Doodles and Equations
Failure. Failure. Failure.
This word echoed in her ear over and over until it practically became a chant. How long had she sat here, trying to figure out this one math problem?
x+2(3x) = -21
It's so easy... I’ve done this type of problem so many times!... so... why can't I get this?
The green Xweetok's tail swished back and forth in frustration. Her green eyes tracing the problem until she had it memorized.
"Darn it!" she screamed "Why am I so dumb?!" Tears streamed from her eyes as she leaped from her desk and on to the red covers of her bed. "Why can't I be as smart as Imiya!" she sobbed, referring to her newly adopted blue Aisha sister.
The Xweetok turned her head and faced a glowing Lupe in her doorway. His uncommon red eyes looked at her worriedly. It was her older brother Sapphirez.
"Yeah?" she weakly answered back.
The Lupe gazed into her green eyes searching for any type of comforting words. He soon saw the amazing sketches of Gelerts, Lupes, and humans upon his little sister's desk and new exactly what to say.
"Your artwork is beautiful," he stated, learning that it sounded much better in his head.
Xandra glanced at the pile of art and homework on her little brown desk, thinking otherwise. "It's not." She mumbled, "It's just normal sketches from a normal Xweetok with a normal sized brain." She got up from her bed, pushing her brother aside, and left the room. Sapphirez watched her leave but didn't follow.
"Tomorrow I'll try again," he told himself, like he did every day.
. . .
Slowly the windows lit up from the rays of the sun behind Xandra's red curtains. Xandra got up and picked the clothes that she was to wear for neoschool that day: a black T-shirt, jeans, and a black zip-up sweatshirt. She made her way to the bathroom to brush her fur when she bumped in to her other two older brothers. Akashiba, a Christmas Kougra (without the Christmas outfit), and Lemon, a Darigan Bori, both towered over her.
"Mornin'," Akashiba said with a smile as he was gelling his long fur over his right eye.
Akashiba was the punk type, always wearing black studded bracelets and chokers. But Lemon... she wasn't so sure about him. They only just got him from a trade not too long ago.
"M-morning," she repeated shyly and tiredly. She quickly brushed her hair and her teeth then ran back to her room to grab her backpack. On her way, she found Imiya, already dressed with her backpack on, holding out Xandra's backpack for her.
"Here," Imiya said as she gave the backpack to Xandra, "we'll be late for school. Did you do your homework?"
The Xweetok's eyes dropped to the floor. She had no motivation whatsoever to do it. She had 25 problems of math left, an essay her owner wanted her to re-write, some things she had to look up, and she had to get started on reading a play. All due today.
"No," Xandra said as she looked back to face the Blue Aisha.
"You didn't?" Imiya almost seemed angry now. "Doesn't any neopet in this household care about school?!" With that, Imiya stormed off to school, leaving the guilty Xweetok behind.
. . .
The walk to school seemed longer the usual for Xandra. Normally the walk took about twelve minutes, but today it seemed to take hours as the thought of her missing homework swirled in her mind.
My owner is going to kill me! Wait! I'll just copy the answers from the back of my math book before class! And the essay? Well... I could ask for extra credit to make up for it.
These thoughts seemed to go on forever in her mind until she finally reached to school.
She walked in the front doors and was immediately greeted by her best friend Luke, a green Kougra.
"Hi Luke." Xandra smiled, forgetting about her homework.
"Hi," Luke answered back. "So, did you do all your homework this time?"
Xandra's eyes grew sad and her heart angry. She finally snapped. "What is it with everybody and homework?! Are grades that important?! Aren’t my Bs and Cs good enough?!" Tears shed from her eyes as she swiftly walked back outside the school, ignoring Luke's shocked expression.
"Some friend!" Xandra muttered while sitting on the curb of the high school. "It's not my fault I can't pay attention!"
"So that's what's bothering you." Xandra's head shot up and she saw Sapphirez standing in front of her.
"Sa-Sapphirez? You don't go to school anymore; what are you doing here?" She saw the concern in his eyes and looked away hoping that he didn't see the sadness in hers. Sapphirez sat next to Xandra and put an arm around her shoulder.
"You haven’t been able to pat attention in class... why?" Xandra looked down at the ground, avoiding eye-contact.
"I... I have the NeoBlues..." she finally answered, more tears coming from her eyes.
"When did it start?" Sapphirez gave her another one of his concerned looks, but this time, understanding was also shown.
"When we adopted Imiya. She's just so smart and I’m so... not," she said silently. "I just wish I was as nice, and polite, and as smart as she is. I never have the motivation to do anything anymore."
This time, Sapphirez knew exactly what to say. "I love you, little sis... just as you are, and if you want, I can always help you with schoolwork. And I'm always here for you." Sapphirez gave Xandra a tight hug and wiped tears from her face. "Now, I'm pretty sure Pie isn't the only cure for NeoBlues. What about... ice cream? After school?" Xandra's eyes shed tears once again, but this time from joy, not from sorrow.
"I would like that... I would like that very much." She no longer felt alone. In fact, for the first time in a long while, she felt happy.
. . .
"Xandra, can you please write the answer to problem one on the board?" Mrs. Holy, Xandra's math teacher gave her a stern look. "The problem that you failed to do on your homework last night." Xandra stood up in front of the class and went to the white board. She picked up a black pen and slowly started on the equation.
x+2(3x) = -21
Xandra started to get nervous. What next? Her paws didn't stop writing and finished working out the main parts of the problem.
7x = -21
She paused to think of the answer. Then she remembered her brother and how proud he was of her. She looked back at Imiya and Luke who were sitting near the front smiling at her. Both were very proud of her also. Xandra looked back at the board and proudly wrote the answer.
x = -3
She sat back down at her desk, ignoring the angry and shocked look her teacher gave her.
"Thank you, Xandra, you did a fine job. I see you understand the subject. But may I ask why you did not do your homework last night then?" Mrs. Holy said, a bit frustrated.
Xandra smiled, acting as nice as she could be and said, "I'm very sorry, Mrs. Holy. I was having some personal issues, I suppose, but that is all cleared up and for now on, I promise to always turn in my homework."
Some of the class giggled, but Luke and Imiya looked at Xandra with pride.
"Thanks," she whispered to Imiya and Luke. "And I'm sorry for not being myself."
"Don't worry about it." Imiya gave her new sister a hug and smiled.
"We'll always be here for you, even if you aren’t yourself." Luke smirked.
Xandra felt like things were about to get a lot better from now on.