Never Ever Forever
It seems like such a long time, doesn’t it?
But I’ll tell you, forever isn’t always as long as it seems.
When my neopets went off to boarding neoschool, it seemed like forever until they came back.
Oh, that was some ordeal.
Usually, it’s the neopet begging the owner to let them stay. But as my neopets walked out the door, I grabbed onto their legs and cried and begged and did just about every other thing I could to get them to stay: I offered a raise in their allowance, paintbrushes, petpets, everything.
My Chomby looked at me and sighed. “Mom, you’re embarrassing us!” he said through his teeth.
“Yeah, give it a rest!” my Chia put in. “We’ll only be gone for a few weeks.”
I got up off the ground and tried to pull myself together. But I couldn’t stop myself from bawling my eyes out as they got on the oversized sled, for the boarding school they all had received scholarships for was in Terror Mountain. They sang merrily with the other neopets as the sled pulled away, and I sulked back inside.
“I should be happy for them,” I told myself over and over. “They want to go. I shouldn’t be holding them back.”
But the more I tried to let go, the more I wanted to hold on.
“Dear Queen Fyora, there’s nothing to do around here without them,” I mumbled.
I finished off the rest of the leftover neggnog, then ate most of the leftovers from Christmas dinner.
I read every book in our library four times. I listened to all of my Gelert’s CDs through six times.
Finally, I was so bored, I was afraid my head would implode from lack of something to do.
I decided to neomail my best neofriend, Dandy232357.
“Hey, Dandy, what’s new?”
“Annie, I thought we agreed. I have to finish my lookup, and you aren’t supposed to neomail me until I’m done.”
“I know, but I’m just so bored! My neopets left for boarding school yesterday, and my head is already threatening to implode on me!”
“Do you want to come over and help me?”
“I’m not too good with lookups and all that, but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.”
So I packed a small lunch for myself and headed over to Dandy’s place. She was working hard on her lookup, and even though she’s no better with that stuff than I am, it was looking great so far.
“Looking good.” I smiled.
“Thanks,” Dandy said proudly. “Here, you want to try? Just make that a darker green for me.”
I walked over and tried to make the neon green a forest green, but no matter what I did, I just made it worse.
“What are you doing!” Dandy shouted. “Oh, Queen Fyora, now it’s pink! Annie, it’s supposed to have a Meridellian theme! You’re making it Faerieland!”
I tried to put the old code back, but all I did was turn all the neopet pictures pink as well.
“Annie, stop it!” Dandy scrambled to make it green again, but it was too late. I had destroyed her lookup, making it pinker than a pink grass skirt. “GET OUT!” Dandy screamed at me.
I walked slowly out of her house. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled as I left.
I walked all the way home in the rain. It wasn’t until I was unlocking the front door that I realized that I left my lunch over Dandy’s house.
“Annie, I don’t care what you left here!” Dandy said bitterly. (She’s never been one to let things go within twenty minutes.) “I’m not letting you back in. You’ll destroy what’s left of my lookup.”
By the time I left, the rain had turned to hail. The ice stones were the size of neggs, and they fell hard. When I finally took shelter under the school supplies shop, my umbrella was destroyed beyond belief. Actually, you couldn’t even tell that it had once been an umbrella. That’s how bad it was hailing.
I decided to go inside for a few minutes until the hail stopped, or at least became smaller.
You know, I didn’t even realize that it was the school supplies shop until I went inside. I looked around and saw all the notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, and I just started crying.
You would’ve thought that it was raining inside, I was crying so hard.
“Ma’am, if you’re just going to stand there and cry, I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” a no-nonsense Techo said as he walked up to me and poked me in my chest.
“I-I’m s-sorry,” I said through my tears, “but it’s just so hard to let go.”
“Of that mechanical pencil you’re holding?” the Techo asked, confused.
I looked down at my hand. I didn’t even realize that I had picked it up.
“Are you going to pay for that?”
I hesitated. On one hand, if I bought it, I could send it to one of my neopets so they didn’t run out of pencils. On the other, if I bought only for one neopet, the other three would think that I was playing favorites, so I would have to buy three other pencils...
“Ma’am, I need an answer.” The Techo crossed his arms. “Will you buy the pencil, or not?”
“It’s a really nice pencil...” I mumbled. “Sure, I’ll buy it. Maybe I can take it apart and then put it back together. At least it’s something to do.”
So I bought the pencil and a notebook and walked home in the sleet.
“Dear Queen Fyora,” I mumbled as I fumbled for a key that wasn’t there. “How am I going to last for four weeks without them?”
I quietly sat down on my porch and cried. The now freezing rain pelted my cheeks and joined my tears in a way that you could hardly tell I was crying.
As the freezing rain turned to snow, I lay down, using my notebook for a pillow and the plastic bag as a blanket. I probably looked like an old hobo, but I didn’t care. I was just so tired, for I had probably been sitting there for hours.
When I woke up, I wasn’t on my porch. Actually, it took me a few minutes to realize that I wasn’t on my property at all.
“Are you feeling better, Annie?” Dandy asked tenderly. She placed a tray of homemade cookies and two mugs of hot chocolate on the coffee table and sat down in the armchair across from the sofa I was lying on.
I smiled weakly. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
“I just wanted to thank you.” Dandy smiled. “My lookup looks mad awesome.”
“While I couldn’t figure out how to make it Meridellian like I had wanted, I eventually turned it into a 'think pink' sort of thing.” Dandy sipped her hot chocolate. “It looks even better than the Meridellian one had, or, at least, what I had done of it.”
I sighed. I couldn’t believe how good a friend Dandy was! She wasn’t mad at me at all. In fact, she was complimenting me! Dear Queen Fyora, how could this day get any better?
“Oh, and your Chia called me,” Dandy said suddenly. “He said that the school was burned to the ground. Nobody was hurt, thank goodness, but they sent all the students home early and are refunding all of the scholarships.”
When Dandy said this, I was so happy, I nearly cried. In fact, I was so happy, I remembered where my house keys were. I thanked Dandy, then ran home as fast as my feet would carry me.
When I got home, the sled was just pulling away. My neopets were waving good-bye to the friends they had made during their couple-day journey to the school and back.
My Chomby turned and saw me. “Hey, Mom!” he smiled.
All of my neopets swarmed on me, bombarding me with hugs and kisses and stories of what they had seen. (It turns out that the Terror Mountain Fire Department had just gotten the school fire under control as the sled was arriving!)
I stood there, listening and taking it all in, and all I could think was, Forever is such a long time, but it’s not for forever.
Here's to Dandy 232357 for letting me use her name and lookup in my story. You rawk, Fal!