Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 176,434,926 Issue: 338 | 11th day of Eating, Y10
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Teaching Misery

by scarletspindle


Sesha walked jovially down the street in Neopia Central, smiling at everyone whom she crossed paths with. The rainbow Aisha was inherently happy and her disposition was as bright and sunny as her coat color. She was just passing by the stamp shop and flashing the shoppers a full set of sparkling white teeth when she began to have a nagging feeling that something was a bit wrong. Suddenly it occurred to her that all they were doing was nodding back or pretending to ignore her.

      That’s strange, she thought. Usually everyone’s cheerful back at me.

      “Excuse me?” a monotonous and irritated sounding voice said from behind her. “You’re ruining the mood.”

      Sesha quickly turned around, a grey Eyrie stood behind her looking glum. “What do you mean the mood? Everything’s a bit gloomy, wouldn’t you say?” she asked, glancing up at the sky which was full of heavy looking rain clouds.

      The Eyrie nodded in agreement. “That would be the mood you’re spoiling.”

      Sesha stared at her new acquaintance open-mouthed. “You mean pets are trying to be unhappy? Why?”

      “It’s because today is Grey Day.” The Eyrie gave a disdainful snort and sighed. “So you’re ruining the festive atmosphere.”

      “Oh! I’m sorry!” Sesha said quite loudly. “I didn’t realize! Ummm... I’m not very good at acting gloomy, though, I’m afraid.”

      The Eyrie raised her eyebrows slowly in surprise. “You don’t know how to act miserable? Just look around you; everyone else is doing it.”

      “No, I don’t,” the Aisha said, pouting for a moment before brightening up again. “Can you teach me? I wouldn’t want to mess up the celebration by being errr... celebratory... I’m Sesha by the way! What’s your name?”

      “First off, you shouldn’t act so friendly,” the Eyrie warned. “Friendly people are usually happier; since you asked, though, my name is Renni.”

      “Oooooh, that’s such a cute name! Renni, huh? So you’ll teach me how to act sad?”

      The Eyrie winced as if she’d been burned. “Second lesson, don’t use the word cute and avoiding ‘oohing’ and ‘ahing’ at things. We should move out of the crowd and go somewhere else for the rest of our lessons.”

      Sesha clasped her paws over her mouth for a moment and looked up at Renni wide-eyed. “I’m so, so, so sorry! I really want to learn, I really do! Maybe we should move over to the Rainbow Pool?”

      “No. The word rainbow implies happiness; we can’t go to a place that’s happy to have lessons in what’s not.”

      “Oh, sorry,” Sesha said, furrowing her eyebrows in thought. “How about we go to the Money Tree then? That’s a place where a bunch of poor pets go to grab food and stuff; I guess that’s sad.”

      The Eyrie nodded morosely. “That’s better, we can go there.”

      The two made their way towards the tree, Sesha taking care to walk extra slowly with her head bent toward the ground, her arms crossed across her chest. Every now and then she’d let out a huge sigh that was so overblown it was comical. Renni walked beside her, staring at her in disbelief. She wasn’t sure if the hyperactive Aisha really even understood the meaning of the word grey.

      When they did make it there, Sesha instantly broke her grim depressed routine and skipped happily towards the trunk of the Money Tree. When she got there, she snuggled between two roots and waved manically at Renni to come over. The Eyrie moaned under her breath; that silly rainbow Aisha really didn’t get it at all.

      Renni began to amble slowly towards where Sesha was sitting, wholeheartedly regretting talking to her on the street. She wasn’t quite sure why she had decided to give the Aisha lessons; it really should have been clear from the beginning that it was an impossible task and one that was far too much of a hassle even if it did pan out.

      “Awwww, come on, you’re taking forever!” Sesha shouted at Renni jovially. Her smile faltered when she saw the look on the Eyrie’s face. “I mean... errr... I hate waiting so long, don’t be slow like that again!” she exclaimed, lowering her voice an octave and crunching her face together in what Renni thought might have been the semblance of a frown.

      “That’s no good,” the Eyrie stated plainly. “There’s too much feeling in your voice. You should sound like you don’t care one way or another; you’re not supposed to sound angry.”

      “So-I-should-talk-flat-like-this?” Sesha asked, sounding very much like a robot.

      “No. There still has to be some change in your tone; maybe try sighing while you’re speaking.” The Eyrie felt like smacking her forehead with her forepaw in frustration but refrained from doing so. “Don’t sigh too much, though,” she added quickly when she saw the rainbow Aisha take a very large deep gasping breath.

      “Then... like... this?” she asked, sighing in-between all of her words.

      “Not really but better,” the Eyrie droned. “Why don’t we move on to something else?”

      “Okay!” Sesha said merrily, grinning guiltily at Renni when she realized what she’d done.

      “You know what? I’ve changed my mind, no more lessons,” Renni said, exasperated. “I don’t know why I decided to teach you in the first place; you’re a really awfully slow student and you clearly don’t actually want to know how to act miserable.”

      With a slow sense of finality, the grey Eyrie stood up, her tail flicking back and forth in irritation that she couldn’t suppress. She’d intended to turn around and not even bother looking back, when she heard some very wet sniffling sounds behind her. She turned around to see the little rainbow Aisha hugging her knees and crying.

      “Is... this... p-part... of... the... lesson?” she asked, sobs parting her words this time. “Because... I... r-really... feel... s-sad... now.”

      Renni felt a pang of guilt as she looked at Sesha’s trembling form, huddled between the tree roots where she’d happily snuggled down only moments before. “Hey, I didn’t mean to make you cry. My whole point was that someone like you doesn’t even look like they know how to be sad.”

      “R-really?” Sesha asked, her face splitting into a watery smile. “I’m not always happy, you know... but I mean... everything feels better if you look at it like it’s full of life and color.”

      The Eyrie looked at her for a moment, then said thoughtfully, “Maybe you’re the one who should be giving me lessons; Grey Day only comes around once a year after all.”

     The rainbow Aisha giggled, her tears dying up. “Yeah, maybe so; I’ll try to be gloomy today, then I can give you happy lessons tomorrow.”

      “It probably won’t work,” the grey Eyrie warned her. “I’m just sort of curious to know what it would be like to see life like you’re looking through a rainbow.”

      “So should we meet by the Rainbow Pool tomorrow?” Sesha asked, grinning from ear to ear.

      “I guess so,” the Eyrie sighed, trying and half succeeding to suppress a small smile.

      “Okay, it’s a deal then!”

      “Remember, you have to try to act gloomy today in exchange,” Renni reminded her gently.

      The Aisha instantly let her smile drop into an unnatural looking frown and she began to pick at the grass on the ground. “Is acting like this okay?” she asked, pouting her lips out in an attempt to look glummer then she already thought she did.

      “Yeah, that’s okay,” the Eyrie said, letting herself fully smile when she was sure that the Aisha wasn’t looking. “Until tomorrow, you better have a miserable Grey Day.”

      “You too,” Sesha said in her forced pout. “Have a very miserable Grey Day.”

The End

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