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Rejection: Part One


by shadowcristal

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"I... I got..." the girl gulped, dropping the letter. "I got rejected."

     I closed the door behind me, shocked at the fact that my owner was so shocked this early. Dropping my backpack and running towards her, I asked, "What is it, Janie?"

     "I got my first ever rejection notice from the Neopian Times," my owner replied more calmly, picking the letter up delicately.

     "The Neopian Times?" I asked excitedly. "Did you try for that?"

     "Yeah," Janie said. "Though I got rejected because the idea wasn't too original."

     "I see," I said, sharing my owner's disappointment.

     I waited a while before making further comments, hoping that Janie would calm down soon. I watched as she put the letter away (with shivering hands) and picked up rest of the mail. Then we moved to the living room and my owner started going through all those Neomails she had gotten from her friends.

     Shaking my head, I wondered how it would feel to be rejected from the NT. I had never tried, because I prefer to read. As for the feeling rejection, that was something I definitely knew and did not want to experience again.

     "So," Janie said after finishing replying to all that mail, "what happened today?"

     "I hate my extra-credit class," I said dully, putting my backpack down.

     "Well, school isn't that bad..." my owner commented. "But you really shouldn't overwork yourself, Priscilla." She patted my soft, purple Poogle fur.

     "The teacher said it was time to do some work in the real world..." I muttered, remembering exactly how that Bruce had so cheerfully announced it. "We have to go and ask ourselves for practice jobs."

     "For how long?" Janie asked.

     "The whole practice thing is supposed to be for one week, but we only have a month to find a job like that."

     "What about the Employment Agency?"

     "Out of the question, the teacher said. She wanted us to use our social skills and find a good practice job."

     "Well, then what jobs are there?"

     "I think she means being an assistant to some shop owner or something, or doing desk work..." I said.

     "Ah, I see," Janie said. "Too bad I don't know anyone..." She stopped, not wanting to lie to me. We both knew that the right thing an owner would say at this time was that she was sure I'd find a job, but in this case we weren't so sure because it was me.

     I shook my head. "And if I don't complete this assignment, then forget the rest of that class..."

     "See?" my owner said. "I told you that you shouldn't be too tough with yourself like this..."

     "It's a challenge," I said. "Maybe our teacher wants us to overcome the fear of rejection." Janie winced when I uttered the word 'rejection', and I couldn't help but to regret that I had ever mentioned this little project.

     "I'm sorry about that..." I whispered, hugging my owner. "But you know, you can always try."

     "That's what the books say, right?" Janie said wryly, hugging me back.

     "Yeah," I grinned and put my glasses back on properly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and read a book on how to find a job or act around people."

     "One Purple Poogle going up," Janie muttered when I went upstairs to my room. "Now, about that story..."

     I smiled as I sat down on the beanbag chair in my room with a thick book on how to socialize. A plate with milk and cookies were already placed on the little table beside me. The familiar sounds of the typewriter told me that Janie had gotten over her rejection and started on something new, turning her disappointment into productivity.

     Well, if she worked diligently, so would I. I opened the book, grabbed a cookie and started reading. Books were the best. They could teach you things, drag you into new, undiscovered worlds, let you know the how-to's in a zaney way and much more. They don't betray, interrupt, burp or do some of the less pretty things that people do. That's why I like books.

     Soon the cookies were gone and I was totally into the book. Honestly, I love reading about psychology and all that other mind-boggling stuff, but doing it in reality... that's something best left to other people.

     "Priscilla?" Janie asked. I blinked. A quick look around the room, and I realized that I must've fallen asleep while reading the book.

     "Yeah, I'll drag myself down and wash the glass..." I said, picking up the tray and walked down the stairs. "By the way, how's the new story going?"

     "It's not a story," my owner said. "It's an article."

     "I see," I said and entered the kitchen. "Is it all done?"

     "Not yet," Janie said. "I still have to get over the rejection of that story... It was..."

     "It's okay." I patted my owner. "Everyone gets rejected once in a while."

     "And getting rejected... it just means you have to try harder." Janie smiled bravely. "And I'll try, right now," she said, sitting down at the typewriter again.

     I rolled my eyes. How typical of Janie to just sit down there and forget everything. Well, I'd better hurry, since I would be the one to do the grocery shopping. Grabbing the bag of Neopoints under the table, I said goodbye to Janie and all thoughts of the extra-credit class project.

     -

     "Where are you going?" Janie asked one week later when I tried to sneak out of our NeoHome.

     "Umm... To Neopia Central?" I said, eyeing the clock.

     "You," my owner said incredulously, "the recluse bookworm, are going shopping?"

     "Not shopping," I said. We both knew that if there was one thing I hated to do, it was to shop. "I have a meeting with Julia."

     "That little red JubJub?" Janie said. "What are you two..." she stopped, looking at me with big eyes. "The extra-credit class?"

     I nodded. I had been procrastinating about forever about that job, sometimes wondering if I could get one at all. But if I didn't, all that hard work I had put into the class would go down the drain.

     "Well, thank her for reminding you," my owner said. "You can go."

     "Thank you," I said, walking out of the house. Yes. I really should thank Julia. If she had never asked me to find a practice job together, then perhaps I wouldn't have gotten the courage to get one at all.

     Walking down the road, I suddenly had a vision. Running around from store to store and getting rejected... I shuddered. Someone would give me a practice job, right?

     I was sighing heavily by the time I reached Neopia Central, already half-filled with doubt and worst-case scenarios in my mind.

     My heart beat faster when I saw Julia. The fear... the fear of being rejected was already making my blood rush. Calm down, I told myself. You have already read several books about this matter and you know what to do. But still, I couldn't help but to be nervous.

     "Hi Priscilla," my friend said. "All set?"

     "Yeah," I said, even though I wasn't sure. "Anyway, thanks for reminding me."

     "It was nothing... Now, where should we go first?" Julia smiled. "Of course! The Book Shop! That's your favorite, isn't it?"

     I smiled gratefully as we walked to the shop. Being a childhood friend, Julia knew pretty many of my little quirks and stuck with me even though I wasn't popular in school or anything.

     The little bell jingled when we entered the Book Shop. I inhaled the good old dusty smell of books and looked at the shelves. So many treasures, all of them eagerly waiting to be pawed on and discovered.

     "Well, good luck," my friend said, pushing me to the desk where the blue Nimmo stood.

     "Um... Excuse me?" I asked, noticing that he was with stacking books.

     "Yes?"

     With lots of stuttering, mumbling and pauses, I managed to finally ask about a practice job.

     "Sorry," he said when I finished. "I don't really need help and I've got an apprentice already."

     I must've looked very disappointed, because the Nimmo continued.

     "Anyway, handling books isn't something for a little girl like you," he whispered. "It's pretty tough moving all those heavy books around..."

     "I see," I said, trying not to let the disappointment show in my voice. Quietly Julia and I exited the Book Shop.

     "Well, not a lot of people get it the first time," Julia said, trying to cheer me up.

     "Thanks," I said, but I knew inside what I had done wrong. I had not delivered my message very clearly, and gotten there late. I'd be lucky if I got a practice job at all. The feeling of rejection... I gulped. Was this how it felt for Janie? Hoping your hardest, trying your best (well, perhaps I could've done better and not stopped so often) and then finding out that it wasn't enough? I sighed and closed my eyes, letting that new feeling wash over me. It was daunting, black but not too thick.

     Like Janie had said, one had to try again. There was still hope. The Book Shop wasn't the only shop in Neopia...

To be continued...

 
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