A small bell jingled as the first customers of the morning entered the shop. A young Ixi ran in, her mother following wearily behind. I knew immediately what was going on---birthday. Young neopets are always dragging their mothers to the toy store on their birthday.
The Ixi, fuelled by what seemed to be an endless bound of energy, ran laps around the shop, scanning each toy as carefully as it is possible while running. Suddenly, she stopped and looked at me. “Grundo!” she proclaimed. “Mommy! Mommy! Grundo!”
Her mother looked at me, then shook her head. “I don’t think you’d really like that one, honey.”
“But... but... Mommy!” The sound of the Ixi’s cries filled the shop as she threw her melodramatic tantrum. “I want that one! I want that one!” Her mother tried to change her mind by showing her other plushies, softer, prettier ones that weren‘t made by amateur hands. Alien aishas and island unis and rainbow quiggles. But the Ixi just continued to cry until her mother picked me up off the shelf and reluctantly asked the shopkeeper, “How much for the blue grundo?”
The young Ixi cradled me lovingly as her mother paid the shopkeeper, an older Aisha with kind eyes. She smiled warmly at me. “Enjoy him,” she told the Ixi. “I can tell, he’s a special one.”
From that moment on, I was the Ixi’s favourite toy. She played with me all the time; she slept with me every night; she took me everywhere she went. For the first time in my life, I felt truly loved, and it was wonderful.
When the day came that the Ixi went to neoschool for the first time, she stuffed me into her pink kadoatie backpack and set off walking, my head peeking through the open zipper. At neoschool, she played with only me and shared with no one.
She did the same for the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days of neoschool. On the seventh day, the teacher, a stern but caring quiggle, told the Ixi that she either had to share me, or stop bringing me to neoschool with her. Instead, she continued to bring me, but hid me deep in her backpack, letting no one know I was there.
You would think that as she got older, she would become less and less attached to me; well, the exact opposite happened. As the Ixi grew older, her grip around my arm grew tighter; as she got further and further in life, it seemed that she needed me more and more. But I didn’t mind. I loved being loved; and to know it would never end, well, it was the greatest feeling I had ever felt, and will ever feel again.
The Ixi’s years in the elementary neoschool flew by fast, as did her years in middle neoschool and neo-high-school. She never stopped carrying me around; I was always in her backpack, or under her arm, or pressed against her cheek. She was no longer a little girl, but she still brought me everywhere, pretending to be one when she thought no one was looking.
Perhaps it was because of this, that I ended up here. The very love that she had for me would separate us forever.
It was during a trip to Faerieland that she took with her neo-high-school class. I remember how warm that day was, how nice the breeze was through the clouds of the city, how afraid the Ixi was of falling through the clouds and into the ocean below.
The class had stopped to picnic just outside of the walls of Faerie City. The Ixi went slightly aside, unzipped her brand-new fire faerie backpack, pulled me out, and squeezed me tightly. She gently whispered to me, “I’ll love you for as long as I live,” then stuffed me back into her backpack and hurried back to the group.
It’s too bad she forgot to zipper her backpack, because as she ran back to her classmates, I bounced up and down in her backpack; my head popped out, then one arm, the other arm, my entire torso---and, with one final bounce, I flew from her backpack and landed face-first on the cloud.
She didn’t even notice; she just kept running, completely unaware of what had just happened to me.
I waited there, hoping that she would realise her mistake and come back for me. I waited, until the sun set, until it was completely pitch-black out, until the sun came back up the next morning. I waited, hoping that she would come back for me, but somehow knowing she wouldn’t.
It’s been years since I’ve been here. I’m kind of glad you wandered past; it gets really lonely here, all on my own. Not many visitors come by here.
That Ixi... she’s the only person who’s ever loved me. I sat on that shelf for years. No one ever glanced twice at me. They all went for the alien aishas and island unis and rainbow quiggles, the nice plushies with the shiny materials. Everyone else ignored me. Even here... I’ve been here for so long, people glance in my direction as they pass in the distance, but who actually bothers with me? You, even, you’re glancing at your watch, like you would rather be somewhere else.
I’ve always wondered where I would be right now if that zipper hadn’t been opened; or even, if she had never been so attached to me in the first place. If she had left me home that day, I would still be safe in her bed, in the warmth of the neohome that I called mine for so long... or would I? If she was never so attached to me, she might have gotten rid of me a long time ago.
The thing about it is, well, I never actually knew her name. I don’t know why; I just, well, I guess I was just never able to commit it to memory. It never really mattered to me, anyway. I knew her as the green Ixi that was my best friend, the green Ixi that my world revolved around.
I’ve never had a name either, really. The Ixi, she called me “Grundo.” That was it. I was just Grundo. Sometimes it would bother me, not having a real name, but I knew that there was nothing I could do about it. And, hey, what’s a name when you had a best friend like that Ixi? My name ended up being just as her name was: it didn’t matter. I knew who I was, she knew who I was, and that was all that mattered to us.
Occasionally, I think about what might have happened to me if she hadn’t thrown that tantrum in the toy shop, so many years ago. What if she had chosen one of those other plushies, with the nice stitching and the shiny materials? What if I had stayed there one more day, picked up by some other little neopet in need of a friend? ...Then, I shake the thoughts from my mind, and I say to myself, “I know that the last few years have been rough for me. I know that I’ll never be loved the way I once was. But if someone else had taken me home, would I be any better off? After so long, would I have been tossed aside anyway? At least, this way, I knew that she still loved me, until the bitter end. And I would never trade that for anything in the world.”
Me being here, though... everyone thinks that I’m something special. Something... magical, even. You’ve probably heard of it. Supposedly, I’m the Discarded Magical Blue Grundo Plushie of Prosperity. I don’t know where that came from, but it gave me a good chuckle the first time someone wandered over, poked my stomach, and then shouted, “Do something magical!” ...It still makes me smile, sometimes, that people realise that I am, in fact, something special. I may not be magical, but I was the most special thing that that Ixi had ever known.
No matter what happens, I try to stay optimistic about everything. Every time I see a green Ixi in the distance, I like to think that it’s her, coming to find me, regretting that I’ve been here so long. Every noise that I hear at night, every flashlight from every guard that passes over this way, I like to think that she’s looking for me. I like to think that she’s coming back for me. I like to think that one day, she’ll find me.
Well, I suppose I’ve taken up enough of your time. You keep glancing at your watch; am I really that boring? ...Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. Feel free to stop by any time you’d like. I’m always looking for the company.
Oh, one more thing before you go? If, by any twist of fate, you happen to come across that Ixi some day... could you point her in my direction? I would really like to see her again.
A big thanks to everyone who helped me, including chax1414 and ESPECIALLY insaanity101. You guys are awesome! :D