I am on the move. I left Neopia Central this morning around daybreak, heading south. I don't have a particular destination. I just want to get away for a while, to get some time to myself.
Life in Neopia Central is hard. There are so many people, so much more than I'm used to. I grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of Meridell, with no neighbors in sight. I lived there with my father and my sister, until my sister moved to Brightvale for school. We seldom had visitors, and my dad usually made the trips into town without us kids, bringing back for us all the groceries and whatnot. I got used to not being around people.
I moved out to the city when I came of age; it was time to leave the farm and get out into the real world. I didn't realize how much the real world entailed, I wasn't ready for all of this. There's so much hustle and bustle. There's so much life - we didn't have that out at the farm. I guess you could say I experienced some growing pains.
I've been here for a year already, and I still don't have a handle on things. I speak to my neighbors once in a while, when I see them out and about. For all my efforts, I haven't made any friends. I work at a convenience store, where customers are typically friendly and we all get along, but outside of work things are completely different. I'm hardly acknowledged by anyone when I'm out and about.
I'm surviving - but I'm not living. There's so much out here that I haven't seen, that I haven't gotten the chance to do. It's all very overwhelming - but I try not to let it all get me down. I try to enjoy the time I have to myself, late at night after I've gotten off work. Sure, I wish I had people to be with, something to do, but I don't. And you know what? That's fine.
Except... it's not fine. Every once in a while, everything just gets to be too much. That's what happened last night - I didn't have such a great day at work, then I came home and it all washed over me. I'm all alone in this city. There are hundreds of thousands of people around me, but I'm all alone.
I decided that I needed to leave. Maybe for a day, maybe for a week, maybe for a month, but I knew I had to get away. I packed a rucksack and left my house at dawn. The store will be fine - my manager, when he realizes I'm missing, will find someone to fill in. We've got plenty of employees.
I passed Kiko Lake an hour and a half after I set off. It seems like a fun place, except I don't know how to swim.
Shortly after the lake was out of sight, I started seeing haunted trees off to my right. My dad used to tell me stories about the frights and horrors that lurk in the Haunted Woods. I remember one in particular about an abandoned fairgrounds haunted by ghosts; let's just say I didn't sleep that night.
This journey is already feeling cathartic. When they're stressed, some people make music; some people write to express their troubles. Me? I need some time alone, to take it all in and breathe. It seems ironic to me that being alone is helping me, when that was my primary grievance back in the city. Double standard? Can't make up my mind? I can't explain it... It is the way it is.
I see the road that leads to Brightvale and, further on, my old home of Meridell. Maybe on my way back after I turn around, I'll take a detour and stop by the old stomping ground, but not right now.
The next thing I see is Faerieland, looming purple on the horizon. My sister lives there now; she dropped out of Brightvale University and got a job here at the front desk of a hotel. Faerieland is a very nice place, but she lives in a ratty-looking place on a dead end street; it looks like it would be less out of place in Tyrannia. The owner of the hotel wants to make her a manager soon, so she might be able to afford a better place. But my sister doesn't mind living in that sinkhole anyway, so maybe she'll just stay there. Who knows?
When I was younger, I dreamed of being the king of Meridell. Then, once I realized that wasn't likely, I set my sights on being a doctor. My dad and my sister are very, very smart - and I like to think that I am as well, but I'm not sure. Anyway, here I am - working at a convenience store, not living up to my standards, my dreams, or my expectations. That doesn't mean I'll never get myself back at school to learn, it doesn't mean that I'll never be a doctor, but it is a setback for now.
I decide to make a stop in Faerieland. I've never been here before, and it seems like a scenic place where I can take a nice rest. I see an old-fashioned diner and enter, and a wizened Faerie Aisha seats me and takes my order. I look around at all of the other patrons in all the other booths, at all the framed pictures on the wall. I see my waitress, who must be the owner, in her much younger years outside of the building with someone I assume is her husband. There is another picture, taken a couple years later, featuring the two of them and two small children. In the next picture, the children are all grown up and the two owners are starting to show the signs of age.
The last picture on the wall was taken after Faerieland fell from the sky. In it are the same people from before, as well as three grandchildren. Queen Fyora is there too, cutting a red ribbon for the reopening of the diner. I smile at the friendly passage of time for this family and this diner, even through a major catastrophe like the destruction of the city.
My food is brought out, and I dig in. I ordered Faerie-style pancakes, and they are quite delicious. We never had anything like this back in Meridell, or in Neopia Central for that matter. After I finish eating, I leave some Neopoints and walk out of the diner.
As I walk around the city, the residents are nothing but friendly, smiling at me and saying hello. The houses are picturesque, even the purple streets are gorgeous. A smile slowly breaks out on my face as I take in the beauty, the atmosphere, the feeling of the city.
While I keep walking down the street, I hear a voice call out to me. "Hi there!"
I turn and face the Bruce who spoke up. "Hello! Do you live here in Faerieland?"
"I do!" he replies in a friendly manner. "I've lived here for seven years now, and moving here was the best decision of my life!"
I smile to myself. I bid the Bruce good day and continue on my way. Life is good, I think. I'm just stuck in a bad place... but I can get myself unstuck. The first thing I'll do when I get back home is pack my bags - I'm coming here. I don't know what I'll do, but I'll figure something out. Maybe I'll go to school here, to finally become a doctor.
Down the road, I see a street sign. "Daybreak Drive," it reads. I smile at the message; inadvertent though it may be, the name is very telling. This is daybreak for me. This is the beginning of the rest of my life - and I'm going to enjoy it.