Or, an Elegy for a Sunken Island
It was the place I called home for over a year. It was a responsibility I took, with all my heart, for no reason other than love alone. But it was never mine. One could call that symbolic, perhaps, or a parallel. Call it what you will; I loved that fucking sim. Through drama, through loss, through tournaments and festivals and quiet times and embarrassing moments and goofy grief-fights, there was no single place on the entire grid I wanted to be more.
I get a sinking feeling every every time I see “Message from Second Life” as a subject in my inbox, because it inevitably means that more pieces of me have been sent back, and that a little bit more of the product of my love is gone.
When the day came that I broke the news that I was leaving, I was told that I was the one holding it together all along. But that’s part of the reason that I had to leave: it was never mine to hold together. Whether intentionally or not, so much of the me that went into that sim was taken for granted. I don’t mean by the populace at large. I mean by the person whose sim it is to hold together. It was a burden I could bear no longer. Some might say I was a quitter to turn my back on it. Others, that I was a fool for putting so much into it for so little in return.
But you see, I’m of the belief that love is a verb. When you love someone, or something, or someplace, you actively invest in it. You support with your whole being, expecting nothing in return except maybe a little love in return someday. You say, “I am on your side,” partly in the hope that one day it will be on your side. You make foolish decisions. You rise and fall and rise again. You bleed and you heal.
When you love someplace, you don’t just ignore it and expect it to take care of itself. You don’t sit silently and hope that someone else will come along and bring the “good old days” back again. Just like you don’t sit silently and hope that someone dear to you already knows how you feel, day after day after long day. Blame whatever you wish for the decline of the town; the true reason is that you who have it stopped actively loving it a long, long time ago. Somewhere along the line it changed from your home to that place down underneath your new home, and it was obvious to every resident or merchant that came and didn’t stay. Maybe you do still love it, in some way. But nobody would know that, to set foot on its grounds. No one. Just like I never knew you cared until the day I said I was leaving.
Love is a verb. Love the sim, actively, love the people who come to it, love the scenery and the buildings and whatever little else remains, and maybe it can be said that there is a future for it.
But deep down I think those days are gone.