It happened one weekend I had spent at the Neolodge.
Sometime in the middle of the Month of Sleeping, I had decided I needed to get away for a few days. It was the middle of the neoschool year. The days seemed to be flying by tediously, and I was growing jaded with my monotonous schedule.
Although it was the middle of winter, it was still extremely warm on Mystery Island, where I lived with my family. As much as I loved the sun and beach, I found myself longing for just a little bit of snow, mainly for a change of scenery.
This is why I decided to stay at the Mountain Lodge on Terror Mountain for three days; but also because it was cheap. I figured getting away would do me some good, and maybe help me get through the rest of this stressful last year in middle school.
I checked into the Mountain Lodge on Friday morning, and spent that entire first day skiing and playing in the snow. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and freezing my tail off, so I headed back to the hotel and went to bed early. It was late in the evening the second day when I met her.
Deciding I still wasn't a huge fan of snow, I spent my second day at the Lodge at the indoor swimming pool. As much as I enjoyed having time to spend by myself, I had begun to feel lonely without anyone to talk to. After dinner, I headed to the indoor tennis courts. I wasn't exactly big on the sport, but I couldn't think of much else to do that didn't require going outside.
There weren't many neopets inside, and for the first ten minutes I simply kept hitting the ball against the wall with the racket. After a few minutes, I was approached by a brown Shoyru.
"Hi," she greeted me warmly. "I noticed you here by yourself, and was wondering if you'd like to play a game with me?" she asked.
"Sure," I replied, happy to finally have some company.
"So where are you from?" she asked as we prepared to start.
"Mystery Island," I said. "What about you?"
"Shenkuu; do you like it down there?" she asked.
"Yeah, actually, I like it a lot. I just needed a vacation," I replied.
"Oh, me too. I love to travel, so I visit somewhere new at least once a month," she explained.
"Wow, really? That's cool. I don't travel much, but I've just been stressed out with school and work and everything, so I decided to take a short vacation to help get my mind off everything," I explained.
I wasn't sure why I was being so open with this stranger; I usually didn't talk about my problems to anyone, not even my owner or siblings. This Shoyru was very friendly, and somehow was easy to talk to.
"Oh, good for you! Did your owner pay for the trip for you?" she asked.
"No, I actually paid for it. I have a job giving tours of the Island, and used some of my neopoints from that," I said.
"That's so cool! I run my owner's shop, and she gives me a percentage of the profits in return. I actually really like doing it, though," she explained.
I laughed. "Well that's good."
I paused. "I don't think I got your name," I said, lowering my racket as she missed the ball.
"Oh, you're right. I'm Amy," she said, returning with the ball and hitting it back to me.
"I'm Zibel," I replied.
We continued to talk throughout several games. After a while when we both got tired, we just stopped playing and talked while leaning against the net. We talked about nearly everything. The conversation led from one topic to the next. I told her about how relieved I was that this was my last year in middle school and I'd finally be going into high school. I told her about my goal to be painted Halloween one day, as being a plain green Aisha was far too boring for my personality. I found myself being very honest about my feelings of stress and boredom with my current lifestyle, and I shared with her almost every aspect of my personality, inside and out. I had never been so open, so honest, with anyone, and it was incredible how much I felt I could trust this Shoyru. Usually I acted so cool and composed; I was known as the "cool, funny guy" at neoschool. Nobody ever imagined me as having complex emotions.
I learned that Amy loved helping others, and wasn't surprised. She wanted to become a nurse one day. I learned that she was very confident in herself- and it showed. She had very strong morals. She believed in being kind to everyone, and refused to judge any neopet by their appearance or possessions. She also loved making friends, but admitted to me that it wasn't always easy to find ones that she could trust, and I knew that she was feeling the same connection- she trusted me, and it was pure intuition.
Amy was so supportive of me, and I truly felt that she meant everything she said to me. I told her that I actually enjoyed painting, but I never told any of my friends because they would probably think it was lame and girly.
"It doesn't matter what they think," she told me. "If they're really your friends they should support you."
"I know. It's just difficult when it comes to neoschool. Everything is all about image and social status. I don't like it as much as it seems to them," I replied honestly.
"Everything will work out in the end. It always does. You'll get through it, and you'll be happy and successful one day, I know it," she said to me.
I almost couldn't believe it. She actually believed in me.
Nearly two and a half hours had passed when a hotel employee told us we had to leave the tennis courts, since it was closing for the night. We left, and Amy and I walked together up to our rooms, continuing our conversation the whole way. I walked her to her room, on the third floor. Mine was on the second, but I didn't mind the extra walk.
"I hope I see you tomorrow before you have to leave. It's your last day, isn't it?" Amy said before she entered her room.
"Yeah, it is. But I don't check out until 5:00 PM, so I'll see you," I replied.
"Okay, good. And we should keep in touch!" she added as she unlocked the door.
"Yeah, we definitely should. I'll meet you in the restaurant tomorrow for breakfast, if you want," I said.
"Sounds good," she replied. "Good night."
She stepped into her room and closed the door. I sighed as I turned to go back down the stairs to my room. As I made my way through the halls, I realized how content I felt. It had felt great to get all the things I'd always kept inside out, and have someone listen. I never realized how trusting I could be.
It was past ten o' clock when I finally made it to bed, but I didn't care. My arms and legs were tired, but my heart was at ease, and my conscience clear. I couldn't remember the last time I'd felt so alive. I knew that I had found a great friend.
I slept soundly that night. It was the first time in months I woke up feeling completely refreshed and cheerful. I was looking forward to seeing Amy again, so I got up early and got dressed right away. I decided to head to the restaurant early, as I didn't have anything else to do. I was passing through the lobby when I ran into my brother, Kuroku.
The yellow Lupe stopped me as I was heading to the adjacent restaurant.
"Zibel, I was just going upstairs to get you!" he said as he pulled me aside.
"Hey, Kuroku, what're you doing here?" I asked.
"I'm here to take you home; Allison's having you check out early," he explained.
"What? Why?" I asked.
"She needs you to help with moving the furniture into the new foster pet's bedroom," he said.
"She can't wait until tomorrow?" I asked.
He shook his head.
"She adopted the pet this morning, saying that it would be a waste of a possible lab zap for the pet for today," Kuroku explained.
"But... I haven't eaten anything yet! Can I at least get breakfast first?" I asked.
"We'll get some food on the boat."
"But-but- I want to eat at the hotel's restaurant!" I exclaimed.
Kuroku rolled his eyes.
"Food is food, Zibel. Aren't you always saying that?" he asked.
He cut me off as he grabbed my arm and pulled towards the checkout desk.
"Zibel's checking out early," he said to the receptionist.
There wasn't anything I could do. Kuroku wasn't going to let me stay. At first, I felt merely disappointed. It wasn't until I was on the boat riding home when I realized I hadn't even gotten Amy's address, and I wouldn't be able to neomail her. It was then I felt a huge wave of sadness wash over me. I probably would never see her again.
When I got home, I didn't mention her to anyone. I stayed quiet most of the day, doing as my owner told me. Later that night, as I was preparing for neoschool in the morning, I stopped to look out the window. I just stared at the stars, thinking about Amy. We had only known each other for a little more than two hours, yet she seemed to have changed me so much so quickly. I knew we could've been great friends, and I was incredibly saddened that I would never see her again.
That night I went over everything she had said to me in my head, replaying everything we talked about. Every laugh, every smile, would be with me forever. No matter what I went through, I promised myself never to forget her and the wonderful night we shared.
One year has passed since that fateful night. I still find Amy is on my mind quite often. The sound of her voice still lingers in my head like a haunting melody. I always wish I could hear it just one more time. Even though we never met again, I never forgot the truths I shared with her; the only person I ever was able to say I've felt close with.
I always think about Amy. She helps me through the tough times in life. Whenever I feel stressed, or hurt, or like things aren't going to get better, I remember her, and everything she said to me, and I find the strength to go on. Wherever she is now, I can only hope that she is happy. Knowing that she's out there, it's enough for me. I can only hope that one day we may meet again.
Wherever you are, Amy, this story is for you. If you read it, know that I will always remember you.