A Tale of a Strawberry
Strawberry stared at the sky blue backpack lying on the floor. She wasn’t going.
“Strawberry!” her mother called in a hurried voice.
Strawberry didn’t say anything at all. She still was not going, and that was final!
Just then her mother burst through Strawberry’s bright pink bedroom door.
“Strawberry! For the last time, answer me when I call for you,” her mother scolded.
Strawberry stared up at her mother. Her mother was a short rainbow Usul who took her mothering job very seriously. She always made sure that Strawberry and her sister; Cloud ate their vegetables and went to school on time.
Today was the two sisters’ first day of school. Strawberry was going into the fourth grade at Clover Elementary School and Cloud, who was a few years older than Strawberry, would be going into the seventh grade at Rainbow Middle School.
Of course, Strawberry could still be going to her old school. She had to leave all her friends behind on Mystery Island for her mother’s new job. Now she was stuck in Neopia Central, which seemed to be the most boring place in all of Neopia. Not only that, but she knew everyone would make fun of her. She was a strawberry Usul named Strawberry. It couldn’t get any worse than being painted and named after a food.
“Strawberry, if you don’t get going right this minute you’ll be late,” her mother told her.
“Fine, I’ll go. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Strawberry finally said.
She quickly ran into the bathroom and tied two green bows on her ears (one for each ear) and tied a bigger one around her tail. She stared into the tall bathroom mirror. ‘If only I didn’t look like a Strawberry,’ she thought to herself.
“I’m coming, Mom!” she called.
She quickly ran through the red front door, grabbing her bag on the way. She hopped over to her cherry-red bike and began pedaling towards the school.
After a while of riding her bike through streets, up and down hills, and past other buildings, Strawberry was finally standing in front of her new school. She jumped off her bike and walked it over to the bike rack. She took out the matching red lock to her bike and locked it in. Strawberry wildly looked around the playground. All the pets looked perfectly normal. Nobody seemed to be a strawberry, a biscuit, custard, or any other strange color. Strawberry was the only one. She then watched how everyone was playing and what color and species they were.
Five minutes later and Strawberry was still watching everyone. She was trying to decide who looked nice, who looked mean, and who would understand what she was going through.
Just then the sound of a bell echoed through the playground. All the neopets quickly scurried to their lines and waited for their teacher to come out. Each line number had one letter and one number in it. Strawberry’s was 4C. She watched in the distance as her new classmates lined up. Any though she didn’t want to, she would have to line up. Strawberry’s knees began to shake and her stomach felt like a hurricane of butterflies was flying around in it. She began walking towards her line. She felt like she was going to be sick. When she was just a few feet away she began to here all the other neopets whispering into each other’s ears.
“What is she supposed to be?” “Maybe Boochi’s gun wasn’t working right and he zapped her into a strawberry.” “Do you think she ate too many strawberries?” “Maybe her mother is a blueberry.” And the last comment Strawberry was able to hear was “She looks funny. She doesn’t belong here.”
Just then a kind looking yellow Gelert walked up to their line carrying a clipboard.
“Hello, class. I am your teacher, Miss. Star. I will be your teacher for the rest of the school year. Follow me to the class room,” the yellow Gelert introduced herself.
The class followed Miss. Star into a normal sized classroom with exactly twenty desks and chairs for the students. The desks were in rows of fives. A large desk was at the front of the room with a big comfy chair behind it for the teacher. Behind the large desk was a green chalkboard with five different colored chalks. There was a line of coat and backpack hooks for the kids to put their stuff on. Finally, there was a small blue couch in the corner next to a shelf of books.
“Please, sit down in any desk you may like. You will sit there for the rest of the time in this semester,” Miss. Star told the class.
Strawberry just stood there staring at all the desks. ‘Where should I go?’ she thought. ‘If I sit in the back they will all turn and stare at me, if I sit in the front they could hit me with spitballs in the back of the head, and if I sit in the middle, I’ll get both of them at the same time.’
Finally, she decided to sit in the very front. ‘It was silly to think that they would hit me with spitballs. I’ve never seen anyone do that before,’ she thought to herself.
After doing some math, reading, and an interesting science lesson, it was time for lunch. Strawberry grinned to herself. Maybe it wasn’t going to be terrible here. ‘Everyone probably won’t have friends because it’s the first day. I’ll make lots of them at lunch!’ Strawberry thought smiling.
She was still smiling when they got to the cafeteria. She sat down at one of the tables and opened up her lime green lunch box. She pulled out her peanut butter sandwich and happily took a bite.
“What are you grinning about, you berry?” a royal boy Korbat asked her floating down next to her.
“Yeah, I thought berries can’t smile!” a blue Xweetok said walking up to Strawberry and the royal Korbat.
“I’m not a strawberry!!!” Strawberry yelled all of a sudden.
Everyone grew quiet. Except for the blue Xweetok. Obviously they still wanted to talk.
“Poor Usul. Doesn’t know it’s a strawberry,” the blue Xweetok said putting on a pretend sad face even though it knew perfectly well what Strawberry meant.
Everyone burst out laughing. Strawberry began to feel tears streaming down her cheeks. She felt terrible. Why couldn’t they have stayed in Mystery Island where nobody would make fun of her? Why did she even have to be a strawberry? She jumped out of her chair and ran for the big brown doors. A faerie Wocky tripped her before she could reach them. Strawberry fell to the hard floor. She stung all over and just as she pushed the door open someone the royal Korbat began to speak again.
“I am Tim, she is Rita, and she is Lucky don’t you forget it!” the Korbat sang first pointing to the blue Xweetok and then to the faerie Wocky. “We are the rulers; break our rules, and you’ll hate school,” Lucky joined in. “We are the best, better than the rest, yell at us and we will get you back, for we are the rulers of this school so you better think before you act!” Rita sang finishing the song.
Strawberry was too stunned to move. Back at her old school, Green Palm Tree, nobody sang in the middle of lunch. ‘It must be their team song or something,’ Strawberry thought.
Before anyone else could laugh or point at her, she had ran out of the cafeteria and out to the playground. She quickly hid behind a tree in the field and stayed there until recess was over.
“Strawberry is a strawberry! Strawberry is a strawberry!” Lucky, Rita, and Tim chanted as they followed Strawberry on her way home. Tears began to well up in her eyes and she began to pedal even faster than before. The three were way too fast on their bikes for her. Strawberry quickly pointed to her left at a nearby park.
“Look! It's Dr. Sloth with his Grundo minions!” Strawberry quickly yelled.
Rita, Tim, and Lucky stopped quickly and looked over to where Strawberry was pointing.
“Where?” they all asked after looking over the area, careful not to miss anything. But when they turned all they saw was an empty street and in the distance they heard a mournful cry.
Strawberry pedaled her red bike quickly as she tried to hold in her tears. She hated Neopia Central. She hated her school. She hated her class. And most of all, she hated herself. She came to an abrupt halt when she saw her house. She slowly walked up the driveway and into the garage.
As she was just finishing standing her bike up something caught her eye. She slowly moved past the boxes. As she pushed a stack of boxes to the side, she saw something that she never planned to see. A small gray door had been behind the boxes. ‘SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX’ the sign on it read. Strawberry quickly took a glance around before turning the copper handle and opening the door.
A small room was behind the door. It had boring gray walls and a cold stone floor. Hundreds of old, forgotten items lay around the room. Just then something sparkling that was lying on top of a stone table caught her eye. She slowly approached the item. Once Strawberry was very close to the item, she picked it up and studied it. It was a sparkling green paintbrush. She thought about running to the Rainbow Pool right then and painting herself. She would love to be green. But then her heart sank as she remembered that she had no idea where the Rainbow Pool was. She had to ask her mom about it. She slowly put the paintbrush down and walked out of the room.
“Mom!” Strawberry called when she stepped into the house.
The rainbow Usul quickly scurried into the room and gave Strawberry a hug.
“How did you like school?” her mother asked.
Strawberry wanted to tell her that school was terrible and how much she hated it. But she knew that it was best just to change the subject to the green paintbrush as quickly as she could.
“It was fine, I guess,” she lied. “Mom? Can I be painted green?”
Strawberry held her breath. Her mom just stared at her.
“Why on Neopia would you want to be green? You look very nice when painted strawberry, and not to mention, I did spend a lot of money on your paintbrush,” her mother replied.
“Well, a lot of kids make fun of me at school. I hate it. I want to be normal like everyone else,” Strawberry explained sadly.
“Oh Strawberry, don’t listen to them. They are jealous,” her mother assured her.
“I don’t think so. And by the way, why did you paint and name me Strawberry? I mean, don’t you think it's strange?” Strawberry asked.
“I named you and painted you that way because its what fits you. The same with your sister except she is painted Cloud,” her mother explained.
“You mean I’m boring and strange?” Strawberry asked her mother, beginning to feel hurt. This conversation was just making her feel worse.
“No, of course not. You are kind, sweet, gentle, and warm-hearted like a strawberry. Your sister is quiet and daydreams like a cloud. Strawberry, you are who you are and you and nobody can change you,” Strawberry’s mother softly told her. “You should be proud of that.”
The next day Strawberry was nearing the school when Tim, Rita, and Lucky began their chanting again.
“Strawberry is a strawberry! Strawberry is a strawberry!” she chanted.
This time, instead of yelling at them she turned around and gave them a big smile.
“Why, thank you,” she said.
From that day on, Strawberry was a strawberry, and Strawberry was proud of it.