I remember when Josh handed me the green ticket. Before
my accident, it was worth a fortune to me. It seemed to gleam like a Dubloon in
my red paw. As well it should have because Josh, Greg and I had stood in line
for two hours as soon as the Ticket Booth opened in Tyrannia to get it. After
waking up real early and catching the ferry, two hours in line seemed like an
eternity to wait for something.
Once that wonderful thing was in my paws I knew
that this weekend was going to be fun. The Sticks N Stones tickets we had been
waiting for were finally available. However, my good luck ran out. It was my
fault, really. I was being dumb and not watching where I was going while my
owner and I raced down the street. I didn't see the bump in the sidewalk that
I'd passed over countless times. I went sprawling and landed on my leg in a
Next thing I knew I was in the hospital, and
that fabulous green ticket was nothing more than a colored piece of paper.
The doctor Gelert told me that I'd have to wait
a few days before being released from the Neopian General Hospital. A few days
was too long… the concert was in two and there was no way I could go now. No
matter how much I protested, told everyone there I was fine and proved that
I could use the crutches, the doctor made me stay.
"There'll be other concerts, Ryan," my owner
said, giving me an affectionate stroke on the head. I turned away and crossed
my red paws. He brought me a chocolate Chia from the Candy Shop down the street
to cheer me up. Normally, we Lupes love chocolate Chias. But there was a sour
taste in my mouth that could not be altered by my favorite treat.
After he left, my eyes wandered from the whitewash
walls to the stiff cast around my leg. It was heavy to lift and sometimes itched.
How annoying. But I'd put up with three times as much if I could go to the Sticks
N Stones concert with Josh and Greg. Stupid and clumsy me just had to trip on
the uneven sidewalk two days before the concert.
My door opened and an Aisha nurse came in. She
visited yesterday to make sure things were a-okay. I was assuming that she'd
be here every morning.
"Ryan, how are you feeling today?"
"Angry…" I mumbled. "Upset, disappointed, irritated…"
"I was referring to your leg."
I knew perfectly well what she was referring
"You shouldn't be too worried over a concert,"
she replied. "There's a patient across the hall who's got it worse than you."
Quite frankly, I didn't think that was possible.
Right now, I believed that no one could feel worse unless they had their dream
ripped from their paws like I did. Josh said he was going to sell my ticket.
Whatever. I didn't care since it didn't matter now. Temporarily shaking off
the thought, I said,
"So what's up with him?"
"He fell off a skateboard this morning," the
Nurse replied, marking writing notes down on her clipboard. "He's a little guy
and we're waiting for him to come around."
"Well, at least his owner will be there when
he awakens," I said. My owner was always there for me, even when I pretended
I didn't need him.
What the Nurse said next was surprising, "I doubt
that. It's been hours and he or she hasn't shown."
I frowned. "Where is his owner?"
"We don't know," the Nurse sighed.
I nodded, feeling a minute pang of sympathy.
The Nurse left, saying she'd be back to check on me later and I rolled over
on my side. I tried to sleep, but the sheets were too stiff and uncomfortable.
The pillow was as hard as a rock and thick too, so my head was inclined unnaturally
and it left me with a small pain in my neck. There was no way I could take a
nap at eleven o'clock in the morning.
After an hour passed, it was around lunch time.
There was no way I was going to have it served to me in here… I desperately
needed to get my plastic tray and sit on one of the picnic tables outside. I
forced myself into a sitting position and slid off the bed. I hobbled over to
the door rather awkwardly swinging my back right leg behind me while the other
three pulled it along.
I opened the door and started out, staying out
of the way. Down the hall and to the left was the cafeteria. Luckily the food
was pretty good. Before I could wobble to the end of the hall, I noticed that
the door to my right was open. It was one of the doors to the younger Neopet's
ward. I paused outside and watched three doctors crowded around the hospital
bed. A small, blue Kacheek was sitting upright, looking anxious around him.
The Aisha Nurse gave him a small smile and said,
"Steven… do you remember anything?"
I couldn't see the Kacheek's answer. And feeling
that it was really none of my business, I started off to the cafeteria.
Poor guy, I thought. He can't remember anything.
That must have been rough on him and his owner. I didn't give it much more thought.
Instead, I picked up some food from one of the lunch ladies and went outside
It was around dinnertime when I saw Steven again.
He was sitting by himself at dinner. There was a Nurse keeping an eye on him
from a table across the hall. He probably wanted to eat alone so he could gather
his thoughts… you know, and maybe remember something.
I decided to see if he was okay. I sat down across
from him with my dinner tray. He looked up slowly and I gave him a small smile.
Part of me wanted to go back to my room and watch the specks of dust fall from
the ceiling, but the other part wanted to stay and see what was up.
"Hey," I said.
"Hey," he replied, twirling some steamed carrots
around on his fork.
"So, uh, what's your name?" After I asked that
simple question, I wished I didn't. What if he didn't remember what his name
was? I mean, sure the Nurse told him, but what if he forgot?
"It's Steven," he said and I sighed with relief.
"Cool. My name's Ryan. What are you here for?"
I stopped again, wanting to bang my head on the
table. Great one, Ryan, keep the stupid questions coming! I knew he probably
didn't want to be reminded of why he was in the hospital, nor did I.
"Because I can't remember," the Kacheek said.
"I want to remember, but the Nurse said I won't be able to for a while." I nodded
slowly. His voice was cautious and sort of timid. I guessed he was a little
scared. Where was his owner, by the way? I wanted the answer to that question,
but knew it would be rude to ask it. "Why are you here?" he wondered aloud.
"I tripped and broke my leg. Now I can't go to
the Sticks N Stones concert…" I broke off and then continued, "Oh. Sorry, I
bet you don't know what I'm talking about. Sticks N Stones is a rock band and
their concert is in Tyrannia."
"I've never heard of them," said Steven.
Of course you haven't, I thought. "Do you remember
anything?" I asked suddenly, no longer caring if my questions sounded rude.
How would he know what rude was? He was a little Kacheek who couldn't remember
anything, let alone what a rude question was.
"I remember…" Steven began, "I remember falling.
And then waking up here under the white lights."
His story in general was pretty amusing. "I've
heard that true amnesia is pretty rare. Congrats."
Steven forced a weak smile at my sarcasm. "Yeah,
I feel really lucky," he added.
We both laughed.
That pretty much began our friendship. We met
in the cafeteria and ate meals at the picnic table outside. The Nurse said that
he was making "slow, but sure" progress. She also said that some things will
need to be repeated because his mind won't be able to pick them up right away.
But I was patient, I repeated some things and waited for him to catch on.
The next day, we walked around the path in the
back of the hospital, just talking and savoring the fresh air outside. My red
Lupe tail swished back and forth on the bench as he told me about his skateboard…
he was starting to remember his favorite toy.
"It's purple," he told me surely, "with a blue
stripe down the middle. I think it was a birthday gift…"
I was proud of his improvement. I felt strangely
attached to him, sort of like an older brother would. Steven said when he could
go home, he'd show me some tricks he had been practicing. I didn't know how
much I'd see him once I was out of here in a day or so. The cast wouldn't be
off until a few weeks or more, but at least I could go home.
The concert was last night. The following morning,
I was quiet. Josh and Greg came to visit, telling me how great it was. Plus,
they bought me a souvenir hat. I smiled meekly and said thanks. I knew that
it was over and that my chance of ever seeing the band again was slim. Steven
noticed my saddened expression that afternoon under the oak tree.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"The concert in Tyrannia," I replied, "was last
night. Sticks N Stones played and my friends went." I already told him this
story, but like the Nurse said, I'd have to be patient with him. "You see, Sticks
N Stones are-"
"No, wait. I think I remember them. Sticks N
Stones are a musical group," said Steven. "They play rock songs and stuff like
I grinned. "Yeah, you got it."
"Cool!" said the little Kacheek, his face aglow
with pride. His smile dropped a little when he asked, "But can you tell me again
what Tyrannia is?" I smirked at his enthusiasm and told him. He was improving
a lot, just over the past couple of days, but sometimes he'd ask me to repeat.
I left the hospital a day later, a bit sooner
than expected. I still came to visit him almost every day, but the doctors weren't
sure when Steven would make a full recovery. I guess for him it was like putting
together a puzzle: Piece by piece. Even though I did not know how long the puzzle
would take to be completed, I waited patiently.
Steven, I thought to myself, I don't care how
long it takes you to make a full recovery. Even though I'm a step ahead by being
back home, I will wait for you to get to that point as well.
For my friend, I will wait.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it, and feel free to
Neomail me with feedback. :) Oh, and thanks beewitched2 for editing, as usual.