to return to my life as it was before,” he looked at the shimmering water. “I don’t mind it now, but I feel something calling me now. I’m content, though, and that is a new feeling. Joy in cleaning toilets, who would have ever thought it!” Dennis laughed softly.

“It is good you are content,” Nalani said. “But if you want a new life, a different life, one full of wonder, I am offering it to you. We are offering it to you,” she smiled and held out a strange-looking kelp-like orb.

Dennis took it, biting into it without hesitation. He felt a strange tingling sensation. His throat was suddenly parched in an unfamiliar way.

“Drink this,” Nalani handed Dennis a glass that was both fizzing and smoking. He swallowed, feeling the pains and aches of past decades dissolving and the desire to join the starlit watery world just a few steps away growing within.

“Welcome,” Nalani whispered, motioning Dennis to follow. “We have much work to do.”

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