The Return: Part Two
I lay in my bed for a long while. I heard Jen and the others crying and agreeing never to separate again. Actually, no. I didn’t hear Zypher’s voice. Still, Storm and Shaz were idiots. How could they just forgive her like that? How could they forget how she left us for three years? I realized that I was angrier about her hiatus than I had let on when she left. I had stayed strong for the others’ benefits, but now that she was back, I could hardly contain my anger for her departure.
‘I hate you,’ I thought angrily to her. And angrily to myself.
Did I hate myself? In a way, yes. One reason was because I didn’t have the nerve to say “I hate you” to Jen’s face. The other was because of the sad state of our household. Had I been warned that Jen was coming back, maybe a week in advance, I would have never left the Games Room. I would have made as many Neopoints as possible so that I could prove to her that I could take care of the family perfectly fine on my own. But no, instead she came back to a household living off of omelettes and jellies, so poor that we couldn’t even waste a rotten one that ended up getting Storm sick. I hated myself for how badly I took care of them.
I buried my face in my pillow and choked back the tears, just in case Jen walked in. If I couldn’t show her I was responsible enough to take care of the family, then by Fyora I would show her that I was strong enough not to cry in my room like a baby.
I sniffed a little more, flipped my pillow over to the dry side, and got up. I grabbed a book from the bookshelf, sat back down on the bed, and opened it up to a random page. I read the words but didn’t take in any of what I was reading. Pretty soon I finished the book and it exploded. Great, now there was purple smoke all over my bedroom.
“ARGHHHH,” I shouted angrily, tears swimming in my eyes.
I heaved myself off the bed and shoved my window open. I beat my wings angrily, trying to get that stupid smoke out of my bedroom. I coughed as I inhaled it and waved my hands crazily, trying to push the smoke out.
I heard a knock on the door and spun around screaming, “WHAT??????”
A shocked Zypher stood in the doorway.
“I-I just wanted to check on you, to make sure you were okay,” he stammered.
He looked so scared of me and so concerned at the same time. I broke down crying again.
He stared at me, eyes wide, before closing my door. He grabbed a vacuum from my closet and waved it around in the air. He sucked up the smoke before looking again at me. He walked over, sat next to me, and hesitantly put his arm around my shoulders. I turned so that I could put my head against his chest and sob. He patted me gently on the back.
It was awkward at first, that moment. Zypher and I were constantly fighting and he had never comforted me, not once. He had also never seen me cry. We had what seemed to be the close, brother-sister relationship, but we weren’t quite as close as we appeared. Until now. Now, I truly appreciated his presence, unlike before, where I kinda wished he wasn’t even in the family. Only kinda.
I cried until my tears ran out and Zypher patiently waited for me to stop. I sniffled and eventually quieted down.
“You good?” he asked tenderly.
I nodded and pulled away from him.
“Sorry about that,” I mumbled while wiping away the remaining tears on my cheeks.
“What are brothers for?” he asked, smiling.
There was a moment of silence. It wasn’t awkward anymore, as it could have been, but instead rather sweet and comforting.
“Do you really hate her that much?”
There was no question who the ‘her’ was.
I took a deep breath, thinking over my answer, before saying truthfully, “Yes. I hate her. I wish she would leave, that she would never come back.”
“You truly think that?”
“Yes,” I responded firmly, with no doubt in my voice.
“Do you think that, even if she left right now, we could ever go back to how it was before?”
“Before she came back. When it was just the four of us.”
I hesitated. Could we ever go back to how it was before? With a happy family just getting by on 10 Neopoint food?
“I don’t know,” I whispered.
“I do. So I’ll answer it for you: no, we could never go back. Because if she left, they would know. And they would resent you for it.”
There was no question who ‘they’ were either.
“They would know,” he continued, “that it was you who pushed her away. That it was you who sent their mother packing.”
“I’m their mother,” I insisted passionately.
“No, you’re their sister. Just the older sister who takes care of them while Mom’s gone. Granted, she was gone a while, but she’s still their one and only mother. I know it hurts to hear it, but it’s the truth. In their minds, they love you more than words can describe, but they still love their mother more.”
“How about in your mind?” I asked desperately. I never realized how much I cared about Zypheryn. How much I wanted him to love me.
He said, after some hesitation, “In my mind... I love you the most. More than Jen. I think of you as a dear sister, and so I love you. But although I love you best out of this family, it’s not really the answer you’re looking for. Because to me, Jen isn’t my mother, and so I couldn’t love her as much as a family member. And I’ll admit that I love you less than my real mother.”
“And she is...”
“My first owner will be my one and only mother,” he whispered, emotion creeping into his voice.
“Your first owner? When I asked you you said you didn’t remember her face, her voice, or anything about her.”
“I lied,” he admitted. “I remembered everything about her when you asked, but since you remembered nothing of your own, I felt bad admitting that I did. But now, with all the time that has passed, I don’t remember much. Memories fade with time, you know. I do remember her face. When I first hatched out of my egg and I saw her staring at me, eyes wide. When she presented me with a Plushie Paint Brush and said that I was going to be beautiful. And her face, cold and devoid of emotion when she traded me away for some other Neopet.”
“Don’t you hate her for that?”
“No. Not really. I understood that she had a dream Neopet, one that would fulfill her wishes more than I could. And that I was someone else’s dream Neopet and that I would fulfill that other person’s dreams. Also, had she not traded me, I would have never entered this family. I would have never met you, Destorma, or Shazka, and I would never have grown as a Neopet. I am, however, resentful. And so I love her, but just because she created me. I consider you as my sister, my flesh and blood, someone who live never enter my life temporarily and leave later on. Someone I can count on forever.”
I smiled and him and said wryly, “My my, Zypher, you’re really not as stupid as you look, are you? You’re actually pretty deep. I guess you have more in that head of yours than just stuffing.”
He chuckled and flicked me on the head.
I woke up the next morning, my eyes swollen from all the crying I had done last night. I went into my bathroom cabinet and took out a Super Strength Healing Potion. I chugged it straight out from the bottle and smiled as I was filled with energy. I looked in the mirror and noticed, pleased, that the swelling of my eyes had gone down and my face looked a lot healthier. Fyora bless the Healing Springs Faerie for making these potions.
I walked downstairs and rubbed my hands together, wondering what was available for breakfast. We probably had some omelettes left over from yesterday, since we lost our appetites after Jen came back.
I froze on the spot, my foot dangling in the air in preparation for going down the next step on the stairs. I lowered it slowly, remembering everything that happened yesterday. How could I have forgotten so easily? I walked hesitantly down the stairs and, as I reached the bottom, I heard the sound of a spatula and the sizzling of some sort of food.
I walked into the kitchen to find Jen laboriously preparing breakfast. She slid pieces of bacon on four different plates as well as freshly made pancakes.
“Guys, breakfast!” she hollered up the stairs.
She looked up from her food and saw me standing in the middle of the kitchen, probably looking like an idiot.
“Hey, Kishmaya, do you want to take these to the table?” she asked sweetly.
I wanted to scream, ‘NO! Since when did you care what I wanted anyways?’ but my stupid mouth wouldn’t move. So I just stayed frozen, my feet stuck to the floor and my mouth glued tightly shut.
“Okay then,” she answered, hopefully seeing the rage in my eyes.
My siblings came into the kitchen and surveyed the food.
“Gross!” Storm exclaimed, seeing the bacon.
“What’s wrong, honey?” Jen asked, concerned.
“Meat. That’s disgusting,” she answered, her lip curving into a snarl.
Destorma fluffed her wings angrily, grabbed the plate, dumped the bacon into the trash, sat down at the table, and ate her pancakes.
“I don’t understand,” Jen said.
“Of course you don’t” I snarled, finally able to speak. “Of course you don’t understand. How could you, when you haven’t seen us in years?? When you left without asking if we were okay with it, when you left without ever contacting us again. So please, tell me, how could you understand?????”
I was practically crying again and my snarl had quickly morphed into a hysterical scream.
Zypher rushed over to me and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Relax, Kish,” he muttered.
Relax?? In this time of crisis, he was actually telling me what to do? Oh no, he should know better. Just because we connected or something like that last night did not mean he could go acting all comforting and older-brother like any time he wanted. I had a rep to keep up.
So I shook off his hand and turned some anger on him.
“Relax?” I scoffed. I gave him an evil glare that I saw on TV sometimes, hoping it looked as scary in real life as it did on TV. Apparently it didn’t because I saw him laugh a little bit.
“What’s wrong with your eyes, Kish?” he chuckled to me.
I groaned it frustration and turned my focus back on Jen.
“...don’t you have Petpets?” she was asking, apparently in the middle of some sentence that I missed.
“Because,” I answered, not letting anyone else talk, “Zypher is allergic to them. And the reason that Storm won’t eat meat is because she’s a vegetarian! And apparently you don’t respect that because you tried to feed her meat!”
“Well, I actually just learned about her vegetarianism,” she answered calmly and, directing the rest of her words to Storm, said, “but I’m sorry about that, baby. I didn’t know. From now on, I’ll make sure not to give you any meat.”
“Okay, thanks,” Storm said in a small voice. Shaz was standing next to her, his mouth hanging open. Had I not been so angry, I probably would have laughed and wondered if a bug might fly in it. But not now!
I tried the glare on Jen and Zypher laughed, “Again with the eyes, Kish. Maybe we should take you to a doctor.”
I let out an awkward sound of exasperation and stomped up the stairs.
“Does this mean you don’t want breakfast?” Jen called.
To be continued...