My Name is Lekida
My name is Lekida.
I don’t have an owner.
And that’s what I’m writing this story about.
I live with my brother, Tovet. That’s how you write it, but you say it Toe-Vay, and he gets very mad when you call him Too-Vet. I used to do it when I was little, but I don’t any more because I’m a big girl. Anyway, it’s just Tovet and me, and neither of us have an owner. My friend Sooty at school said I must have had an owner once; otherwise I wouldn’t be made, because only owners can make pets. I know Sooty has an owner, because I went to her house for dinner once and had Mashed Potato with Gravy and her owner was there, along with her two brothers and her sister, and they were all eating together and smiling.
I don’t eat together with my brother Tovet. He always fixes me a carrot and pea omelette before school, but nothing for himself, and I always have to pick out all the peas because I don’t like them. Yesterday there were twenty peas in my omelette and only two carrots, and as much as I tried to hide the pile of peas, Tovet saw them and told me I was bad for not eating them.
And I said that I didn’t like peas.
And he told me he’d just grabbed the first thing he could reach, and I should be happy. And I felt sad, because Tovet always did his best for me, like painting my room with pink and white stripes to make it pretty because we couldn’t afford the fancy Faerieland wallpaper, and buying me a Pink Vanity Desk even though it cost him two thousand neopoints, so I put all the peas in my mouth and swallowed them, even though it was very yucky.
That day at school we had to write a letter to our owner about taking care of petpets, because that’s what we’ve been studying, and I came top of my class when we did a grooming petpets quiz last Wednesday because I always brush my hair in the morning so I know about how many strokes to do and that you have to use a soft brush otherwise it hurts. But I couldn’t write the letter, because I didn’t have anyone to write to. I thought about writing to Sooty’s owner, because she was quite nice, but then I saw that Sooty was writing with her special water faerie pencil that she got on Tuesday which wrote special watery letters, and my basic pencil only wrote black wiggly ones, with a lot of crossings out because I wasn’t the best speller. My letter would look scruffy next to Sooty’s, and Sooty’s owner might laugh at it. So I decided I wouldn’t write one at all.
But then Mrs Harvey came up to me and asked why I wasn’t writing anything, and I said I didn’t have an owner to write to. And she said I must have an owner, because otherwise I wouldn’t be made, and when she said this, I saw Sooty nodding agreeably from behind her. But I said I was sure I didn’t, because it was just me and my brother Tovet.
Then she gave me a wobbly smile, like her smile muscle wasn’t quite working properly, and said I had to go to her office. Everyone in my class stared, because if you went to Mrs Harvey’s office, it was because you’d done something very bad, and you wouldn’t get a uni sticker at home-time for a whole week.
But I went to her office anyway, and she told me to sit down in a shiny armchair in front of her desk, which she went and sat behind. When I sat in the armchair, it made a squeaky noise, so I bounced up and down a little, and made it go squeak-squeak-squeak. I looked up when Mrs Harvey didn’t tell me off, because she didn’t like people playing on their chairs, but she was just looking at me, with her smile muscle still not working properly.
“Lekida,” she said, and I noticed how she put the ‘Le’ on the front, which I don’t really like. I’ve always asked my teachers and friends to call me Kida, even last year when I was in day-care with all the babies, who couldn’t even say my name. But now I’m in big school, people always call me Kida. So I was already a bit scared, because Sooty said when she gets called her full name (which is Sootsoul), it means she’s in big trouble.
But when Mrs Harvey spoke again, she didn’t sound angry – She sounded sad, like when Tovet spent all the neopoints I got playing hide and seek on poogle racing and we couldn’t have any dinner and I cried.
“Lekida,” she said, even though she’s already said my name. “Do you really not have an owner living with you at home?”
I shook my head.
“Just you and your brother, all by yourself?”
I nodded my head. Why did I have to come into her office to answer such easy questions?
“Does that ever make you a bit sad, sweetie?”
I told her no, because Tovet always did nice thing for me like painting my room pink and white because the Faerieland wallpaper was too expensive, and buying me my own Pink Vanity desk even though it cost him two thousand neopoints. I told her that Tovet looked after me better than Lucky’s owner had, and she made a little gulping noise, because I knew she was a bit sad about Lucky because he’d been in my class at the start of the year, but then suddenly his owner had put him in the pound with all the really big mean pets without even trying to find him a new home first. And then we never saw Lucky again, and Mrs Harvey had to take down his hook in the cloak bay, and I secretly watched her do it, and saw her wipe a tear from her eye with her big Elephante trunk.
“Do you ever want an owner, honey?” she continued, and I noticed her smile muscle was definitely broken now. “You know there’s a program that puts pets like you in homes with nice owners who’ll take care of you.”
I quite liked the sound of that, so I asked if Tovet would be able to come.
“I’m sure he’d be able to,” she replied, and her smile muscle seemed to be fixed.
I rushed home that day, eager to tell Tovet the news. When I got home, he wasn’t there, though he hardly ever is. So I went and sat on my bed that’s actually a sofa but I’m still small enough to be able to sleep on it, and waited for him to come home.
It was very dark before he arrived, and a little bit spooky, because we don’t have lights in our neohome. In fact, we only have four bits of furniture. I have my Pink Vanity Desk that cost two thousand neopoints, and my blue sofa bed. Tovet has a proper blue bed, and a blue rug. When he finally came home, I was cuddled up in his proper blue bed with my favourite green lupe plushie Katy because I felt safe in my little den under the covers with Katy because everything smelt like Tovet so I could close my eyes and pretend he was there with us.
He got a bit mad at me when he arrived, because he doesn’t like me sleeping in his bed, even though I said I wasn’t sleeping, I was just waiting. And he said it was basically the same thing. But then I said I had some very special news, and he stopped looking mad and turned to me, with his big ears all tall and interested.
“We can have an owner!” I burst out, waving Katy through the air excitedly. “Mrs Harvey said we can have an owner!”
Tovet was very silent for a long time. I knew he was thinking, because the tip of his funny little tail wiggled. But it wasn’t a good sort of thinking, like what kind of pizza we should have for dinner – It was a different sort of thinking. The kind of thinking that gave me little shivers up my spine, and I had to hug Katy so that she didn’t get scared.
When Tovet spoke, he spoke very slowly, like he thought I couldn’t understand him.
“How – does – Mrs – Harvey – know – we – don’t have – an owner?”
I told him I told her.
He yelled and yelled at me, and said that I shouldn’t be telling everyone our private business, and that he worked so hard to take care of me, and to send me to my stupid school and to feed me and buy me new plushies even though we barely had two neopoints to rub together. And he said that I wasn’t grateful for what he was doing, because he gave everything for me and every scrap of NP he earned went straight to me and if I was so ungrateful, why didn’t I just leave to go and live with a stupid owner, then?
And I told him that Mrs Harvey said he could come too, but he got even madder so I ran and hid with Katy under the scratchy blue pillows of my sofa bed and tried to block out his words.
The nest morning, I woke up to lovely smells wafting around our house. There were shopping bags strewn all over the floor, and piled high on my Pink Vanity desk were some of the loveliest items I’d ever seen, including some very yummy looking ones, and there was Tovet, just putting the finishing touches to it all.
“Tovet?” I asked in a very small voice in case he was still mad at me. But he wasn’t, because he turned around quickly and didn’t frown or glare or anything. In fact, it looked as if his smile muscle was having the same problems as Mrs Harvey’s one.
“Kida,” he said, and his voice sounded quite small too, even though I wasn’t mad at him. “I’m very sorry... I didn’t mean to say those things. If you want to go and live with an owner, that’s okay with me.” He made a sad gulping noise, and turned away quickly to straighten one of the new plushies he’d bought me, even though it was already straight.
“I won't,” I said, getting up and taking Katy with me because I knew she wouldn’t want to go either. “I don’t want an owner if you don’t want one. I never really wanted one.”
Even though I actually did a little bit, because it would be quite nice to have someone who could make Mashed Potatoes with Gravy.
“Are you sure?” he said, turning back to me. “Because you can tell me, Kida. I promise I won't get mad.”
So I told him that it would be quite nice to have someone who could make Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, because I wanted to be honest and not tell lies, and he’d promised he wouldn’t get mad.
And he kept his promise, and didn’t get mad. He just nodded, and told me to come and eat the special breakfast he’d bought for me, because it was getting cold.
Later, Tovet told me he’d pop around to Mrs Harvey’s and tell her about everything, and when he came back he was quite mad and stormed in the door very noisily and I was afraid he’d start yelling at me so I curled up on my sofa with Katy and one of my new plushies, a blue flotsam called Sara. But he didn’t yell at me.
He just went and flopped on his bed, and looked very sad, so I went over and gave him a hug and he hugged me back very tightly so that little Katy and little Sara got squashed between us, and I think he even cried a little. I think Mrs Harvey must have made him go into her office and said he couldn’t have any uni stickers ever again, because I know that would make me cry.
Then yesterday, when I was flicking through the Neopian Times to get to the comics, I stopped, for some reason, on the ads page. I don’t usually read the ads – They often use big words I can’t understand yet, and they’re all from people who want millions and millions of neopoints for just one item, and all I have is a secret stash of thirty one neopoints in one of the pillowcases of my sofa. Today there was an ad for someone selling paintbrushes at discount prices, and another asking if anyone wanted to trade their Darigan Lupe for a Maraquan Ixi. And I gave a little shudder because I thought how horrible it must be for those pets to be traded, and reminded myself how good it was that I didn’t have an owner, because I couldn’t be traded, because only owners could put you in the pound or work the transfer machine. (Even if it did mean I missed out on the Mashed Potato with Gravy.)
But then I saw a different ad. It was quite small and squished in the corner, but I read it anyway. It said:
NEW FAMILY MEMBER WANTED
New pet wanted to join our family of two. Must be good with small children, as I have a younger sister, who I cannot give enough time at present, and I know she deserves more. Must also be able to cook basic meals (like Mashed Potato with Gravy). You would be offered a full-time position in our family – Please contact Tovet at 22 Sunndydale Lane if you’re interested.
And suddenly, I felt a lot of things all at ones. I felt a little scared, very excited, a bit confused, a bit nervous, quite happy and love for my brother Tovet.
I don’t know if his ad will work or not.
But I do know that he will always do his best for me, with things like painting my room pink and white because we can’t afford the Faerieland wallpaper, and buying my a Pink Vanity Desk even though it cost him two thousand neopoints, and buying my Sara the blue flotsam plushie and trying to find someone new to join our family to make sure I’m always cared for.
And I’m quite sure I don’t need an owner when I’ve got a brother like him.
Author’s Note: Tovet is indeed looking for an addition to the family to look after Lekida. If you have, or know of a well-named female Gelert who would be interested in the position, please contact him.