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Escape Pod 689: Spectrum of Acceptance


Spectrum of Acceptance

By Nyla Brilliant

When Leon Kenner left the planet of Acceptance, he asked me to go together with him again to Earth. I belonged with individuals like me, like him.

No, that isn’t where I ought to begin. Tales must be informed in chronological order to make them straightforward to know.

On our first meeting, Leon took my hand in each of his as if he had recognized me my entire life, like he knew I was NT — neurotypical — and I appreciated touching. I might read his thoughts, and he was reading mine right again. That’s not right. Nobody has ever proved mind-reading. Mind-reading isn’t actual.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ada,” he stated.

A pleasure. Assembly me was a pleasure. On Acceptance, greetings are waves of a hand. If you understand somebody nicely, perhaps a “hi” or “hey.”

The pleasure was mine, however I stored that to myself. Ma was just behind me. There are procedures for find out how to settle for a guest into the house.

“The family schedule is on the screen. So are the rules.” I pointed as I spoke. I observed Ma taking a look at my pointing, and I put my hand down. Hand motions confuse individuals. Converse in a single modality at a time.

He glanced away to take a look at the display then introduced his eyes right back to me. The brown of them had flecks of yellow. I’d never had a chance to look so lengthy into someone’s eyes aside from my very own in mirror mode or in translucent reflections on the screens. The colour elements had little black strains radiating out like the iconograph of the sun. Did everybody have those or just us?

I watched him look about and saw our house by means of his eyes. Not by means of his eyes. That isn’t a real thing. I imagined I saw the house the best way he may need seen it.

Neither Ma nor I’ve collections; messes make Ma anxious. We’ve simply what is needed to be practical plus room for one immigrant. Our house is efficient: white, orderly, and cold compared to VRs I’d walked via of Earth houses. Earth houses never have squeeze machines of their dwelling rooms. They’ve art on the walls and furnishings shaped to appear to be things aside from chairs and tables.

He should hate it. I gave myself somewhat shake and reminded myself that I couldn’t know what he was considering. My imagining didn’t assist something.

Leon was going to be my first. Not my first; that was imprecise. Ma hosted a couple once I was a baby, before I needed a room of my own. That’s imprecise, too. I was a fourth of a cycle previous the last time Ma’s identify was matched for hosting. Most cycles we acquired the stipend without having to absorb an immigrant.

I was bursting with questions. I needed to know what he thought of our home. Was it too sparse? Too white? I needed to know all the things about Earth. I needed to ask about him. I needed to ask if eye-contact was his solely deficit. Was he grasping for contact like me? Was he NT, like me?

The rule is you didn’t ask individuals questions. It annoys them and interrupts their ideas. If they want you to know something they may inform you.

He was the identical measurement as me, which was uncommon. Most everyone seems to be both so tall I make eye-contact with their chest or so brief they make eye-contact with mine. I wasn’t supposed to note. My ma says I feel too much about how I examine.

He requested, “How old are you, Ada?”

“I’m twelve cycles. I don’t know how many cycles that is on Earth.”

“Sixteen years,” my ma corrected without turning again to take a look at us as she entered the home. “A revolution around the sun is called a year on Earth. A full revolution around Sol, the sun of Earth, is 26.71755726% shorter than Acceptance’s annual cycle. You are sixteen years, four months, two weeks and three point two days old.” I liked how fluent Ma was when talking about details.

I blushed and appeared down at my toes. Having one of my deficits on display was mortifying. My counselor assures me individuals don’t care what you possibly can’t do. Individuals only care about your talents.

Leon touched me on the shoulder, “I can’t do the math in my head, either.” It was like he might learn my thoughts. One other contact. I questioned if he did hugs.

How previous was he? He wasn’t younger. He had gray in his brown curly hair. Previous for an immigrant. Most have been simply old enough to be treated as an grownup on Earth. Right here on Acceptance, adulthood is decided by algorithm. You’re an adult when you’re unbiased and may look after your self and others.

The rule with Ma was you keep your palms to yourself. I reached out and imitated the contact with a contact to his shoulder, breaking the rule.

“Why don’t you show me to my room?” he asked.

That smile was for me. My abdomen did flips. No, that’s metaphorical considering. My stomach was contracting.

I glanced at Ma. She was targeted on getting dinner began. She had a deep frown on her face. Was she upset about my pointing or the touching?

“Can I? You aren’t mad are you?” I asked Ma.

“Aren’t mad…mad…I’m not mad. Go. I need quiet time.” She flapped her arms. Something was upsetting her.

I needed to maintain asking so I might repair what was flawed, however that may just annoy her more. I glanced at the countdown timer, 23 minutes until dinner. We had time.

I walked down the corridor, resisting the urge to look again and see if he was following. Individuals comply with if they need to and don’t if they don’t. Ma says understanding in the event that they aren’t doesn’t help someway.

I slid open the door to his room. It was greater than my room, but something concerning the vacancy made it look unhappy. I do know rooms can’t be sad. A room is a room.

I tapped on the wall, pulling up the timer, the schedule, and the principles. I turned to go away.

Leon reached out and caught the sleeve of my shirt in his fingers. “Can you stay and talk?”

I smiled and brushed my hair off my shoulders. I had it minimize in a method that was well-liked on Earth. Or had been common there three years in the past. The feeds from Earth take a very long time to get to Acceptance, though not so long as the ships. On Acceptance individuals reduce their hair as is most snug for them, not what seems greatest or what’s fashionable. Once I received the haircut, I was imagining our immigrant would really feel at house seeing my hair. Despite on a regular basis it took to type, I wasn’t positive he observed.

“What do you need?” I requested.

“I’ve been trying to get in touch with someone in the government. My staff and I aren’t here to settle on Acceptance. We’re emissaries. We asked to open a diplomatic channel. Your Chamber of Commerce issued the invitation and now no one will have sit-down meetings with us.”

I gave my head a shake. “I don’t understand. What’s an emissary?”

He sat down with a heavy thump on the mattress and put his head in his arms, “I’ve never encountered anything like this. I do all the right things and no one wants to meet. And my muscles are killing me.”

Alarmed, I stated, “Do you need a doctor?”

He shook his head. “Higher gravity here. They said it would take a few weeks to adjust, but they didn’t say it would be like walking through water.” He waved his hand as if to shoo away my considerations. “I’m fine, just tired.” He motioned to the chair at the work table. “Sit down. Talk to me. You’re the most eye-contact I’ve had all day.”

I pulled my eyes right down to my footwear. “I’m sorry. I forget.”

“Oh, hell. No. I need the eye-contact and some small talk. Real small talk. Not someone lecturing at me about some weird interest of theirs or the rules. I swear every room I walk into has a new set of rules.  This wasn’t in our briefings.” He lifted up the blanket on the bed, “Lord, how heavy is this thing?”

“Standard four point five kilograms. Do you need a heavier one?” I pulled up an order display on the wall for weighted blankets. “You have a stipend for supplies until you settle into an occupation.”

He tilted his head at me, “I guess even you don’t do small talk, do you?”

“Small talk? What’s that?” I shrunk the order display and turned to take a look at him, making an attempt to guess what was happening in his thoughts.  His voice sounded amused however the phrases have been extra biting than that.

“You know, talk about the weather.”

I tapped the other wall and pulled up an exterior view with a climate report. “Is this what you need?”
He shook his head. “Small talk is when I say, ‘The weather is nice.’ Then you say, ‘Looks like rain tomorrow.’ It’s a way of starting a conversation without getting into things that might upset someone.” He pointed on the display with the principles. “Where did the ‘No Touching’ rule go?”

“I like touching. It’s Ma who finds touching upsetting.” I held up my wrist to point out off my patch. “That is what the ID is for. Rules are made based on the needs of who is in the room with you. Your guide was supposed to explain.”

Leon ran his fingers by means of his curly darkish hair. “I’m sure he did. I had a hard time understanding him.”

“And when you told him he didn’t change modality?” I used to be shocked. That was not what was purported to happen.

Shaking his head, Leon stated, “I didn’t want to embarrass him by pointing it out.”

I was confused. “It was rude not to tell him. You should have told him.”

Leon took an extended sluggish breath. I was annoying him. No, I don’t know if I used to be annoying him. I imagined I was annoying him.

“This is going to take some getting used to,” he stated.

We stood a second in silence. My skin was crawling with questions however I might hold them in. It was well mannered to wait. If he wanted me to go now, he would inform me. Or was he being that bizarre Earth polite where they don’t say what they mean?

He appeared uncomfortable. I had to remind myself I didn’t know what was in his thoughts.

He appeared concerning the room. “I’m sure I was told, but where is my baggage?”

I brightened. That I might help with. “It’ll be delivered this evening.” I pulled up the schedule and scrolled right down to 22:35 where it was written, “Delivery – Leon Kanner.”

He squinted at it. “Huh, you guys really like your schedules, don’t you?” He pointed to the iconography after the textual content, “That means the same thing?”

I nodded and pointed to every icon, “Package, movement, your home, and you.”

“And how do I get in contact with my staff?”

“It should come with your bags.”

He shook his head, “Staff. Um — people I work with. People who came with me.”

I tapped the pictogram on the display of a gaggle of individuals and pulled up an inventory of his acquaintances. He had seven. My ma, myself, an immigration counselor, and 4 others all flagged as immigrants.

He stood up and put his hand on my shoulder. His hand was warm and despatched warmth operating proper via my shoulder to my chest, neck, and up into my cheeks.

“That’s my girl. What would I do without you?”


Because it turned out, he wouldn’t accomplish much without me. It pleased me to have the ability to assist, to be requested. In the following weeks, I spent each unscheduled second with him. He was like a drug. More metaphorical considering. Every effort on his behalf was rewarded with a smile, a contact, or lengthy seconds of eye-contact.

He needed help discovering an official to talk to. All the knowledge was there if he just spent somewhat time to look, however I did the in search of him. Leon needed a face-to-face assembly. He stored getting written messages, half of which I needed to explain to Leon as a result of the Program Supervisor used so much of iconography in his writing. It never occurred to Leon to lookup the definition for the icon.

It didn’t hassle me. It was another factor I might do that may get me rewarded with reward.

Leon had demanded a video conference. It was defined to him that the Program Manager was non-verbal.

He pointed to the display. “This. This is part of what we are concerned with. How does someone who can’t talk run an immigration program? Shouldn’t he be able to communicate with people?”

I shrugged, “You don’t need him to accommodate you. You can read. The iconography definitions are easy to access.” I smiled in the direction of him, in search of more variety words. “You have me.”

I questioned if Leon was going to lose his hair at the price he was operating his fingers by means of it.

“That isn’t the point,” he stated. “Why is everything so hard here? Your mother, who is supposed to be helping me, hasn’t said two words to me since I arrived.”

The criticism of Ma stung. I stated with out considering, “She has spoken to you. I don’t know how many words. If you asked, she would tell you exactly how many.”

I regretted the words as I watched his face shift, his anger turned in the direction of me. It lasted not even a second then slipped away as if I had imagined it. Perhaps I had. I have issues with imagining how individuals feel.

“Sorry,” he stated. “One of my staff is being reclassified incompetent. She’s a professional diplomat, with decades of adult living, being treated like a child.”

“I’m sorry.” All I might assume was she needed to have broken rather a lot of guidelines to be downgraded. What had she carried out to get reclassified?

He did that factor, the place he learn my thoughts and solutions a question I didn’t ask. “She didn’t do anything. What does untrustworthy speech mean?” He didn’t look forward to a solution. “She is being treated as an imbecile, but someone who can’t even speak is in charge of immigrants? How does this make sense? Is it because we are from Earth?”

His irritated tone was seeping into me. No, that isn’t correct. I allowed my creativeness of his tone to harass me. I tapped on the display by way of a number of icons and pulled up the Program Director’s biography. I used to be guessing he was an immigrant; most people are. The start fee on Acceptance is low despite the incentives.

The Program Director’s historical past flashed up on the display, beginning together with his immigration from Earth. He had a superb work history, no gaps for rest. He was a mannequin of what an grownup must be.

Leon read via, stopping to take a look at me. Finally he shook his head. “I don’t understand. His résumé looks normal. Having someone in charge who won’t — can’t talk to me isn’t normal. This is not normal.” Leon ran his arms over his face and appeared back at me. “And I’m yelling at you when you have nothing to do with this.” He reached out for my hand and took it without hesitation.

I moved nearer to him to seize the warmth. What I needed was a hug.

“I’m sorr–”

His apology was interrupted by the pinging of my appointment reminder. I gave his hand a squeeze. I informed myself it was a hand hug. “I have to go. Speech therapy.”

He shook his head. “That. You talk better than anyone else on this planet, and they send you to speech therapy?”

“My pronunciation and fluency are good. I get to be a model in group sessions for that. But I talk too much. And — I talk about the wrong things. I confuse people.”

“Not on Earth.” He let my hand go. “Come back later? I need your help writing a reply.”

I was too drunk on his want for my assist to question if he actually needed my assistance. No, that isn’t proper. Drunk is a confusing word. I felt about him like the nice and cozy feeling you’ve once you drink just a little too much alcohol. No, that is nonetheless confusing. I favored the best way I felt round him so I didn’t query what he wanted or needed.


Leon was considering of leaving. He was annoyed. He wouldn’t go to remedy. A robotic information had began displaying up on the home to remind him of periods, and he ignored it. He stated he was effective and the therapists have been busy work. He didn’t go to his counselor. He wouldn’t find an curiosity or select a job.

Leon visited together with his buddies — his “staff” — and sent messages to whomever he might about establishing an embassy. I assume that was a sort of interest, however not one recognized by the algorithm for maturity. There’s nothing useful in talking to individuals.

The mess in his room was upsetting Ma — even when his door was closed. She would sneak peeks into his room and then flap her arms when it was as dangerous or worse than she expected. I didn’t understand how much longer she might maintain him. She obtained indignant when she saw him touch me. She was going to melt-a-chip ultimately.

I tried to think about a whole planet where everybody was like me. A world the place I might ask questions and it wouldn’t seem bizarre. You got to be an adult based mostly on your age on Earth. I might simply be an grownup without doing all the work.

Leon all the time seemed where I used to be pointing. A planet of individuals who checked out the place you pointed….

My mind was operating in that path while Leon and I have been on a walk. We had stopped working in his room because it upset Ma. She thought he was touching me and setting my progress again. She wasn’t incorrect. My fingers twined in his as we walked by way of the bamboo fields where it was more durable for individuals to see what we did.

He was depressed. One other employees member had been categorized as incompetent, and Leon himself had been placed on statement. I feel the hand holding made us each feel good. I don’t assume I was being selfish.

“We were sent because of all the immigrants who came back, you know,” he stated. “All the people who went to Acceptance, but only the normal ones returned. We worried that the planet had turned into a trap for the disabled. Those who came back talked about being imprisoned. There were rumors of forced labor camps.”

The breeze rustled the bamboo.

“For the needy?” I stated. “All the needy are cared for.”

He snorted. “At what cost? You have no freedom.”

I shook my head. “You can have whatever job you want. Well, maybe not any job. You can’t do physics like my da does or account management like my ma, but you can do anything you aren’t deficient in. Even if a machine can do it better. Everyone who wants to work can.”

“That’s inefficient. That guy who vacuums your house, for example. On Earth we have little robots that do that.”

“We have that here, too. It’s just Gus loves to vacuum. A robot would just be another item for Ma to worry about. Gus comes when Ma is out, and everyone is happy.”

“It’s meaningless work.”

I needed to say being an ambassador was meaningless once we already had strong trade with Earth. The Program Supervisor wouldn’t record it as an occupation. As an alternative I stated, “Vacuuming isn’t meaningless to Gus.”

There was an extended pause. It wasn’t like him to not speak. He all the time crammed the empty pauses between essential things with fixed chatter. Now, though, the silence was crammed with the creaking of bamboo.

“We are talking about going back,” he stated eventually.

My heart jumped into my throat. No, that isn’t proper. It didn’t truly bounce up into my throat. That’s metaphorical considering.

Impulsively I hugged Leon and put my head on his shoulder.

After a moment’s hesitation, he put his arms around me.

“Can’t you stay?” I requested.

He sighed. “It doesn’t look that way.” He rubbed my again together with his warm palms.

“You don’t have to be an emissary. You could do something else, anything else, like Gus.”

He stroked my hair. “I gave up lots to return here, to help resolve issues; to protect Earth’s citizens from being taken advantage of. A consulate doesn’t have a function if nobody will negotiate. It’s like they don’t even see there’s a drawback.

“We’re going. The real question is if we keep trying or we agree to hibernation while waiting for the return ship to have enough passengers. I’m leaning towards hibernation. Acceptance will never see the point until Earth stops allowing emigration.”

Within the back of my mind it occurred to me he wasn’t explaining this to me however justifying it to himself. He was going, sooner fairly than later.

“Then, take me with you.” I put my thoughts into motion and kissed him. It was awkward, lacking half of his mouth, and reduce brief by him pushing me roughly away.

“What are you doing?”

“I love you. Take me with you. I belong with you.” I stepped closer to him.

Leon grabbed my shoulders and held me at a stiff arm’s size. “Ada…”

“Leon, please.” I might really feel tears burning in my eyes. No, that isn’t right. They don’t burn like hearth. It was that scorching feeling when tears are coming.

“I don’t think of you that way. I’m…Your…,” he stammered. “I think of you as a daughter.”

As a daughter. He thought of me as a toddler.

“You aren’t even an adult–”

“I could be by the time we got to Earth,” I interrupted. “I could join you when I’m eighteen Earth years. I’ll have to do the math, but I could be an adult when you wake-up.”

“Ada…I didn’t mean to give you the wrong idea.”

He had handled me like an adult to get what he needed from Acceptance. He didn’t want me. He didn’t want me. He wasn’t needy. All those hours dedicated to discovering info for him, explaining the iconography, and the touching; he didn’t need me in any respect. He might have managed without me. He was simply — egocentric.

I twisted out of his grip and ran.

He didn’t call after me. He didn’t chase me.

I wasn’t even that essential.


I was upset sufficient once I obtained residence that Ma observed.

“What’s…what’s…wrong?” She requested.

I lied. “Nothing,” I stated as I went into my room. I might hear mom echo my word, “Nothing,” as I closed and locked the door.

Normally that might be enough. Ma all the time believed me. If I advised her the sky was blue, like Earth, she would consider me. No, that isn’t true. She would verify.

Ma overrode the privateness lock on my door and got here in. “Nothing. Nothing.” She paused. “Sometimes I think…think letting your da have his space was the wrong choice. You’re…are…so needy, you need two parents.”

Her words stung like a knife in my chest. No, that wasn’t right. Words are usually not knives. It harm my thoughts, not my chest.

I sat up in bed. “Da wouldn’t have helped. I’m just too stupid.”

She sat next to me and shook her head. “Stupid. Stupid. I need to tell you in words…words…what I think of you. Stupid.” She paused again, to place her words together. “You’re smart, just different smart. Smart. Different smart can get you…you in trouble. People from Earth are always asking for more. More. If you don’t know how to say no, they will use…use up all your time.”

“Both you and da are from Earth,” I stated.

She reached out and patted the back of my hand in a clumsy rhythm to her echo. “From Earth. From Earth. Don’t interrupt me.” There was an extended pause as she put her thoughts back collectively. “We didn’t belong on Earth. I worked for half the pay of the NT. I lived in a group home because no one believed…believed…no one trusted me. When I decided to come to Acceptance, I had to go to court. They tried to have me declared incompetent. They didn’t want me and they would not…would…would not let me leave.”

She started to echo again as she found the subsequent set of words. “Leave. Leave. I could pay cash to go to another planet, but they were saying I couldn’t go because I talked differently. Differently. I think differently. Differently. Differently. Differently. Differently.” She flapped her palms. “It wasn’t much different for your father. They lied to him. The neurotypicals, they lie a lot. Neurotypicals. NTs. They are better at it than you are. If he is making you promises, you can’t believe him. Believe him.”

I blinked again tears. “He doesn’t want me. They’re going back to Earth, and he doesn’t want me.”

Ma did probably the most surprising thing then. She hugged me. It was bony and stiff, nevertheless it was a hug. She didn’t let go, both. She stayed in my arms till I was achieved crying.

The order came in for Leon to be moved earlier than he received again to the house that night. Ma was good at fast selections. Da would have simply stood in the lounge for hours before deciding what to do. It was good I had Ma.

I didn’t watch Leon go. I didn’t ask the place he was going. I stayed in my room and enjoyed my quiet time. I deleted him from my contacts.


I had spent weeks ignoring assembly requests from Leon. He needed to talk face-to-face, as if that may change the best way he had used me. I used to be indignant, which Ma stated was a superb thing. She took us off the hosting registry.

Ma was glad to get rid of the empty room. It was variety of cool to observe the movers come and carry the guest room off our home. In less than an hour, the upkeep bots and two men — one who shouted dirty phrases to the rhythm of his work — had fastened up our house as if we had never hosted. Once I was littler, I had imagined it will be nice to have Tourette Syndrome. That was stupid. There is a difference between eager to say things and needing to.

The final meeting request from Leon was exhausting to disregard, although. He requested to satisfy on the elevator to the ships. Even by tube it might take the better part of a day to get there, but he included the credit for the journey. He stated they have been for me to keep even if I didn’t come. That made me mad.

I stayed mad most of the best way there, especially once I thought concerning the time I lost. I might have been working on math, and I had to cancel appointments. Was he really an ambassador, or was that something he made as much as get individuals to do issues for him? I’d been asking individuals about Earth. I wasn’t fooled by the shiny VR exhibits anymore. Earth needed our know-how, our patents.

I went with out telling Ma. She would have tried to stop me or needed to return with me. I wanted to face him myself. I needed to ask my questions.

I wasn’t mad by the time he joined me at the rail overlooking the loading zone for the elevator. Something had occurred between residence and there. One thing clicked into place as I watched a sandwich cart individual tiptoe her method down the aisle. She was using a speech board and was sluggish.  One passenger gave her cash and had to help her rely out the change. She wasn’t unable. She was in a position with help and she or he was comfortable. I didn’t know that for positive. I didn’t ask. She seemed comfortable.

Leon typically appeared pleased and wasn’t. It didn’t matter if he was for real or a liar. He wasn’t pleased here.

“You cut your hair,” he stated.

I turned my head to take a look at him, wishing I had my hair to flip, but I had reduce it off when he moved out.

“I liked it better in the other style.”

I shrugged. “It doesn’t matter what you like.”

“Ada — I know I hurt you. You felt led-on. I understand, but you don’t belong here. You’re normal. You should be on Earth where you can live like a normal person. Come with me.”

“No.” I turned the remaining of the best way to face him full on.

Behind him, at a respectful distance, have been two Keepers. He wasn’t even trusted as a toddler. Someplace along the best way he had been categorised as bodily dangerous. It was probably all that touching.

“I checked. You don’t have to be an adult to leave. You can come.” He reached for me.

His Keepers tensed and took a step closer.

I took a step away from him. “You aren’t listening. I don’t want to go to Earth. An entire planet where everyone is demanding more than they need? No wonder we get so many immigrants.”

I seemed up into the orange sky. You possibly can rely the daytime stars that have been ships in orbit. Two ships sat waiting to be full sufficient to justify a visit back to Earth, one with hibernating passengers. Eight extra have been in numerous states of being dismantled. We didn’t ship bodily goods to Earth, besides of course immigrants who didn’t need to stay.

I resisted the urge to level. “We get three ships for every one that leaves. More people stay than go back. They left Earth and they stay. There isn’t a problem with Acceptance. The problem is with you.”

“I’ve been imprisoned.”

I doubted that. “Are you being prevented from leaving Acceptance?”

He shook his head.

“Tens of thousands of immigrants come on each ship,” I stated. “People who are scientists, mathematicians, and vacuum cleaners. There is room for all of them here. There is room for you, too, but you won’t accept it. You want us to bend to you.”

“Please, don’t let our misunderstanding stop you from going to Earth. You belong there.”

I turned again to the railing and gripped it. “A planet full of people demanding what they want instead of what they need? The ability to make small talk isn’t a sign of intelligence. It’s a symptom of a disease. Yes, I’d fit in, but I don’t want to.” I let go and began to stroll away.

Leon lunged for my sleeve, to grab me like he did that very first day. The Keepers moved in to stop him. I might hear the crackle of a taser. The rule is you retain your arms to yourself.

I didn’t look back to see if he followed. What he did didn’t have an effect on what I used to be doing. I was going house where I was needed, the place Ma waited for me.

At the very least now, I knew what I might do for an occupation. A third of every ship of immigrants didn’t know the difference between wanting and needing. I might be a information and provides the neurotypical what they needed. I might train them they have been not on an NT world. We cared for individuals’s wants on Acceptance.  You want, actually need, you ask. In any other case, you serve.

I had a spring in my step as I walked away. No, there I’m going again with metaphorical considering. I walked with a bounce in my step as a result of I was pleased.