The Small Things
Her days were all the same. She had the same routine, the same habits, and that's the way she liked it. This day began the same way as the days past had. The morning dawned cloudless and bright, and the slight breeze stirred her periwinkle curtains. The sunlight crept over the windowsill, spilling into the small, tidy bedroom, and eventually, made its way up onto the bed. The pink Uni woke as the sun washed over her face, and she smiled slightly. The warmth on her face promised a beautiful summer day.
Like always, the Uni had awoken before her alarm clock had gone off. She wondered why she even bothered to set it, but this was the routine, and she never deviated from the routine. With a small stretch, the Uni pulled herself out of bed, immediately pulling the homemade patchwork quilt up. She smoothed and straightened the wrinkles, fluffed the pillows, and with a nod of appreciation, gave one last yank on the bedspread, satisfied with her work.
She walked over to the vanity in the corner of the room, sat down and began brushing her long mane. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.... After one hundred brush strokes exactly, and not one more or one less, the Uni happily trotted out of her bedroom, and made her way downstairs, where she happily munched away at her breakfast: oatmeal, with a few berries thrown on top... like always. The Uni knew some called her cruel names behind her back... Obsessive, clean-freak, boring... But most days she tried her best to ignore them. She couldn't help that she stuck to her routines. She couldn't help that she loved her routines. Her routines helped her forget the sadness that she saw every day at her job. With a small shake of her head, the Uni pushed the last thought away.
At exactly eight am, the Uni left her home and began the small walk to work. She lived in a quiet neighbourhood of Neopia Central, where lots of families chose to live. She was far enough away from the downtown area that the crowds didn't venture into her neighbourhood, but close enough to still enjoy the stores, and most importantly, walk to work. Every day, the pink Uni would walk to work. It didn't matter if there was three feet of snow on the ground, or the temperature of the Lost Desert. Rain or shine, cold or hot, she walked to work. And she enjoyed it.
Up ahead, downtown Neopia Central was coming into view. She passed the Art Centre, where Neopets in large black-rimmed glasses and fancy scarves were already congregating. To her left, the Neolodge stood tall and proud, doormen ushering in Neopets wearing fancy clothes and carrying large suitcases. The Rainbow pool gleamed in the bright sun, rainbows dancing on the surface, and the Money Tree's leaves waved in the breeze. The NC Mall was bustling as always, a line already beginning to form outside.
The Uni rounded the last corner and entered the Plaza, which was a bit quieter than the main area of Neopia Central. Up ahead, she could see the brown roof of the Pound and continued her walk, reaching the doors at exactly 8:15. She stopped to smell the rose bushes, which she had planted so many years ago, smiling as she unlocked the door. She walked to her desk, the bright pink door shining brightly behind her, and began straightening the papers and pens.
Her co-workers usually came bursting through the door only minutes before nine, and today was no different. The yellow Techo gave a curt nod and made his way to his desk. The Uni hated the door behind his desk. The blue, cracked door was in need of desperate repair, but it was what lay behind the door that saddened the Uni so much. She attempted to push away the overwhelming feeling of despair as she said hello to the Robot Hissi. He never replied, and today was no different as he slithered over to the steel door, opening it and disappearing inside the strange room, the door slamming shut with a loud clang.
The volunteers began trickling in at nine. She made sure to smile at each one as they made their way behind that cold, blue door. They handed out food to the poor souls in the cages, and without them, the Uni knew she would be lost. With the volunteers came the people. Some came alone, looking to adopt, which made her heart leap with joy. Others came with Neopets, with faces filled with despair, anger, and fear. The Uni tried hard not to look at those groups, but with the Techo's desk so near to hers, it was almost impossible not to see the owners sign their pets away. Some Neopets would cry loudly as they were forcibly dragged away from their former owners. Most were silent as they were led behind the door, and down the long, long hallway filled with cages on either side.
Adoptions were common, though, and the Uni was able to be distracted for most of the day. Seeing the faces of the pets that came out from behind her pink door made her job worthwhile. Watching the new owners sign the adoption papers was her favourite part, and as she watched the new family walk out the door hand in hand, she would silently hope that the pet would never have to come back here again.
Her routines were the same at work, just like her routines were the same at home. At exactly noon, she would eat a small lunch, always getting back to work at exactly 12:30. Every adoption was filed meticulously in her large filing cabinet. After each use, the pen and the clipboard were placed back in their spots. At 2, she would walk the long hallway, stopping to chat with as many pets as possible, before getting back to her desk at 2:25. These small details made her happy.
Before she knew it, the Uni's shift was coming to a close. The small Lupe who worked the later shift came and took his place behind the desk. Already he was making a mess of her desk, but the Uni just shrugged it off. Tomorrow she would straighten the pens and papers as she always did when she came in for her shift. She waved goodbye and walked out the door, taking the same path she took every day. She passed the shops and the bustling citizens of Neopia Central, with the one goal of getting home.
She arrived home at 6:15 on the dot, and just like every other night before, began to make her dinner. The night passed by and the Uni was content. After eating and tidying up, she read for a few hours, and wrote a few letters to some friends before deciding to head to bed. She made her way up the stairs and into her room, where she sat down at her vanity to brush her hair. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... One hundred strokes of her mane, no more, no less.
The Uni opened her window, the slight breeze ruffling the periwinkle curtains. Pulling back the patchwork quilt, she turned to the small table beside the bed, turning the alarm on for the morning. Turning off the lights, she crawled into bed. The same routine, day after day, night after night. And yet nothing made her happier. With a sigh of contentment, she closed her eyes.
"Good night, Rosie," she whispered to herself and drifted off to sleep.
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|The Winter Gift|
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