Truth Behind Perfection
Every day, I'm faced with the fact that I have to do everything exactly correct. I was taught that perfection did not come in a small package or by faerie dust. You had to work for it and keep it up. So I did.
My name is Elena_Joyous, but just call me Elena. Not Ella, Lena, Lena, Ann, or Annie. Just Elena. Let's get back to what I was saying.
I remember the night clearly. It was a summer when I was six years old (I was to go to kindergarten in August). The night was just creeping over, and my sisters were put to bed. I heard my owner, Christine, talking with a friend in the kitchen. The conversation was whispered, but I did manage to hear most of it.
"Thing is, I just want one of my neopets to be excellent at a lot of things," Christine said. "You know, good grades, excellent in some activities, and the like."
The worst part was that she didn't think any of my sisters were up to standards (despite them being younger than me). She didn't even think I was even close!
"Elena's a great kid, but she's just unmotivated. No goals, dreams or anything, to be honest. School might be difficult for her when she starts."
From that point on, for the last four years (this year included), I pushed past my limits and exceeded myself. I got straight As, I took piano and singing lessons, and I took part in three school plays (being an extra for one, lights committee for two). I had even skipped a grade (only to be with my friends). The only time I could be with my friends was at recess and partly at lunch (I studied most of the time). As expected, Christine was overjoyed at my success. She would sometimes brag about how well I did in school and talents, sometimes exaggerate, but always told the blatant truth. Although, good things never last.
During those four years, Christine disowned Sue and adopted Lisi, a tall brown Aisha. She was seventeen years old, had dark blonde hair, and got straights As as well. She was in several clubs, played the harp, got in the debate team and still managed to hang out with her friends. In just a matter of minutes, Christine instantly praised Lisi. I was immediately furious at Lisi for taking the limelight, something I didn't like to be in but tolerated it anyway. So I kept on trying to be better. I did better than before with newfound motivation and hoped every day that Christine would applaud me again.
She never did.
I spent most of the time reading in my room and just went back to getting straight As and piano and singing lessons.
One day, though, Strife, my thirteen year old glowing Lupe brother, barged into my room and told me, "Elena, sit up."
I obediently sat up on my bed, clutching a paperback book. Strife sighed and took a seat on the floor beside me. Both of us were silent for a moment.
"Elena, what's up?" he asked.
"Nothing much," I responded, annoyed.
"This isn't really good for your mind, you know."
"Elena..." He sat up. "I've only been with you for three years, but what's wrong?" I glared at him. His expression changed from confused to worried. "You have to tell me. If you don't, who's going to know what's wrong? I can't read minds."
Defeated because I knew he'd just ask Serena, I told him everything. The moment I found out during the summer, my exceeding my own limits, everything. He ended up learning every emotion, every thought, and every single pain I felt during those four years in only a matter of twenty minutes. Mainly because I was a notorious fast talker and I liked getting to the point as quickly as possible.
When I finished, Strife just stared at me like I was crazy. He coughed once and straightened his shirt. I waited in anticipation for his reply. After a few unnerving minutes, he finally spoke.
"Lena..." he started.
My name is ELENA. ELENA!
"Just calm down."
Calm down? Calm down?! Are you kidding me?!
"Are you kidding me?!" I cried out. Strife solemnly shook his head.
"Lena, Christine's admiration isn't something to compete for. You know that."
I was silent. Strife sighed.
"Lisi's not who she is. Remember when I came here from the pound?"
"Yes. I disliked you very much."
"It's almost like the same with Lisi, except she works hard."
"She doesn't want to be pounded, Lena."
"Remember when you entered kindergarten with your friends, but you didn't play with them very much?"
"Yeah. I was busy studying to get Christine's attention."
"Same with Lisi, except the not pounded thing. She actually doesn't have any friends, she just studies all the time. Lisi isn't as lucky as you think she is. Just like you were, Lisi's all alone in her small world."
"All alone, huh?" I mumbled. So that's why...
Rapid memories of Lisi came flowing into my mind. Almost of them were of Lisi saying she'd be in her room studying, but the one that stood out was when I peeked into her room and saw Lisi at her desk...
Sitting alone. The memory was really clear. She was reading a thick book with a dark green cover. From the corner of her face, I saw loneliness, sorrow, and a longing for somebody to talk to. Somebody to confess her faults, worries, and thoughts... like a friend.
Just like me, a few years ago.
"Are you gonna be OK?" my brother asked kindly.
"...I think I will be, actually. Thanks, Strife."
"No problem. Payment is five hundred neopoints and any chocolate you have."
I raised an eyebrow at him.
"OK, OK. I'm kidding about the neopoints, but chocolate would be nice."
"I'll keep that in mind the next time I go through the pantry."
Strife winked and I laughed. We both shook our paw and wing and smiled. I chuckled softly as I left my room. Cautiously, I walked to the door of Lisi's room and knocked on it. The door opened, and there stood Lisi, wearing a pair of glasses.
"Hi, Elena," Lisi said. She looked surprised to me. I would be too, since I never talked to her before.
"Hey, Lisi," I replied. "Mind if I come in?" Lisi nodded and opened the door a little bit more, and I walked inside.
"Lisi, I have a question."
"How are you?"
* Three months later... *
"Hey, Elena! Want to come with me to the library?" Lisi asked. I looked at the clock. 12 o'clock in the afternoon.
"Sure, why not?" I answered. Lisi smiled.
"Come on, then!"
As we dashed outside, I couldn't help but look back at the house. I widened my eyes as I saw Strife looking out a window. When he saw me, he gave me a thumbs up. I chuckled and waved at him.
Once we were close to the library, I couldn't help but notice Lisi's behavior. Her long dark blonde hair bounced as she skipped, a joyful expression was on her face, and she looked truly happy.
If she was happy, then I was happy.