The First Day
Sunlight poured into my small, yet cozy, room. The sky-blue walls lit up as light filtered in. I blinked my eyes open and yawned. I smiled as I sat up and stretched. My life was perfect. I was adopted by Crayon as a little blue Tuskaninny when my first owner got “too old” to play Neopets. Crayon kept me healthy and full. She even painted me Strawberry! I thought nothing could interrupt my ideal life. Sadly, I was mistaken.
I noticed something different that day about Crayon, although it had been going on for months. How could I have been so blind! Crayon had been visiting the pound boards recently. Sometimes, I went with her, not noticing how she looked greedily at the Draiks up for trade. This day, though, she wasn’t surfing the pound, or looking at the wonderful pets there. No, she decided it was time. Time to trade me out, her Tuska, for some more room. I’d forgotten her dream to have a royal-girl Draik. I’d not noticed how she had been saving up.
“WN Strawberry Tuskaninny UFA!” the board title yelled. This wasn’t happening. Now I realized how the other pets felt. Like rare items being auctioned off. People came flooding in. Some complimented me and I nodded and smiled weakly. Just because I was being auctioned off didn’t mean I forgot my manners.
Crayon stood protectively beside me. I started inching away from her, not sure what to feel. Plenty of people were saying how interested they were. Crayon turned down the numerous offers to trade. “I want her in a good and loving home” was all Crayon would tell them. So she still cared, a little at least. After she chatted with some people for a bit, the board dwindled off. Crayon looked me in the eyes.
“Tuska,” she began “I...”
I didn’t hear the rest. I ran home as fast as I could, which is pretty hard when you have no feet. I slammed the door noisily behind me.
“Tuska, what...” my brother Manu began.
I ran into my room and flopped down on my bed. I felt drained, empty of the love Crayon filled me up with. I thought I was her pet forever, that she loved me. Where did the special bond between pets and owners go? My eyes welled up. My ideal life was turning into a nightmare. I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next morning I felt as happy and content as yesterday’s morning. Then a whole new wave of sadness drowned me and my heart tugged as the memories came back to me. I walked across my room slowly; I couldn’t hide from the truth forever. I saw Crayon sitting on our couch, going through piles and piles of neomails. She sorted them quickly just by reading the first few sentences. Curious of what was going on, I ventured closer pushing my sadness into the back of my mind for a moment. I picked up a neomail from a pile, expecting it to be snatched from my hands. Crayon just looked at me with big sad eyes. “Hi Crayon, this is an application for Tuska...” The neomail read. I looked up at Crayon with a look of horror on my face.
“You can help pick out your... new owner, if you want,” Crayon told me weakly.
New owner. The words rang in my ears. It seemed unreal, like a dream. I staggered backwards, like I was hit, and then dashed into the kitchen. Her clear words were still ringing in my ears. New owner. I rummaged through the fridge suddenly realizing how hungry I was. I grabbed the biggest tub of ice cream I could find and ran back up to my room, my personal sanctuary. It’s where I used to go whenever I needed to think, and I sure needed to think. As I sat there eating my ice cream, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How long until I’m stuck in a house full of strangers saying how much they’ll love me? Then they’ll turn around and trade me off for something better. It’s a never-ending cycle.” There they were again. Tears.
When I woke up the next morning, a yellow envelope was on my floor. It was another application for me. I just skimmed through the letter. It seemed pretty average to me. Then I read the reply. “She’s yours.” I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. The bucket of ice cream didn’t help either. I stumbled numbly down the stairs.
“When am I...?” I couldn’t finish. The tears ate up my words.
“Today,” Crayon replied blankly with tears in her eyes.
“Good,” I thought bitterly, “I’m glad she’s as miserable as me.” I tightened my lips and brushed the tears from my eyes. I’d cried enough the past few days.
I stayed emotionless as she dragged me to the pound. “That’s not Crayon,” I thought. “Crayon will come and take me back home and she’ll tell me how much she loves me.” I kept on repeating that lie in my head. As we got closer and closer though, I started to doubt my lie. The strange robotic Hissi led us in the giant silver pound door. I couldn’t help but stare in awe at the beautiful scenery around me. The transfer station was so clean and precise. Everything looked so elegant and modern, yet casual at the same time. The pets were another story. I only counted two plain coloured pets, going to their owner’s main account, they seemed pretty happy. Some of the pets there had puffy, red eyes from crying, much like mine. Like me, it seemed they were new. Their heartbreaking eyes looked franticly around the room, taking it all in. Most seemed emotionless, though. Like they’d been traded one too many times.
Crayon steered me towards a corner where a short girl stood. She had long wavy hair and was chewing her lip anxiously as she looked around. Then she saw us. Her face brightened immediately as she saw her prize. Me. I resisted Crayon even more now, but she pulled me along as if I weighed nothing.
“Here she is,” Crayon said, gesturing to me.
The girl smiled at me. I didn’t move. If I did, I’d probably have burst out into tears.
“I see,” the girl said.
“Well, bye,” Crayon replied awkwardly. Crayon was never really a social person. I watched her walk out the heavy metal door. She didn’t look back.
“Hi, I’m Sinqua,” the girl said, smiling.
I couldn’t help it. I burst out into tears. Everyone was looking at us, and my lime green cheeks tinted red. Sinqua didn’t seem to mind the attention though. She sat down on the floor and pulled me into her lap. She rocked me back and forth, whispering comforting words into my ears. Eventually I stopped crying and looked up at her.
“Shall we try this again?” she asked jokingly.
“Ok,” I mumbled. I didn’t really feel like talking.
“I’m Sinqua. I’m going to be your new owner,” she said, flashing a grin at me.
“I’m Tuska,” I said. “Your not going to trade me off, are you?”
Sinqua raised her eyebrows at me and shook her head. “No. When I take in a pet, they become a part of my family. Would you like to go home?”
I nodded; I could hardly contain my happiness. So there was still that special bond between owners and pets after all.
“Welcome,” Sinqua said as we approached the front door, “to the first day of the rest of your life.”