We Truly Were
Leaves rustled in the cool fall air. A whisper of despair calling out into the openness.
I was at my windowsill, plucking at the flowers in the hanging blossom pot above me. My curtains swirled gracefully and swung against my soft tail. I grabbed it and hugged it tight to my body.
Felicia opened the door; my owner. A few flyers lay crumpled in her scrunched up hand as her other swept her sweaty brow with a napkin. A pencil was tucked behind her large ears, almost hidden by her brown hoop earrings. Her hair was ruffled and tied into a loose bun, and her clothes had just been slapped on. Her eyes were red and had purple bags underneath of them from the lack of sleep. She, too, was worried.
“Dejordanii isn’t coming back, is he?” I asked, cupping a torn rose petal with my paws, “He’s gone for good now, right?”
Felicia collapsed beside me and stroked my hair. “Detective Alpini dug up some news; Dejordanii took himself to the pound. He is, and it’s the law, with a new owner now.” She sighed loudly. “I scheduled a visit with his new parent. We’ll see him tomorrow.”
A tear fell down my pink fur. “Why did he leave?” I sobbed, tossing the rose petal away. It fluttered to the ground and landed in a pool of water, where it floated around like a sailboat; like a free sailboat. “He had everything here; family, friends, happiness, food, water, a roof over his selfish head-”
“I don’t know. But it’s time for supper. How about some minestrone soup?” she asked. I nodded and Felicia left, leaving her flyers behind.
I picked them up. The Neopets in the advertisements were happy. They were contentedly eating their food, or playing on their toys, or even wearing their tacky outfits. One looked like a mirror-image of me; a pink Usul with the same sort of cowlick on the nape of their neck. Then I saw a red Jetsam; it looked just like Dejordanii. A few old tear stains crowded around its face like an out-of-order halo; Felicia had seen it too.
I folded it neatly back up and placed it on the windowsill. The rose petal which had fallen into the puddle then sank, leaving ripples across the smooth water.
“Rash, dinner!” Felicia called. Rash is my nickname; my real name is Rashaita, such a mouthful. And Dejordanii, we’d just call him Dej-
I took him off of my mind. He is my brother – well, used to be my brother. He was a red Jetsam, like I said before. And for some reason, he ran away.
I headed to our kitchen. Two full and steaming bowls of minestrone sat at either end of our table. Some cornbread sat on the center of it with some fresh butter sliding across it. I took a seat.
“It’s good,” I lied, sipping the soup. The truth is, I could barely taste it; I had too many things going on for me to decipher what flavors my soup had. “New recipe?”
“Nah, it came from a box.” Felicia grinned, soup dribbling down her dimpled chin, “Can you imagine that? Soup in a box? Really?”
I giggled. We then ate quietly, only talking about the cornbread or how the new sports were going.
“Tomorrow,” Felicia said suddenly, “will be a rough day. Do you realize that?”
I only nodded, draining the last of the soup from my bowl. It felt grainy going down my dry throat.
“They live in Neopia Central too; only two blocks from here. It won’t be much of a walk.” Felicia bit into her cornbread and ate thoughtfully. When she swallowed, she got up and poured us two cups of orange juice. “Act normal tomorrow, and don’t dress up.”
I only nodded, not daring to question her proposal. I headed off to bed early, dreading the next day.
When I awoke the next morning, I got dressed quickly. I headed downstairs and ate my oatmeal quickly. Felicia was so anxious that she stuttered and walked around like a bedazzled chicken.
Finally, we left. It was still early in the morning, and the chilly mist clung to my fur and my sparkly bow. Felicia brought a large tub of things that Dejordanii had left behind; things such as food, toys, Neopoints and even clothes.
We soon arrived at the house. It was old, made with pasty cream-coloured bricks. Vines were everywhere; creeping along the house, braided along the gate, swept across the fencing and even lay on the pathway. It was a tripping hazard, and the stumbling Felicia almost fell into a nearby flowerpot full of prickly roses.
We knocked on the large oak door. A head stuck out immediately; an old one, covered in wrinkles and wispy strands of gray hair. When they saw us, they grimaced, baring yellow teeth laced with spinach and bits of crusty old bread.
“Who is it?” they croaked, about to shut the door, “It’s so early.”
“It’s Felicia, Dejordanii’s past owner. Here is my Rash... Rashaita!” she blushed with her mistake, “Not my rash, I haven’t any, I don’t react to much, only some sorts of plants, and say, what a collection of vines you have, I only have houseplants, and they aren’t very inter-” she stopped rambling and her face turned into the colour of roses. “May we come in?” she said shyly.
“I’m Telilah, thank-you for asking,” the old woman said harshly in a sarcastic tone, “And you may only come in for a while.”
Her house smelled of prunes and cheese. Picture frames loaded the walls, covering the maroon lion wallpaper. Antique furniture lay everywhere, and dust floated through the air in wads, like combined snowflakes. The ceiling creaked and a cobweb landed on my nose. I brushed it off.
“Dejordanii is eating breakfast. Come along.” Telilah groaned, leading us into a small kitchenette. Dejordanii was sitting at the table, eating marmalade on a burnt bit of toast. When he saw us, he bared his teeth.
“Hi, Dejo!” I blurted out, and then I covered my mouth. He ignored his nickname and bit menacingly into his toast.
“I thought I had seen the last of you!” he growled, drinking from a small milk carton, “At least, I had hoped I had.”
Felicia stepped forward. “We gave you a loving home. Food, water, clothes, shelter, Neopoints, and care,” she said solemnly, a sad gleam shimmering in her eyes, “Why did you leave us, Dejordanii?”
He looked angry. “You liked Rashaita better! You loved her more than me! You treated her like a queen and me like a servant!” he shouted, “Go! Just go! Leave my new home!”
Telilah faced Felicia. “Please go now. You have upset my beloved son.” She scowled. “And you wonder why he left you?”
Felicia and I left. She cried all the way home and went straight to her room after she took off her boots and jacket. I let her be.
When she came down, her face was contorted and red. She sighed and ruffled my hair.
“Was I really that mean?” Her voice wavered. “Did I favor you more?”
I shook my head ‘no’, and she sighed with relief. “I miss him.” She stroked my head, “I truly do. But at least I have you, my sweet. And I am grateful for that.”
“We’re perfectly fine without him,” I concurred. And, in fact, we truly were.