There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 178,230,078 Issue: 407 | 28th day of Hiding, Y11
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Empathetic Raindrops


by sylviau

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The depression associated with grey pets is not often actually present in such a pet’s life. In fact, many grey pets actually live satisfied and happy lives. There are, however, those odd exceptions; pets who are mentally depressed because they have not yet found their place in the world. Such was the story of Tettrets.

     The wind howled and sleet pounded against the foggy window of the neohome’s kitchen. Tettrets sighed, and his soft grey Kyrii ears drooped. It was always like this around him. As if the weather itself adjusted to his mood, as if the wind howled a song of misery just for him.

     He paused from his silent, motionless vigil by the window to softly caress a single red rose that stood in a vase, which rested on the windowsill. At his touch, the majestic flower wilted, and its gentle petals drooped. He sighed again, and stared out the window once more.

     Grey pets are often misunderstood. It is not misfortune that causes this depressing atmosphere. It is the very presence of the grey pet. Because Tettrets felt so down, he actually projected his inward depression and affected the atmosphere around him. That’s why the sleet pounded and grey skies were always present above their neohome.

     His family put up with him. Truly they were a blessing. They loved him, and gave him everything he needed, and he hated to impose himself on them. But he could not for the life of him find anything to smile about. He had even refused the petpets that his owner bought him; he didn’t want to sadden the poor creatures. He was not fit to take care of anyone.

     As he sat there, mourning for his pathetic self, Buennita came in, and immediately the rain lightened to a soft drizzle. Nobody could deny the aura of happiness that radiated from that baby Ixi.

     Shaking the wetness from her fur, she smiled at him.

     “Been sitting here feeling sorry for yourself?” she scolded. “You don’t have to be like this, Tress,” she added in a softer tone, using her childhood nickname for him. “Life would be so much easier if you just accepted it, and stop expecting things to be miserable all the time.”

     She had a point there. She was young, but her words were wise.

     “I don’t know how you can stand the rain,” he mumbled absentmindedly, as he watched the wilted flower sink lower in its vase. “It’s so depressing.”

     “It is not,” she contradicted. “It’s wonderful. Haven’t you ever tried dancing in it?”

     She took his meaningful silence as an insult. “You’d love the rain if you just gave it a try. You can make it rain anytime, but it’s always the depressing rain that follows you around.”

     “Hey, that weepy grey cirrus was not my fault and you know it,” he joked, for the first time in ages. But his voice was strained; there was no humour in it.

     Buennita gave a half hearted smile. “Rain is the essence of life.” She brought the vase over to the sink, and filled it up with water. In her loving arms, in the presence of her optimistic attitude, it stood no chance, and immediately returned to its crisp, brilliant crimson colour.

     She spared it one glowing look before her smile faded, and she said seriously, “Come on, Tress; just give it a chance.”

     At that moment their owner got home. Breathless and soaked to the skin, but nevertheless happy, she dropped the bags on the table and sank into a chair.

     “Good, you’re home,” she said, as she caught her breath.

     “Tress has been moping again,” Buennita tattled as she dove into one of the bags, searching for the cookie that was no doubt hidden at the bottom.

     “Ah, Tettrets,” Sylvia murmured as she got up to make them something to eat. She needn’t say anything more to make him regret his neglectful behaviour.

     “I can paint you a different colour if you’d like,” she offered, though he could hear the wistfulness in her voice. “Or the Lab again.”

     The Lab. It was what changed him in the first place. He had come far from the yellow Blumaroo he once was when Sylvia found him. But he would not take up her offer, even if he thought it would change his attitude.

     “I saw our droolik on the way home,” Sylvia commented. “Down by the pond.”

     “What droolik?” inquired Tettrets, snapping out of his thoughts.

     “Sometimes you can be sooo out of it, Tress,” Buennita said, rolling her eyes. “Your latest rejected petpet. It ran away last week, and we never bothered chasing after it.”

     “Though I’m sure that cirrus was a bit happier when I repainted him,” laughed Sylvia.

     While they spoke, Tettrets pulled out his sketch pad and began doodling on it, careful not to touch the rose again. It was a while before it dawned on him that Sylvia had left the room; it was just him and Buennita now.

     “Is that a self-representation?” she asked, looking over his shoulder.

     He looked down and realized that he’d sketched a rather depressed looking ukali.

     “Really Tress, what are you waiting for? You’ve got your whole life on hold because you don’ know who you are. Go find yourself.”

     “There’s a storm blocking my way,” he replied solemnly, staring back at her with his big sad eyes. “Sometimes you’ve got to wait ‘til the sun comes out.”

     “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” And with that quote she left the room, leaving him alone to ponder her words.

     He began to doodle absentmindedly again. He tried to ignore Buennita’s words, but he couldn’t shake off the feeling that she was right. But that was preposterous. Dancing in the rain? He sat there some more, until restlessness go the better of him.

     Unable to sit there any more, he got up, and with a sigh, shuffled through the door into the drizzling outdoors.

     The rain wasn’t all that bad actually. He tilted his head upward and let the cool rain wash over him. For the first time in a while, he was oddly content. His worries seemed almost foolish for a moment. Distracted by his thoughts, it was a while before he noticed the soft whimpering that was coming from nearby.

     Determined to find its source, he followed it towards the edge of the yard. Just beyond it was a magnificent pond. Sparkling like moonlight on diamonds, its mystical water shifted constantly as the rain mixed with its glowing surface.

     And on a small flat rock in the water stood the terrified whimpering droolik. It stared pleadingly at Tettrets, cautiously shifting on the rock as the water level rose, and threatened to suck the poor thing under.

     “I know how you feel, little buddy,” said Tettrets. “I’ll give you a hand.”

     Positioning himself on an elevated patch of ground, he reached out and tried to grasp the poor petpet. But the rock was too far away, and overbalancing, Tettrets plunged headfirst into the water.

     He emerged from its surface breathless, and a startled laugh escaped his lips. The droolik, seizing its chance, promptly hopped from its rock, and dropped onto his head.

     “Well, seeing as I’m already drenched,” laughed Tettrets, “I might as well.” Crawling out of the pond, he put his sopping droolik down. Taking one last look at the pond, he began to twirl. Arms spread wide, head tilted back, he spun until his droolik bounded up to him and caused him to trip.

     Laughing with elation, he pulled the silly petpet forward, the world still spinning around him. He lay on his back and stared at the sky, letting the raindrops fall on them both.

     “I’ll call you Empathy,” he murmured happily, sitting up. All his worries notwithstanding, he knew that he had finally found happiness.

     “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

The End

 
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