Jewel's Journal: Summer - Part One
Art by gelert548
My name is Jeweliana. Juve-lia-na. Get it? Good, I want to get that out of the way first.
It's been ages since I wrote on a book just for the purpose of exerting my feathers to write out my inner feelings. I don't have many good friends, Journal. Oh no, I have to resort to a material lifeless object to keep my secrets quiet. I can't tell Trot; her mouth not only gushes saliva like a waterfall, but everything I say to her comes pouring out as if I am speaking and she's the microphone at a Voltage concert (you're new in this world and I need to keep you up-to-date. Here's the up-to-date: Voltage is the most electrifying singer to strike Neopian's youth. You are not cool if you don't like him, and you are cool, aren't you, Journal?).
Anyway, nobody within fifty miles is worthy enough as my confidant. They have failed me. That is the reality. Reality must be tackled with every possible solution. And so, an hour or so ago, I bought you. That's only because I don't want to start exercising (the idea of jogging! Preposterous!), or find another friend to talk to, because that takes more work than breaking my own feathers over my tendency for writing simply too much.
I bought you just so I could rant out about today (only for that! I don't know about tomorrow. Things may get worst tomorrow.). Let's start from the beginning:
A fortnight ago, summer started. That's a good thing. I am already sick of my fourth year of Advanced Neoschool. Nothing can compare to the torture of having to hear the P.E's teacher's voice screeching down your ear canal, enough to clean out your earwax from the high frequency (well, that doesn't sound so bad after some second-thinking; the earwax being cleaned out, I mean), or guzzling down the World's Most Awful Beef Rouladen to the sound of an audience vomiting every Thursday. Maybe I am just sick of Thursdays, and terrible sounds in general.
Thank goodness, it's my senior year this fall.
A fortnight ago is the last time I saw Adrien. Sigh, Adrien. He's so dreamy. I remember my last journal ending with my gushy feelings about him. Thinking of that is giving me flashbacks of Beef Rouladen. I was so obsessed with him that time. Well, not so now. I am used to his new face and new voice and new height already. I still think he's dreamy, but I know it's never going to happen. That is the reality.
He skateboarded past me while Trot and I were relishing our first step past the school gates. I think he said 'Hi' but I am not sure. I only remember him crashing into the bushes, and bumbling out of it with his new leafy 'feathers'. That was dumb but sort of cute and dreamy.
"That was dumb, but sort of cute and dreamy!" said Trot behind her hoof to my ear. She still thinks I like him (as much as I did back then). She's the reason why I bought you.
I gave her the default 'Uh-huh' response. I wasn't interested in continuing this conversation; I know how many hours Trot can use that motor-mouth of hers just to talk about this sort of thing. Her record is still 12 hours on the Neomailer, just for Voltage, the dumbest trivial matter involving some popular Draiks and Kougras and examinations, and the important life question on why the both of us aren't popular yet. I have saved that conversation in my Neomailer just in case I have insomnia and need a desperate solution to fall asleep, but fortunately I only have to hear that once, the first time.
She easily shrugged it off and continued talking about other things. This is Trot, my best friend for a few years, and seemingly, for eternity. I might have talked about her earlier with as much exasperation as a baker who keeps making flopped cakes, but I can't deny that we have chemistry, and in a way, I like her. She's the only friend I have, who isn't my family, and she understands me well although she prefers to pretend she's (super) ignorant about it. Sometimes in bed, I roll around at night thinking if she's just being ignorant in case by some miracle she becomes popular (unlikely), because it would be easier to leave me behind in the dust. That thought is always entertained by me falling asleep and dreaming about Adrien crashing into bushes dreamily, just to lift my spirits.
A red Peophin and a green Lenny; we make an interesting pair, a potential power duo. If you want to boil down our best-friendship to its bare bones, I take rides to school by Peophin-back, and she takes exams in school by borrowing my brain. It's the classic symbiotic relationship.
I can't trust her for everything though. For now, I forge solid and concrete friendship with a book.
She was going on and on about the Voltage concert happening six weeks from the time of writing. Of course, it's the most electrifying event of the year. Voltage hardly ever holds concerts. I don't know why. Maybe he hasn't got a good face, or he may not be very good at singing after all. I like his music, but not all of his songs. It's a social law to jam to his tunes; otherwise you are in Historic Meridellian times. Even if I dislike him, I already have this primitive youthful urge to want to fit in. It doesn't help that I have a best friend dedicated to ascend to the highest social rank in school, and Voltage is the minimum requirement. Everyone wants to go to the concert. In fact, I think everyone in my school is going, except us.
My brothers don't have to do anything; they have friends to buy tickets for them. My youngest brother, Xavvy (he's a great guy. I love him.), tried getting earlier, but as luck would have it, his ticket was one of the last of the final batch, and hey, it's not like I wanted to desperately join in. He promised to bring a convincing cardboard cut-out of me to compensate, complete with movable squiggly arms and glued-on painted fake feathers.
"Nuh-uh, not gonna let this dumb thing take us down!" said Trot, pounding her hoofs together almost too furiously. "You will see! The radio station! Contests! I'm gonna get those tickets for us; I don't care!"
For dramatic effect, please insert a creepy, classic villain's laughter at the end of the dialogue.
"Look at that," said Trot, pulling my neck in. "I bet she's 100%, absolutely, positively going."
It was Silva.
Oh good grief, Silva Higgs. I have been with her since the first year, and every year, without fail, she ends up in no less than three classes with me. This young lady needs a lot of explanation: she's the most gorgeous Lenny on the face of this planet. Violet eyes, long lashes, glossy midnight blue plumage, slender figure, and a surprisingly short beak to remind us that she's still a normal Neopian. Her hair is professionally done by Illusen. The citizens of the Lost Desert worship her image. Sloth has named constellations after her.
Ok, maybe those are just random exaggerations. I read some extremely dramatic novels yesterday. What is true is that she could convince anyone to want to keep or adopt a Lenny. Lennies are not known for our good looks. There must be something wrong with the Faerie Paint Brush she used, because it made her look supernaturally heavenly. It's not normal. It's weird.
In the way-too-many classes with her, she has tried getting close to me. Hah! As if I would ever! I know she's using me as a popularity booster; making her super nice to add to being super gorgeous, super admired and super perfect. I also know she persists because I sort of give her a challenge. I resist her. I don't swoon over her looks. She's like a very annoying Mootix that keeps coming back for no reason when she could always have it easy with other classmates.
Well, she IS definitely going to that Voltage concert (and maybe she will boogie on stage too, hilarious). No question about it. She is also the reason why I bought you, Journal.
I have been bored out of my mind for two weeks. I finished reading the extremely dramatic novels that I had no time for during the fourth year because of homework. I think I brushed my petpet Dandan's hair so much that he's practically shedding. I have finally completed my Shrubbery Project; my shrub looks handsome and gorgeous now, so it's only the flowers around it that I have to tend to. I haven't seen Trot in a while because she's too busy "contesting her enemies in radio stations and contests", and she keeps losing. She doesn't even want to talk over the Neomailer because she "wants to save battery on more important things, our future, duh". This Voltage concert is consuming her, seriously.
The family is doing better than me. Mum is occupied coming up with interesting but failed concepts for the Kreludorian Innovations Co. (inventor of the Neomailer), U5nit (his nickname) just graduated senior year and he's running around trying to get into the photography industry, Safey is always out all day playing practical jokes on every possible Neopian on every land, and Xavvy is busy making my cardboard cut-out clone.
Xavvy is working on the arms right now. I talked to him yesterday, after I cried from this extremely sad chapter of one extremely dramatic novel, and he was sewing up the arms. He did well on my clone (I shall call it Jewel 2.0). He suddenly found this interest in sewing and fabric some time ago, and he's still an amateur, but I am glad it exists because that meant he didn't need to look up to see my tear-soaked, emotionally ravaged face.
"Arms are ready," said Xavvy with a hum. "It's pretty functional, pretty funny too! Look!" He grabbed Jewel 2.0's arms and wriggled them. I admit that it was amusing and pulled me out of my over-involvement in that novel.
"I will wave my arms unlike anyone else that night," I said. "So much enthusiasm; Voltage will be embarrassed."
"Put your paws up in the a-irrrrr ~" "And dance me the night away, away!"
In the corner of my eye was the flash of a camera.
"Superstars at home, caught in the act!" U5nit shook his camera. "This baby will give me millions! But only if my baby bro and sis earn that money first."
I like U5nit, despite his over-confidence of himself. He's an unpainted, Green Uni. The both of us are green and unpainted. Xavvy's an adorable Maraquan Gelert, and Safey's a jolly Christmas Pteri colour. That didn't stop him from becoming one of the most popular students in Neopian Central Neoschool. He's very accomplished; head of Photography for the official club and school newspaper, a good soccer striker, and valedictorian. He didn't get to be Prom King, but he was a Prince.
Trot tried to follow his example once, but realised she is completely devoid of any skill (other than talking a lot). I never want to live through that phase again. It's awful. The Beef Rouladen exploded, and the cafeteria monitor kept us in her blacklist and would have made us secret ingredients for the rouladen if only this summer didn't happen so soon.
Mum was home yesterday. It was a Sunday. She was at the kitchen, drawing up a storm of other interesting but most likely to fail ideas. Overhearing our conversation, she barged in.
"Did I hear superstars?" She flicked her bangs away from her face.
"And dance me the night away, away!" said Xavvy, dancing along with Jewel 2.0's arms.
"Good grief, Xaviar, stop," said Mum, batting her hand in the air. "Enjoying the summer, I see?"
"Not really." I shifted my feet. "I'm kind of bored actually. I am getting sick of reading my books."
"And crying because of them," chuckled U5nit.
"Shut up! Anyway, Mum, do you have anything I can do? I want anything that can keep my brain working, at least."
"Brain lethargy, huh? I could... sign you up for volunteering work," said Mum. "It's just for now. I will try to find other things for you to do."
Volunteering, hmm? I never volunteered for anything before. A lot of things I 'volunteered' by force and obligation. That didn't sound so bad (at that time); I could be doing some good to the community, and maybe through some magical spotlight shone down upon me through Fyora's smiling teeth, I may earn the good luck to snag Trot and I the tickets (I don't know how), and our dignity (our future) will be salvaged.
"But where, Mum?"
"Erm, the Soup Kitchen. I will register you today, and tomorrow you can sign in."
The Soup Kitchen, perfect! It's just right in the middle of one of the busiest sections of the Marketplace. My natural kindness and generosity are for all of Neopia Central to see. The popular kids might see me; hey, even Adrien might see me! When I return to school for the semester, I will be the new Jewel: the cool chick, just oozing with inner beauty. The idea excited me so much.
This happens to be another reason why I bought you, because the idea was too exciting.
Three hours ago, my life was going alright; alright enough to the extent that I didn't have to buy you. I was ready for the Act of Kindness, dressing as pretty as anyone can be for gruelling volunteering. I didn't want any random Kiko from my school catching me in awful rags. That will totally bring down my chances for popularity and karma.
"Hello, Jewel, it's been ages," said the Soup Faerie, already expecting me, with apron and ladle in hand. "It's so good to see you giving back to society after your family's success. That's how we appreciate those who helped us when we were at our lowest."
Blah, blah, life philosophy stuff that I already know; the Soup Faerie is good at that. But I think I prefer hearing that stuff all day, in a sensory-deprived room, compared to the next thing that happened.
She walked me to the kitchen, where the volunteers prepared soup. Some of the Blumaroos were chopping the vegetables so hard the chopping-board might split. The bombardment of the smell of chicken soup, minestrone soup, and other kinds of soup almost intoxicated me. She led me to a tiny storeroom, packed with sacks of peas and potatoes and the normal foods you put into sacks. It was a cosy place, with a panoramic window (perfect to display my natural kindness and generosity), and painted a soothing orange.
I wasn't alone. There were Neopians picking out peas and sorting them into smaller bags as ingredients for soup batches. There was an empty seat, next to a pretty-looking creature, and the Soup Faerie placed me there. "I hope you will enjoy helping the poor."
I got a sack of basil, and between me and the sack was a counter made of composite compounds, with easy-to-reach plastic bags and rubber bands. Sorting things out didn't seem too complicated, but monotonous at its worst.
I perked up. That tingly, wind-chime of a voice sounded familiar.
"How funny to see you here; out of all places!"
I looked to the direction of the pretty-looking creature beside me.
It was Silva.
NO. NO, why was she here?? How I wished I was at the chopping board, how I wish I was being boiled in soup. She must really be desperate to get the popularity boost. If not me, then why not the more unfortunate denizens of Neopia? What a beldam!
"Silva, w-what are you doing here?"
"Sorting out peas? That's for today. Tomorrow we are chopping the vegetables for the soup. It's a new duty every day," said Silva, flashing me one of her best smiles.
"No, I meant, what are you doing here for?"
"I come here every first month of summer every year. It's a little of a... debt thing I owe the Soup Faerie." She dropped her wingful of peas into the bag, clinking like angelic castanets. "I'm so glad you are here though; it's starting to get quite lonely!" A cheery giggling as she tightened the rubber band around the neck of the bag.
I was just like that bag.
I don't think I have screamed any louder in my entire life. It's not like anybody knew. I did the screaming in my head. It was shrill enough to clean out my earwax. I thought I was going to get three months of un-Silvaness, and instead, over here, in what I now call the Prison, was Silva. Every day Silva, constantly, and knowing her, she will always be by my side.
I hope you enjoy helping the poor.
There's nobody to help poor me.
An hour ago, I sought salvation in the bookstore, where I know Silva won't find me. With no Trot to call, and a little advice in a teen girl's magazine (#3: Get a diary, after #1: Exercise to keep your mind off and #2: Find a confidant), I bought you.
To be continued...