Inspired by my very own favourite song.
The song was beautiful.
It was the sort of song that made you think of walking alone on a forest path in the autumn twilight, the multicoloured leaves fluttering silently around you in the breeze. The kind of song that made you want to watch the leaves slowly descend as the sunset filtered through the scarcely leafed trees. Then you would look up at the sky and watch it grow darker and darker. The stars would appear and a wondrous feeling would overcome you as you started feeling at peace with the world.
It was Theresa’s favorite song.
The Kougra was listening to it. She would listen to it whenever she could. Whenever the radio was on, she would sit on the edge of her seat, waiting to hear it. She would hear the prelude start up melodiously and let out a sigh of relief. She would sing softly along and close her eyes as she allowed the serene feeling to come over her. It relaxed Theresa.
In fact, Theresa led a very stressful life, full of disappointments and misunderstanding. Everything always went wrong at work; she had already been let go of at several different jobs, and the current one was no easy task. She worked long hours with minimum wage, while Neopians came and went by her, flaunting their wealth. When she went shopping, clerks always forgot to give her change or the register would break and spill Neopoints everywhere. She couldn’t cook, was constantly backstabbed by so-called ‘friends’ and fell down on an average of three times per day.
She just wasn’t a lucky person, to say the least.
Theresa sighed and leaned back in her worn-out green armchair, allowing herself to drown in the wonderful music of the song. The remains of her simple dinner slipped off her lap and onto the floor, but she didn’t bother with it right now. Movement would disturb her rare moment of peace.
Theresa smiled and closed her eyes as she felt the aching of her tired muscles and bones leave her as she became engulfed in the song. She was no longer Theresa. She was simply a ball of tranquil fur, focused on nothing other than the amazing, enticing melody of the song. If only she could stay there forever, curled up in her chair without a care in the world…
But she could not.
The song ended on a long high, delightfully well-sung note that Theresa quietly sang with. As the silence started in on her, so did the sharp pain and stress of the hard day’s work. She looked sadly at the overturned plastic plate on the floor, with the sauce from her meal soaking steadily into the hardwood. She wondered vaguely if it would stain.
She got reluctantly to her feet as another song started up on the radio, a loud, obnoxious pop tune that drained away the last of Theresa’s comfort. It was the kind of song, Theresa thought wryly, that her co-worker Amanda would listen to.
Amanda was about as obnoxious as the girl singing the song. They seemed to like the same things too, Theresa thought as the high-pitched girl sang about makeup, dresses and her doing things that other people generally frowned upon. Amanda always came to work in high heels and pretty, expensive dresses, her face thickly coated in eyeliner and lipstick. She was a very attractive Pink Xweetok as well, which Theresa was not.
Theresa was bony and yet chubby at the same time. Her fur was a plain, dull old yellow shade that didn’t even gleam in the sunlight. She was too short and her hair was a stubborn as Amanda. That girl always got her way. She already had caused poor Theresa numerous problems at work, blaming things on her whenever there was something wrong in their part of the store. When Theresa took the job at The Grooming Parlour, all she thought about was that she hoped she wouldn’t get fired like the last time. She didn’t realize that she would be working as a hairdresser in the corner of the shop, next to the most annoying Xweetok on the face of Neopia.
In fact, Theresa remembered while scrubbing the puddle on the floor with a rag from the kitchen, Amanda almost had gotten her fired that day. She had blamed the stolen shampoo on Theresa in her charming little voice and everyone believed Amanda, the thought that the Superstar Shampoo that Amanda’s hair smelled of could possibly be one of the bottles that were stolen never crossed their minds. But the manager graciously allowed Theresa another chance, if she would replace the stolen products with money from her pocket. She could protest all she wanted, but they couldn’t see that Theresa was being truthful.
Life for Theresa just wasn’t fair. But life for everybody wasn’t fair.
In a corner of her mind, Theresa thought of the possibility that Amanda was somehow like her, with only just a rather large personality flaw. That she too could barely have enough Neopoints to afford a good meal and a roof overhead. But it didn’t look like that, with her expensive clothing and makeup. Maybe her life was awful in other ways. But, with self-resentment at her inability to see the good in another person, Theresa knew she didn’t really believe that either. No matter how hard she tried, to Theresa, Amanda would always be a jerk who always got their way.
Theresa sighed as she stood up, stretching her aching back a moment before placing the now unclean rag in the dirty laundry basket. Theresa’s house had three rooms, a main one, a bedroom and a bathroom. The bedroom was tiny, barely enough room for a bed and a small dresser. The main room served as a kitchen, living room, laundry room and dining room. She felt a stab of jealousy as she pictured the grand mansions that rich Neopians had.
Suddenly, Theresa felt the burn of envy deepen. Envy for everyone else, from Amanda to the other poor pets of Neopian. Why was she so ugly? Why couldn’t she have enough money to make ends meet? Why couldn’t she have a decent friend? Why was the world so cruel to her? Before she knew what was happening, Theresa felt hot tears in her eyes, and then they were spilling out onto her plain face.
She wanted to listen to the song.
Then the world wouldn’t seem so bad, so unfeeling. For no place that could create such a song could truly be a bad place. Theresa looked hopefully at her cheap radio, but the only noise coming from it was a tasteless, loud advert for the Grooming Parlour. It reminded her of the terrible Amanda, and Theresa gave a desolate little chuckle at the irony. She’d have to live on without her song for now.
Theresa sniffed and realized how weak she was being. She took a steadying breath and ran a paw through her dull, tatty hair. She tried to think happy thoughts; perhaps tomorrow would be a better day. Maybe she’d get a raise or, she felt a sort of bitter pleasure at the thought, Amanda would not come. Maybe Amanda would quit because surely she could find a better job, unlike Theresa.
Wiping her eyes on her sleeve, Theresa sat down once more in her worn-out armchair and tried to think positively. Theresa would live on another day, and many more after that, and the Kougra told herself that everything would get better soon. Allowing herself a watery smile, she came to a final conclusion.
No matter what the world took away from her, she would still have hope.